Trial Date Set For Trump Fraud Lawsuit Via D.C. Attorney General

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A trial date — September 26, 2022 — has been set for a lawsuit that D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) brought regarding Trump-related interests; specifically, the case alleges that the committee that handled Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration back in 2017 inappropriately spent around $1 million at the then-incoming president’s own hotel in Washington, D.C. In addition, Racine has gone after the Trump Organization in relation to a block of hotel reservations made in its name that it eventually got the inaugural committee to pay off. Just recently, D.C. Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams added the Trump Organization back to the case after a previous judge had apparently accepted the argument that an individual involved in securing the hotel rooms didn’t have the authority to bring the Trump company into it.

Williams also granted Racine and his team another significant victory this week, allowing for a (limited) deposition of longtime Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who worked on a review of the inaugural committee’s finances in 2017, despite the fact that it’s not as though such a thing would ordinarily be within his job responsibilities. The D.C. Attorney General’s team has also indicated that they’re interested in questioning him about the hotel room payment arrangement; as they’ve put it, Weisselberg “may have information relevant to why the [committee’s] funds were used to pay a debt of the Trump family business.” Racine commented as follows this week:

‘No one is above the law, and we’re now going to trial to hold Donald Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee accountable for illegally using nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family. My office is committed to standing up against corruption and abuses of public trust. That’s why we investigate, and, when the facts reveal flagrant violations of law, we sue. We look forward to proving our case in court. Cheaters should never prosper.’

As summarized by a press release from the D.C. Attorney General’s office, “the Attorney General has the authority to police nonprofit activities and ensure that nonprofit entities operating in D.C. spend their funds for the specific public purpose provided in their articles of incorporation,” and that’s exactly what’s at issue here. That press release recaps that the inaugural committee “paid vastly inflated prices even after senior Committee staff and members of the Trump family were warned that the charges were unreasonable.” There’s also the issue of a specific event — which cost the committee about $300,000 — that constituted a private reception for Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., even though that’s not the sort of thing that a non-profit entity such as the inaugural committee is supposed to spend its money on, per the explanation from Racine’s office included in that news release this week.