Trump Wins Delay in Emoluments Lawsuit by D.C. and Maryland

(Bloomberg) -- A federal appeals court put on hold until at least March a lawsuit claiming President Donald Trump is illegally profiting from his Washington hotel and other businesses.

The appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, issued an order Thursday staying the lawsuit and setting the case for oral arguments in mid-March. The ruling means lawyers representing the District of Columbia and Maryland can’t demand business records and other evidence from the president unless the appeals court rules the case can go forward.

The suit, filed last year by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and his Maryland counterpart, Brian Frosh, accuses Trump of violating the U.S. Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses. The measures, which are rarely invoked, were intended to help prevent official corruption.

The attorneys general claim Trump is illegally making profits from foreign governments and domestic officials who book stays and hold parties at his luxury Washington hotel, just blocks from the White House.

The underlying case is before Maryland federal court judge Peter Messitte, who had set a schedule that permitted the plaintiffs to serve subpoenas on Trump businesses and his personal trust. The appeals court is considering Trump’s appeal of a ruling by Messitte allowing the case to go forward.

The two Democrats claim the president is taking illegal profits from a host of foreign powers, including Saudi Arabia.

The case is In re: Donald Trump, 18-2486, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Richmond).

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.