President Donald Trump and his three eldest children — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump — have found themselves in the midst of a legal battle. On Monday, a federal judge allowed a federal lawsuit accusing the president, his three eldest children, and Trump's company of collaborating with a fraudulent marketing scheme to prey on investors to proceed in court, according to CNN. This lawsuit was originally filed back in October 2018 (and was amended a few months later), but a decision regarding the future of it has only recently been decided.
The lawsuit alleges that Trump and his three eldest children used his reality show Celebrity Apprentice and other promotional vehicles to boost ACN Opportunity, a telecommunications marketing company, in exchange for "secret" payments. ACN Opportunity reportedly used the Trump brand to appeal to teens. In addition to this claim, the lawsuit alleges the Trump family was profiting off of the poor and vulnerable with people looking "to enrich themselves by systematically defrauding economically marginalized people looking to invest in their educations, start their own small business, and pursue the American dream."
This lawsuit was brought forward by four anonymous plaintiffs. According to CNN, court papers describe these individuals as a hospice caregiver, a self-employed man who was previously homeless, and a food delivery driver. The suit went on to claim that Trump and his three eldest children "deliberately misled" investors about the success of their investments. The suit also alleges they engaged in a "pattern of racketeering activity." Notably, the nonprofit Tesseract Research Center is funding the case, which reportedly has ties to Democratic lawmakers.
The United States District Court judge on the case, Lorna Schofield, wrote in her opinion that she believes that the matter should proceed in court. She wrote, "Weighing the two 'most critical' factors — likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm — against each other, any prejudice that Defendants and ACN may suffer from proceeding with the litigation during the pendency of the appeal does not outweigh the strong likelihood that Defendants and ACN will not succeed on appeal."
Trump and his team have responded to this news. As CNN noted, Trump and his team reportedly plan to bring this ruling to an appeals court. A lawyer for the Trump family, Joanna Hendon, said, "We intend to promptly move the 2nd Circuit for a stay pending appeal."