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Frosh ‘Proud’ as Supreme Court Ends State’s Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) expressed satisfaction Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a federal lawsuit that the state and the District of Columbia brought against President Trump, accusing Trump of illegally profiting off of his presidency.

Frosh and D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) had sued Trump in 2017, accusing of him of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution by accepting payments from foreign and domestic officials who stayed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and patronizing other Trump family businesses.

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D). Photo by Bruce DePuyt.

Officially, the Supreme Court justices threw out Trump’s challenge to lower court rulings that had allowed emoluments lawsuits to go forward, arguing that the cases were moot now that he is no longer in office.

Frosh and Racine sued Trump on behalf of high-end restaurants and hotels in the Washington, D.C., area, which, they argued, “found themselves in the unenviable position of having to compete with businesses owned by the President of the United States.”

A similar lawsuit was brought by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which was also thrown out.

The suits sought Trump Organization financial records to show how much state and foreign governments paid to stay and eat at Trump-owned properties.

After starts and stops, the Fourth Circuit District Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled that the Maryland-D.C. lawsuit could move forward ― which Frosh and Racine treated as a triumph Monday, even as the suit was ended and Trump Organization records were never made public. In a statement, they called it a “landmark case.”

“We are proud that because of our case, a court ruled on the meaning of ‘emoluments’ for the first time in American history, finding that the Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting almost anything of value from foreign or domestic governments,” Frosh and Racine said. “This decision will serve as precedent that will help stop anyone else from using the presidency or other federal office for personal financial gain the way that President Trump has over the past four years.”

Frosh and Racine said that while the lawsuit received unprecedented resistance from the U.S. Justice Department, “our case proves once again that in our country no one ― not even the President of the United States ― is above the law.”

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Frosh ‘Proud’ as Supreme Court Ends State’s Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump