A complaint filed today alleges that Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, and members of the Trump family falsely promoted the multi-level-marketing scheme ACN, reaping millions of dollars in secret payments to promote the scheme that led to would-be entrepreneurs losing millions of dollars. According to the complaint, the members of the purported class invested in the multi-level-marketing scheme by paying fees and purchasing training sessions that would allow them to sell ACN’s products (which included an obsolete “video phone”). ACN events featured prominent Trump endorsements of the scheme, allegedly without revealing that Trump was being compensated for his endorsement or that investing in the scheme came with high risk and was unlikely to result in any return to the investors (with costs at some times exceeding returns by a factor of ten to one).
The complaint includes federal RICO claims as well as state law and common law claims.
The plaintiffs are three individuals (and putative class representatives) who have also just filed a motion to proceed under pseudonyms. Their motion begins:
Even for the most sophisticated and well-resourced adversaries, filing suit to hold the President of the United States accountable for breaking the law is a perilous decision. The current President, Donald J. Trump, has a documented history of wielding his wealth, stature, and Twitter account to attack people whom he perceives to be his enemies, including people who file lawsuits against him. That has been true for decades, and it has remained true since he was elected to a position that affords him the largest bully pulpit on the planet. But the threat to Plaintiffs here now extends far beyond President Trump’s own tweets or rallies. In the current environment, President Trump’s political followers instantly unleash harassment, verbal assaults, cyberattacks, and even death threats against anyone who dares to challenge him—whether politically or in a court of law
A judge has not yet been assigned.