Trump scores rare legal win as judge cancels trial over his endorsement of multi-level marketing 'videophone' company


  • A federal judge dismissed a civil trial against Donald Trump in Manhattan, scheduled to start on January 29.

  • He was accused of dishonestly promoting a multi-level marketing  company hawking a “videophone.”

  • The judge said the case — which was litigated for years — is best tried in a different court.

A federal judge canceled an upcoming trial against Donald Trump and the Trump Organization over the former president’s support of a multi-level marketing company, ruling that the Manhattan federal court wasn’t the best place to try the case.

The decision is a rare legal win for Trump, who has been buffeted by numerous criminal cases and civil lawsuits, and who faces a second trial over his sexual abuse of E. Jean Carroll next week.

The multi-level marketing case, which had been scheduled to go on trial on January 29, was brought by a group of plaintiffs who said they were scammed by a company called ACN. They alleged they spent hundreds or thousands of dollars in registration fees and workshops to learn how to sell a “videophone” device that was woefully outdated in the age of the iPhone. In the lawsuit, they said they were fooled by Trump, who knew better yet still featured the company on “The Apprentice” and appeared in multiple promotional videos and live events.

Brought in 2018, the case progressed through Manhattan federal court for years, with Trump and members of his family working for the Trump Organization sitting for depositions.

In October, Trump notched a win when the case was denied the status of a class-action lawsuit, curtailing its scope. In a ruling made public Friday, US District Judge Lorna Schofield said that Manhattan federal court was no longer the best place to try the case.

“The only remaining claims are the common law and statutory claims of three Plaintiffs arising respectively under the laws of California, Maryland and Pennsylvania where they respectively reside, with total out-of-pocket losses said to be roughly $7,000,” Schofield wrote in the ruling, dated Thursday.

Without class action certification, an earlier dismissal of a civil RICO claim in the lawsuit, and a low amount of damages, the case no longer had any automatic federal jurisdiction in New York. While Schofield said she could exercise her discretion and choose to keep the case, she said it was best handled elsewhere.

“Even though discovery has been completed and certain motions decided, retaining jurisdiction would not serve economy or convenience,” she wrote in her ruling.

Roberta Kaplan, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the suit, told Business Insider that the claims would move forward.

“Today’s decision addresses only where — not if — Plaintiffs’ claims should be brought to trial,” Kaplan said. “We intend to continue the fight, and our brave clients look forward to their day in court.”

The decision doesn’t mean Trump is out of the woods yet. It gives the plaintiffs an opportunity to appeal Schofield’s rulings, including the earlier order dismissing civil racketeering accusations.

An attorney for Trump didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider



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