The Trump Foundation lawsuit against Donald Trump and his family will move forward after a New York judge rejected his claims that he couldn’t be sued because he’s the president.
On Friday CNBC reported that Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the New York state Supreme Court shot down an argument from Trump attorneys that the lawsuit going after Trump’s foundation should be dropped because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution which suggests “a sitting president may not be sued.”
Trump’s lawyers also tried to argue that the state court didn’t have jurisdiction over the president in the foundation case. The judge shot down that argument too saying, “Here, the allegations raised in the Petition do not involve any action taken by Mr. Trump as president and any potential remedy would not affect Mr. Trump’s official federal duties.”
Scarpulla said that the defendants “have failed to cite a single case in which any court has dismissed a civil action against a sitting president on Supremacy Clause grounds, where, as here, the action is based on the president’s unofficial acts.”
“I find that I have jurisdiction over Mr. Trump and deny Respondents’ motion to dismiss the petition against him on jurisdictional grounds,” she wrote.
Barbara Underwood, the New York state Attorney General, gave high praise for Scarpulla’s decision.
In a statement Underwood said, “As we detailed in our petition earlier this year, the Trump Foundation functioned as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests. There are rules that govern private foundations — and we intend to enforce them, no matter who runs the foundation. We welcome Justice Scarpulla’s decision, which allows our suit to move forward.”
A Trump Foundation lawyer told CNBC, “The decision means only that the case goes forward. As we have maintained throughout, all of the money raised by the Foundation went to charitable causes to assist those most in need. As a result, we remain confident in the ultimate outcome of these proceedings.”
The lawsuit against Trump and his family alleges that he used the foundation “for his own personal benefit.”
“The “pattern” of illegality, Underwood’s office wrote, included “improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations or to implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.””
This ruling is sure to piss off Trump. If his initial reaction to the lawsuit is any indication we are in for some serious rage tweeting any minute.