Federal Appeals Courts Halts Emoluments Case While Trump Appeals

A logo sign outside of the Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office building in downtown Washington, D.C., on April 2, 2017. Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)
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December 20, 2018 5:25 p.m.
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A federal appeals Thursday froze a lower court case accusing Trump of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, halting discovery in the matter pending the resolution of the appeal.

Justice Department attorneys representing Trump had argued for an immediate halt in the matter, brought by the attorneys general for Maryland and Washington DC.

The lower court judge had denied a motion to dismiss from Trump, and allowed the state attorneys general to commence discovery earlier this month. The deadlines on 38 subpoenas were to come due on Jan. 3, but are now halted with the rest of the lower court proceedings

In the order, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that arguments on appeal would focus not only on a mandamus petition in which the Justice Department asked the appeals court to overrule the lower court judge, but also on whether the Constitution’s emoluments clause “provide[s] plaintiffs with a cause of action to seek injunctive relief” and whether the state attorneys general have alleged sufficient harm to grant them standing to sue the president.

The appeals court set oral arguments in the case for March 19-21, 2019.

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