WASHINGTON (AP) — As a businessman, Donald Trump has stored the courts busy. That’s hardly more likely to change when he enters the Oval Workplace, creating an uncommon and probably significant issue for a sitting president.
Solely a handful of presidents have undergone authorized depositions throughout their phrases, and even fewer have grow to be embroiled in personal lawsuits. Trump is poised to hitch that small membership.
Simply final week, the president-elect sat for a deposition in a lawsuit involving his Washington lodge, and he’s nonetheless tied up in authorized disputes which are to proceed after Inauguration Day. Trump can also be beneath investigation by the New York lawyer common over whether or not he used his charity for private profit.
These are solely a number of the pending issues.
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While Trump has said he will turn over management of his company to his adult sons, he has left open the possibility he will keep not only an ownership interest but the legal liability that accompanies it. He is expected to give more details about stepping away at a news conference on Wednesday.
The details are important because the closer Trump remains to his business while in office, the more he makes himself and the company targets for litigation. Those attacks could include lawsuits brought by deep-pocketed political opponents who could use the courts as one more battleground to fight his administration.
“He is going to be not just a litigation magnet, but a litigation vortex that sucks in every political and personal adversary he has,” said Norman Eisen, the Obama administration chief White House ethics counselor from 2009 through 2011. Eisen has encouraged Trump to sell his assets and put the cash in a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest and legal pitfalls.
Given the heated political climate, Eisen said Trump could end up on the other end of a strategy that one of his advisers, billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, was accused of using in a civil privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media LLC: bankrolling someone else’s lawsuit to exact revenge or further a personal or political agenda.
Under constitutional immunity protections, Trump can’t be sued over official acts in the Oval Office. But he could be named in lawsuits for personal actions or those involving his businesses. And the presidency may offer no protection from lawsuits that started before he took office.
“Prior litigation related…