Trump’s former lawyer subpoenaed in charity foundation lawsuit
The US President’s former lawyer has been hit with a subpoena to testify into the alleged financial mismanagement of charity funds
Donald Trump’s former lawyer has been hit with a subpoena in an investigation into the US President’s charitable foundation’s alleged financial mismanagement.
The New York state Attorney-General, Barbara Underwood, sued the Donald J Trump Foundation, Trump and three of his children in June for allegedly violating state charity laws. The case has now called on Michael Cohen to testify to these claims.
Underwood claimed Trump was using the foundation as a “chequebook for payments” during his presidential election, adding: “This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”
Due to his time as a senior executive within the Trump campaign, Cohen could provide valuable testimony into the operation of the foundation. The suit alleged that “Trump ran the foundation according to whim, rather than law”.
This comes a day after a significant accusation emerged against Trump, alleging that he made hush agreements with two women “for the principle purpose of influencing the election” in a move that would see his eventual election.
This amounted to an illegal corporate donation made directly to a candidate and an illegally large individual donation. Trump’s involvement was made clear when Cohen submitted false invoices so that Trump could reimburse him for the payments.
As the scandals mount against the President, the foundation suit seeks $2.8 million in restitution and penalties and asks the foundation distribute $1 million in assets among other charities. The lawsuit would also dissolve the foundation and bar Trump and three of his children from serving on the boards of other charitable organisations.
However, if this case were to move onto a criminal case, any conviction could be pardonable by the President who can pardon federal crimes under the constitution.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing in a series of tweets in which he blamed the case on “sleazy New York Democrats” and insisted: “I won’t settle this case!”
The case has also found that a state could indict a sitting President, but that the Justice Department would not do so, according to tweets from Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel in the Department of Defence.
“A good time to remember that even if [special counsel Robert] Mueller’s hands are tied by the Department of Justice’s legal opinions – saying that a sitting president can’t be indicted – state Attorney-General’s aren’t,” Goodman said.
“It would be for them and the courts to decide.”