Appellate judges skeptical of Trump’s arguments in Mar-a-Lago documents case
Attorneys for President Donald Trump and his company, his children, and other defendants say the government’s evidence that he and his family members breached various agreements to divest from their businesses is “inconsistent with the evidence in other cases under other presidents.” | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Donald Trump’s legal team is challenging the U.S. government’s efforts to enforce a wide range of restrictive covenants that govern Trump’s ownership stake in foreign companies, saying they appear to be “inconsistent with the evidence in other cases under other presidents.”
The president has said that his family’s business deals are all above board. The litigation follows months of investigations by several federal law enforcement agencies investigating allegations of fraud, money laundering and other improper business dealings and could lead to Trump’s conviction on charges brought by the special counsel Robert Mueller.
In court papers filed Tuesday, lawyers for Trump and his children, as well as entities controlled by his children, said the government’s evidence that they breached various agreements to divest from their businesses — including transactions in Australia, China, the Cayman Islands and elsewhere — is “inconsistent with the evidence in other cases under other presidents.”
The Trump administration is pressing for an appeal of a March ruling by a federal judge in the District Court of Maryland blocking the enforcement of the restrictive covenants by Trump. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte of the District of Maryland said the legal evidence was “so overwhelmingly incriminating” that he was left with no choice but to block the order.
The judge is expected to rule in June or July on whether he will grant a similar injunction for Trump’s five adult children and four businesses controlled by them.
The Department of Justice said Tuesday that it would not appeal Judge Messitte’s ruling but would ask the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans for “review of Judge Messitte’s analysis and conclusions” in the case.
“Our case is based on the premise that the Trump Organization’s conduct, as detailed by the Department of Justice, is in clear violation of the terms of the restrictive covenants. The evidence of such conduct is overwhelming,” said Daniel Goldman, government lawyer for the Trump group.
“The evidence supporting injunctive relief is the same evidence that led