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Judge Allows Maryland, D.C. to Sue Trump

A federal district judge has ruled that the State of Maryland and Washington, D.C., can pursue a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for unfair competition. (Pixabay)
A federal district judge has ruled that the State of Maryland and Washington, D.C., can pursue a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for unfair competition. (Pixabay)
March 29, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Maryland and Washington, D.C., have grounds to sue President Donald Trump. This allows their lawsuit to move forward, claiming that the President violated the Constitution's emoluments clause.

The clause is an anti-corruption provision, but its meaning has been called into question by Trump's legal team, which argues that it doesn't apply to business transactions. The judge will issue a later ruling to clarify that point, but for now, Rob Marus, a spokesman for D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, said Maryland and the District can proceed with their lawsuit.

"This lawsuit was to essentially get President Trump to obey the Constitution,” Marus said. “We believe he is taking money regularly from foreign government entities, as well as domestic government entities, through his hotel here in Washington, as well as other Trump organization enterprises around the world."

Marus said foreign officials are being drawn to Trump-branded properties over other businesses in the area. When asked about the ruling on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she "can't comment on ongoing litigation."

This is the first victory among three lawsuits dealing with the emoluments clause and Trump businesses. Marus said they've since amended their claim to not only sue Mr. Trump in his official capacity as President, but to also pursue legal action against him as a business owner.

"The people of the District and of Maryland - which also is part of our hotel marketplace and meeting and events marketplace - we suffer an injury that can be redressed by the court, because of the unfair competition that the Trump Hotel creates,” he said.

The federal emoluments clause has never before been argued in federal court.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD