Law­suit against Trump al­lowed

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - NATION - Tami Ab­dol­lah is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

Tami Ab­dol­lah

WASH­ING­TON — A fed­eral judge de­nied the Jus­tice De­part­ment’s ef­forts to halt le­gal pro­ceed­ings in a case ac­cus­ing Pres­i­dent Trump of vi­o­lat­ing the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion — open­ing the door for Trump’s crit­ics to gain ac­cess to fi­nan­cial records re­lated to his Wash­ing­ton ho­tel.

Trump has been fight­ing mul­ti­ple law­suits that ar­gue that for­eign rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ spend­ing money at the Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel is a vi­o­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion’s emol­u­ments clause, which bans fed­eral of­fi­cials from ac­cept­ing ben­e­fits from for­eign or state gov­ern­ments with­out con­gres­sional ap­proval.

In a bid to pre­vent the case mov­ing on to the dis­cov­ery phase, Jus­tice De­part­ment lawyers had asked Mary­land­based U.S. Dis­trict Judge Pe­ter Mes­sitte to put the case on hold while they ap­peal his de­ci­sion to a higher court in Rich­mond, Va. That ef­fort failed.

“This is an­other ma­jor win for us in this his­toric case,” Dis­trict of Columbia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Karl Racine said in a state­ment af­ter the rul­ing Fri­day. “We will soon pro­vide the court a new sched­ule to be­gin the process of get­ting in­for­ma­tion about how Pres­i­dent Trump is prof­it­ing.”

Jus­tice De­part­ment spokes­woman Kelly Laco said the de­part­ment “dis­agrees with and is dis­ap­pointed” by Mes­sitte’s rul­ing. She added: “This case, which should have been dis­missed, presents im­por­tant ques­tions that war­rant im­me­di­ate ap­pel­late re­view.”

The plain­tiffs, Mary­land and the Dis­trict of Columbia, ar­gue that Trump is caus­ing harm to busi­nesses try­ing to com­pete with his ho­tel.

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