By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times |
A New York judge ruled Friday that the state’s lawsuit against President Trump’s charity can proceed, rejecting the president’s insistence that he’s immune from these sorts of cases while he’s in the Oval Office.
Judge Saliann Scarpulla, who serves on a state court in Manhattan, said just as President Clinton had to deal with sexual misconduct lawsuits during his time as president but dating back to his years as a governor, so Mr. Trump can face claims from when he was a private citizen.
In allowing the case to move forward Judge Scarpulla said it appears Mr. Trump did mix charity and politics during the 2016 campaign — namely his decision to skip one of the GOP primary debates and instead hold a fundraiser for veterans.
Judge Scarpulla specifically rejected Mr. Trump’s claim that the lawsuit was a gotcha attempt by political enemies in New York.
“Given the very serious allegations set for in the petition, I find that there is no basis for finding that animus and bias were the sole motivating factors for initiating the investigation and pursuing this proceeding,” the judge ruled.
The lawsuit names Mr. Trump, his children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr., and the Donald J. Trump Foundation as defendants.
New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood, who brought the case, says Mr. Trump used his foundation as a tool for his own advancement, including to settle legal problems or to buy things he wanted — such as a $10,000 portrait of himself that he hung at one of his golf courses.
During the 2016 campaign the charity was frequently deployed for political purposes, Ms. Underwood says.
“There are rules that govern private foundations — and we intend to enforce them, no matter who runs the foundation,” Ms. Underwood said in a statement Friday.
Source: The Washington Times