BALTIMORE, MD (July 25, 2018) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today issued the following statement on today’s federal court ruling in the emoluments lawsuit brought by the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia:
“This is an historic decision. Judge Messitte held that the emoluments clauses of the United States Constitution are ‘broad anti-corruption provisions’ that can be enforced in court. No other President has ignored the prohibitions on receipt of payments and benefits from foreign governments or additional benefits from the United States or any individual state. The Court saw through President Trump’s attempts to excuse his unconstitutional behavior, rejected his self-serving definition of ‘emoluments,’ and held that the term ‘extends to any profit, gain, or advantage’ of more than de minimis value, received by him ‘from foreign, the federal, or domestic governments.’”
“We now look forward to proceeding with discovery and litigating the merits of this case. Americans shouldn’t have to question whether their president is making decisions in their best interest rather than his own. Americans deserve a president who serves the people, not his bottom line.”
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine:
“Today’s historic ruling is a substantial step forward to ensure President Trump stops violating our nation’s original anti-corruption laws. The Constitution is clear: the president can’t accept money or other benefits from foreign or domestic governments. Specifically, the Court agreed with our position that President Trump cannot accept profits from private transactions, including those involving services given at fair market value, like those we allege are occurring at the Trump International Hotel here in the District.
We sued because this corruption is taking place in our backyard, and because 325 million Americans shouldn’t have to wonder if the president is putting his personal financial interests ahead of the national interest.”
On June 12, 2017, Attorney General Frosh and Attorney General Racine filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses by accepting payments from foreign and domestic governments through his businesses. In late March 2018, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland found the District and Maryland had legal standing to sue the president over the alleged violations.
Today’s Order and Opinion can be found here.