With New York Judge Saliann Scarpulla failing to give Donald Trump immunity in the lawsuit brought against the Trump Foundation by New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, experts now believe it could lead to the crumbling of the president’s “financial empire,” reports Law and Crime.
As reported by the Inquisitr, Barbara Underwood brought forward a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its directors, which include Donald Trump and his children, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump. The suit alleges that the directors of the Trump Foundation “transacted business illegally and abusively” and failed to “operate and manage the Foundation in accordance” with the law, “resulting in the misuse of charitable assets and self-dealing,” which are serious allegations and could lead to the beginning of his empire’s material downfall.
“The Trump Foundation functioned as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” Barbara Underwood said after the ruling by Scarpulla, who shot down Trump’s legal defense of being immune to the civil lawsuit because he is the president.
As the AG’s lawsuit detailed, the Trump Foundation functioned as a personal piggy bank to serve Trump's business & political interests
— Amy Spitalnick (@amyspitalnick) November 23, 2018
President Trump could be in a whole lot of trouble for using his "charitable" foundation to pay his bills pic.twitter.com/9jNFpypGyO
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) November 24, 2018
With Scarpulla giving Underwood the go-ahead to delve deeper into the allegations of fraud and misappropriation of Trump Foundation funds for personal usage, Washington, D.C. attorney Mark S. Zaid said that it could lead to a situation where prosecutors find evidence of nefarious dealings which could, in turn, implicate the president.
“[Donald Trump] should be very, very concerned about this lawsuit, perhaps more so than any other currently pending. It may open the door to his financial empire which is where many experts believe he may be criminally vulnerable.”
Zaid went on to add that the investigation “could allow discovery into financial donations, their origins and whether it was of a laundering nature.” He finally concluded that of all the lawsuits that Trump or his family faces at the moment, it is Underwood’s case which will cause the president the biggest concern.
Other experts including former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and state representative Chris Vance seemed to concur with Zaid’s viewpoint, with the latter listing out all the investigations and major lawsuits now pending against Trump.
Trump is now being sued for:
1.Violating the Emoluments Clause
2. Stealing charitable funds
And he is being investigated for:
1. Campaign finance violations
2. Financial crimes
3. Obstruction of justice
4. And conspiring with Russia to win the election.https://t.co/ZyKogILr4t
— Chris Vance (@Chrisvance123) November 23, 2018
Trump’s financial dealings and his foundation’s practices have come under sharp scrutiny ever since special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation began. Not bound by the scope of the inquiry, Mueller is believed to have found irregularities in Trump’s dealings, with his former campaign manager Paul Manafort already convicted earlier this year for money laundering. But Mueller has since passed over the investigation of Trump’s financial history to New York prosecutors, with the special counsel appearing more interested in investigating whether or not the president worked with Russia to influence the 2016 elections.