In a case brought by the DC Attorney General’s office, a Superior Court judge in Washington, D.C., issued a significant judgement involving former President Donald Trump.
The judge, reintroduced the Trump Organization as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the DC attorney general alleging that former President Donald Trump misappropriated funds during his 2017 inauguration, overturning an earlier ruling by a separate judge in what is seen as a significant setback for Trump as the case moves forward.
According to Business Insider, the civil case was filed in January 2020 by DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine. He accused the Trump Organization, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration committee, which is a tax-exempt organization, of unlawfully paying the Trump Organization and members of the Trump family with tax-free cash.
In November, DC Superior Court Judge José M. López dismissed the Trump Organization from the lawsuit, stating that Racine’s office failed to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate the corporation may have breached the law.
Later that month, Racine filed a request for reconsideration. The case was reassigned to a new judge, Yvonne Williams, on December 31, and she decided Wednesday night that the Trump Organization should continue in the lawsuit after all.
Williams said in her judgement that Gentry Beach, who the DC attorney general’s office alleged was operating on behalf of the Trump Organization, seemed to merge the inaugural committee and the corporation when he booked a block of hotel rooms.
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Attorneys for the Trump Organization disputed that the AG’s office did not collect any testimony from Beach, but Williams stated that López erroneously decided in favor of the firm without first examining whether Racine might issue a subpoena to depose Beach, according to Business Insider.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former close friend of former first lady Melania Trump, told Business Insider on Monday that she will be “the primary witness” in the case.
“Before joining Melania Trump’s office at the White House, Wolkoff worked on the inaugural committee to help arrange it.” She departed in 2018 after claims that she misappropriated inaugural money, and then wrote a tell-all book in 2020 that strained relations with the former first lady,” the publication stated.
The investigation was launched by the DC AG in response to allegations made by Wolkoff in her book, “Melania and Me.”
“I’m dealing with three separate prosecutors, and it’s taken over my life,” Winston Wolkoff told ABC News last year, referring to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and local attorneys general in New Jersey and Washington, D.C.