See you in court
October 13, 2020

The Justice Department is suing Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of first lady Melania Trump, over a tell-all book published last month.

Wolkoff, who briefly worked as an unpaid senior adviser to the first lady, wrote in Melania and Me that Trump had a tense relationship with her stepdaughter, Ivanka Trump, showed little compassion for the migrant children being separated from their families at the border, and resented having to decorate the White House for Christmas. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Wolkoff, alleging that by writing the tell-all book, she violated a non-disclosure agreement she signed in August 2017.

DOJ attorneys say the NDA did not have an expiration date, and they want a court order to force Wolkoff to place any profits she has made from the book into a government trust. They are also asking that she pay the government's legal fees and court costs, ABC News reports.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who has handled cases involving the government and national security, tweeted that it is "a complete abuse of the Justice Department to pursue this case for personal reasons. And it's legally unenforceable." Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, said Attorney General William Barr is "not just Donald Trump's lawyer/fixer — but he is also Melania Trump's lawyer? ... Barr continues to soil the DOJ in horrific ways." Catherine Garcia

September 24, 2020

After slamming him in a tell-all book, President Trump's niece is taking him to court.

Mary Trump, the president's niece who spoke out against him in her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, filed a lawsuit against him in New York on Thursday, accusing the president and his siblings of fraud, NBC News reports.

The lawsuit claims that among the president, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, and his late brother Robert Trump, "fraud was not just the family business — it was a way of life," and it accuses them of having "concocted scheme after scheme to cheat on their taxes, swindle their business partners, and jack up rents on their low income tenants."

Mary Trump also claims in the lawsuit that after the death of her father, Fred Trump Jr., the president and his siblings "fleeced her of tens of millions of dollars" of her inheritance after they "designed and carried out a complex scheme to siphon funds away from her interests, conceal their grift, and deceive her about the true value of what she had inherited," reports NBC.

President Trump previously attacked his niece after the publication of her tell-all book, calling her a "seldom seen niece who knows little about me," and the White House called Too Much and Never Enough a "book of falsehoods." White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said Thursday that "the only fraud committed there was Mary Trump recording one of her relatives," referring to Mary Trump having secretly recorded conversations with Maryanne Trump Barry.

Mary Trump in a statement on Thursday alleged Trump and his siblings "betrayed me by working together in secret to steal from me" and said she's bringing the lawsuit "to hold them accountable and to recover what is rightfully mine." Brendan Morrow

September 22, 2020

Vanessa Bryant has filed a lawsuit after sheriff's deputies reportedly took and shared graphic photos from the helicopter crash site where her husband and daughter were killed.

Bryant, widow of late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, on Tuesday sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, with her lawsuit saying that after her husband, their daughter Gianna, and seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January, "no fewer than eight sheriff's deputies at the crash site" took "photos of the dead children, parents and coaches" and that deputies then inappropriately shared them, The Hollywood Reporter and TMZ report.

"The gratuitous images soon became talked about within the department, as deputies displayed them to colleagues in settings that had nothing to do with investigating the accident," the lawsuit says, per the Reporter. "One deputy even used his photos of the victims to try to impress a woman at a bar, bragging about how he had been at the crash site."

The lawsuit also says that Bryant "lives in fear" that the photos will leak and that "she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online," per TMZ.

The Los Angeles Times had reported on deputies sharing photos from the crash site in February, and Bryant's attorney in a statement at the time called this an "unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families" while calling for those involved to "face the harshest possible discipline." Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that deputies "admitted they had taken" the photos and that he ordered for them to be deleted. He also said that "we've communicated in no uncertain terms that the behavior is inexcusable."

Bryant's lawsuit filed is reportedly seeking damages "in an amount to be proven at trial." Brendan Morrow

August 24, 2020

The attorney general of New York is taking legal action against the Trump Organization amid an investigation into the company.

Attorney General Letitia James' office in a legal filing on Monday asked a judge to force the Trump Organization to provide information it has been seeking in a probe of the company's financial dealings, The Washington Post reports. The investigation is focused on whether the Trump Organization "improperly inflated the value of Mr. Trump's assets on financial statements in order to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits," a filing said, per CNN.

James' office said she's seeking to compel testimony from Eric Trump, the president's son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, as well as "thousands of documents" that are being withheld. Eric Trump, according to James, has refused to provide testimony despite previously agreeing to an interview that was to take place last month.

