After four long years, the Trump crime family was finally set to be deposed in the federal lawsuit. That is, until the Category 5 hurricane touched down in Florida, causing massive floods, power outages, and sending Floridians out of the state seeking safety and shelter, forcing it to be postponed.
“With all respect, we do not believe that is prudent or safe.”
John C. Quinn, a lawyer at the New York City-based, Kaplan, Hecker, and Fink, emailed the District Court Judge Sarah Cave, of the Southern District of New York on Wednesday on behalf of his boss, Trump attorney Roberta Kaplan. Letting the judge know they would not be available due to the weather and potential danger:
“We are currently scheduled to travel to Florida early tomorrow morning to take the deposition of Defendant Donald J. Trump at Mar- a-Lago this Friday. We do not believe that is prudent or safe, and we have been unable to obtain Defendants’ agreement to reschedule (or relocate) the deposition,” Quinn wrote.
In 2018, plaintiffs Catherine McKoy, Millard Williams, Markus Frazier, and Lynn Chadwich filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Trump used his popular television show The Apprentice to lure unsuspecting investors to invest in the multi-level marketing company, American Communications Network – or ACN Opportunity, LLC.
According to the lawsuit, ACN was a “get-rich-quick scheme” that burnished Trump and his family’s names for the purposes of “conn[ing] each of these victims into giving up hundreds or thousands of dollars” in alleged violation of various state laws. ACN had investors sign an arbitration agreement, but the Trumps did not.
The complaint also alleges that Donald Trump “knowingly” engaged in fraudulent messaging that misrepresented ACN’s risk profile and the commercial viability of its products and failed to disclose that he was being paid to endorse the product.
“The Trump enterprise’s fraudulent promotion and endorsement of ACN was the key factor in plaintiffs’ investment decisions.”
With the last day for discovery on Friday, September 30th, Quinn told the judge that his firm made several attempts to get Trump and his lead attorney to reschedule the deposition at the ex-President’s Bedminster, New Jersey golf club after raising concerns about the pending storm – to no avail. Trump and his attorneys insisted the deposition take place at his Mar-a-Lago estate despite the oncoming Hurricane Ian.
“On Sunday, September 25, I sent an email to Mr. Robert, lead counsel for Mr. Trump, expressing our desire to keep the date, but raising concerns about last-minute cancellations and the potential inability of the court reporter and videographer to get safely to the deposition location, and suggesting that we move the deposition to Bedminster, New Jersey. I received no response. Instead, Mr. Robert called me yesterday, September 27, to tell me that he and his colleague were boarding a flight to Palm Beach. I expressed some surprise—I believe I used the word ‘walloped’—but Mr. Robert indicated they were flying down anyway. We reached out to Mr. Robert and his colleague again this afternoon, both by phone and by email, but were not able to get in touch with them. Accordingly, the last we heard is that Defendants insist the deposition go forward at Mar-a-Lago and on Friday,” Quinn wrote.
Trump and his children were scheduled to testify for seven hours each if not for Hurricane Ian.
Former Trump White House aide Hope Hicks is also scheduled to be deposed—for three hours—and the Trump Organization for ten, if they can handle lit.
Read the email here.
Original reporting by Adam Klasfeld at Law & Crime.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick