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Emoluments Lawsuit Against President Trump Allowed To Proceed

A September 2017 file photo of the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. A federal judge says a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia regarding Trump's profits from the hotel.

A federal judge has ruled against President Trump in a lawsuit alleging that he is violating the anti-corruption sections of the Constitution known as the emoluments clauses.

Federal district judge Peter Messitte, in Greenbelt, Md., ruled that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine have legal standing to sue Trump. They allege that Trump wrongly profits when foreign officials do business at the hotel he owns near the White House.

This is the first victory for plaintiffs in the three emoluments lawsuits against Trump. A federal judge in New York City ruled that plaintiffs in a separate suit lacked standing; that case is being appealed. A hearing in a third lawsuit is scheduled for June.

Frosh told NPR they expect to proceed with discovery — the process of obtaining relevant documents from Trump.

But Messitte wants a second hearing in the case, in part to examine the meaning of the emoluments clauses. The foreign emoluments clause has never before been considered in federal courts.

The Justice Department is expected to fight the discovery motion.

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