Class-Action Lawsuit Engulfs Trump And His 2 Adult Sons

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Former President Donald Trump and his two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, will soon be sitting for depositions as part of a class-action lawsuit over the Trumps’ ties to a multi-level marketing company known as ACN. The ex-president’s deposition is scheduled for June 16, while Donald Trump Jr. will be deposed May 10 and Eric two days later. As summarized by CNN, ‘The lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, alleges that in exchange for “secret” payments, Trump and three of his adult children used his reality TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice” and other promotional events as vehicles to boost’ the disputed multi-level marketing company.

Trump apparently made some $8.8 million from his ties to ACN, having repeatedly appeared in promotional materials associated with the company, in which an earlier version of the lawsuit (which was updated in early 2019) alleges that he made “materially false and misleading statements” about ACN. The detail that Trump’s support for ACN was connected to millions of dollars in payments made to the eventual president over the course of many years allegedly wasn’t clearly laid out, adding to the impression of deception. Arguments on Trump’s side have varied from the insistence that Trump wasn’t in control of ACN, in which plaintiffs in the lawsuit invested, to an argument that plaintiffs weren’t guaranteed to become financially successful by getting involved with ACN.

“Before enrolling with ACN, every participant acknowledged in writing that they are ‘not guaranteed any income’ nor ‘assured any profits or success’ and that no one associated with ACN has made any ‘claims of guaranteed profits or representations of expected earnings,'” a Trump Organization spokesperson claimed. In fact, in one video, Trump said: “I work with a lot of companies and I can say with 100% confidence that you’ve made the right decision choosing ACN.” Those remarks give a markedly different impression than the rhetorical picture painted by the Trump Organization spokesperson. Remarkably, the now former president claimed back in 2015 that he knew “nothing about [ACN] other than the people who run the company. I’m not familiar with what they do or how they go about doing that, and I make that clear in my speeches.” ACN, it’s worth noting, has faced conclusive findings that it’s been at fault in other cases involving mishandling of serious customer issues; in Maryland, an ACN-controlled company called Xoom Energy LLC was ordered to provide over half a million dollars in refunds to over 1,300 customers.

Trump’s side repeatedly — unsuccessfully — attempted to get the ACN-tied lawsuit dismissed. Trump is also continuing to face a civil investigation into his family business’s practices from New York state Attorney General Letitia James, who’s pursuing depositions from the former president, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump. James recently reiterated her commitment to obtaining these depositions, despite the Trumps’ appeal of a court order demanding them: “Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump were ordered by a judge to comply with our investigation into Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings. Despite their appeal of this order, no one can stop our pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are,” the state official said.