"For months, the Trump Organization has made baseless claims in an effort to shield evidence from a lawful investigation into its financial dealings,” James said. "They have stalled, withheld documents, and instructed witnesses, including Eric Trump, to refuse to answer questions under oath."

The New York attorney general's investigation into the Trump Organization was opened after Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, told Congress in 2019 that Trump "inflated his total assets when it served his purposes," as well as "deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes." The Trump Organization's chief legal officer, Alan Garten, said that James' "continued harassment of the company as we approach the election (and filing of this motion on the first day of the Republican National Convention) once again confirms that this investigation is all about politics." Brendan Morrow

August 6, 2020

The attorney general of New York has filed a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday announced she has filed a lawsuit against the NRA "to dissolve the organization in its entirety for years of self-dealing and illegal conduct," alleging the pro-gun group is "fraught with fraud and abuse" and that senior leadership diverted millions of dollars "into their own pockets."

Four defendants are named in the lawsuit, including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who James described as the "central figure behind this scheme." James has accused the defendants of failing "to follow numerous state and federal laws, which contributed to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years." They allegedly put millions of dollars from the non-profit organization to personal use, including for "lavish" trips.

James also accused the NRA of "awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty."

The New York attorney general had been investigating the NRA for 18 months. The attorney general of Washington, D.C. on Thursday also announced a lawsuit against the NRA Foundation for alleged misuse of charitable funds.

President Trump on Thursday decried James' lawsuit as "terrible," recommending the NRA "move to Texas and live a very good and beautiful life." Brendan Morrow

July 24, 2020

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are continuing to fight for their privacy in court.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have filed a lawsuit over photos of their 14-month-old son, Archie, alleging paparazzi used drones and telephoto lenses to photograph him in their backyard in Los Angeles, The New York Times reports. The invasion of privacy lawsuit doesn't name the defendants, as Harry and Meghan don't know the identities of the photographers.

"The photos at issue are not news," the lawsuit says. "They are not in the public interest. They are harassment."

The lawsuit criticizes tabloids' "relentless and quite frankly shocking" actions and says that The Daily Mail revealed where they were staying in Los Angeles and in Canada, the Times reports. Harry and Meghan's lawyer said in a statement that they're "filing this lawsuit to protect their young son's right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions," per CNN.

This comes after Meghan Markle, who along with Prince Harry stepped back from the royal family earlier this year, previously filed a lawsuit against a British tabloid that published parts of a private letter she wrote to her father. In January, Harry and Meghan also warned about possible legal action against paparazzi, with their lawyers saying in a letter that "there are serious safety concerns about how the paparazzi are driving and the risk to life they pose." Brendan Morrow

July 20, 2020

The Florida Education Association — the state's largest teachers' union — filed a lawsuit on Monday against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), alleging that by hurrying to fully reopen all public schools in August, he is violating a Florida law meant to keep schools "safe and secure."

Coronavirus cases are surging in the state, with Florida reporting more than 10,000 new infections on Monday. DeSantis has recommended that all Florida public schools reopen to their full capacity, and earlier this month, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order for the fall semester requiring all schools to be open for five days a week. Corcoran said schools provide everything from academic learning to socialization, and Florida can't hit its "full economic stride" until the schools are all reopened.

The suit — which names DeSantis, Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education, and the Florida State Board of Education — attempts to block the order. In a statement, Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram said DeSantis "needs a reality check, and we are attempting to provide one. The governor needs to accept the reality of the situation here in Florida, where the virus is surging out of control." Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2020

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Thursday sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council in an attempt to block a face mask recommendation.

On Wednesday, Kemp banned cities and counties from enforcing mask mandates. Last week, with the number of coronavirus cases rising, Bottoms reverted the city back to its Phase 1 reopening guidelines — residents are being encouraged to stay home, and told they should wear face masks if out in public. Restaurants are also being asked to close their dining rooms, and it's recommended non-essential city facilities shutter.

In a statement Thursday, Kemp said the lawsuit "is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times. These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth."

Bottoms tweeted in response, "3,104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the 106k who have tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, I have been sued by @GovKemp for a mask mandate. A better use of taxpayer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing." She followed-up with another tweet, saying, "Reading is fundamental. @GovKemp is suing Atlanta over RECOMMENDED guidelines." Catherine Garcia

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