Judge Cancels Trial Over Endorsement Of ‘Videophone’ Firm, Handing Trump A Win

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


A federal judge has dismissed a civil trial against former President Donald Trump, handing him a much-needed legal victory.

The case involved “the former president’s support of a multi-level marketing company,” with the judge “ruling that the Manhattan federal court wasn’t the best place to try the case,” Business Insider reported.

The multi-level marketing case, initially scheduled for a trial on January 29, was initiated by a group of plaintiffs who alleged that they had fallen prey to a scam orchestrated by a company called ACN. They claimed to have invested significant sums, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, in registration fees and workshops with the goal of learning how to sell a “videophone” device, which had become outdated in the era of the iPhone.

In their lawsuit, they asserted that they were misled by Trump, who, despite being aware of the situation, continued to feature the company on “The Apprentice” and participated in numerous promotional videos and live events, as reported by the outlet, the outlet noted.

The original case was launched in 2018 and had been progressing through the legal system, with Trump and members of his family, who were employed by the Trump Organization, participating in depositions.

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In October, Trump achieved a victory when the case was denied class-action status, narrowing its scope. Last week, U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield, an Obama appointee, declared that the Manhattan federal court was no longer the most appropriate venue for the trial.

“The only remaining claims are the common law and statutory claims of three Plaintiffs arising respectively under the laws of California, Maryland and Pennsylvania where they respectively reside, with total out-of-pocket losses said to be roughly $7,000,” Schofield wrote in her ruling.

“Even though discovery has been completed and certain motions decided, retaining jurisdiction would not serve economy or convenience,” she added.

That said, Roberta Kaplan, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said that the trial could nevertheless move forward, just in a different venue.

“Today’s decision addresses only where — not if — Plaintiffs’ claims should be brought to trial,” she told Business Insider. “We intend to continue the fight, and our brave clients look forward to their day in court.”

Meanwhile, the federal judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 case in Washington, D.C., handed him a partial victory in a ruling handed down on Thursday.

According to reports, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan partially limited what special counsel Jack Smith is permitted to do in the alleged election interference case. Trump’s legal team submitted a motion earlier this month asking Judge Chutkan to find Smith in contempt for continuing to file documents in the case despite the judge issuing a stay order in December.

Trump has filed an appeal with the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether presidential immunity applies to the charges brought against him by Smith.

Despite Chutkan’s Dec. 13 order that stayed proceedings at the federal court level, Trump’s legal team said in its filing that Smith’s office served him with 4,000 pages of “additional discovery” on Dec. 17, including what the prosecutors’ production letter described as “several hundred video and audio recordings.”

Trump’s legal team has asked for the withdrawal of all of Smith’s discovery requests and requested that prosecutors be obligated to seek court permission before submitting any further filings “to ensure that any further attempts to violate the Stay Order will be summarily denied.”

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Chutkan, in her ruling, agreed with Trump’s team.

“The court agrees … diligent defense counsel will need to conduct a preliminary review of each substantive motion the Government files in order to know whether they need to take further action. While that is not a major burden, it is a cognizable one,” she wrote.

“Accordingly, the court will adopt Defendant’s recommendation that the parties be forbidden from filing any further substantive pretrial motions without first seeking leave from the court,” she wrote.

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