In a decision July 24, Judge Schofield dismissed civil RICO claims against the Trump Organization and Trump family members, while allowing the remaining putative class claims to proceed.  The case (see our previous coverage here) alleged 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.

Continue Reading Judge Schofield Trims Claims in Multi-Level Marketing Scheme Class Action Against Trump Organization

In a complaint filed yesterday, President Trump, his children, and entities related to Trump family businesses sued two financial institutions to prevent them from responding to recent subpoenas issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Financial Services Committee.  The subpoenas seek banking and financial records related to Trump family businesses; 

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:
Continue Reading New Complaint Alleges Trump Family Defrauded Would-Be Entrepreneurs Through Multi-Level-Marketing Scheme; Plaintiffs Move to Sue Under Pseudonyms

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Buchwald found that President Trump’s practice of blocking users on Twitter (typically after they post a comment critical of the President) violates the First Amendment. The plaintiffs (who included individual users as well as the Knight First Amendment Institute) claimed that preventing them from viewing comments, replying to tweets, and participating in comment threads denies access to an important public forum in the 21st century (see our initial coverage here).

After finding that the plaintiffs had standing, Judge Buchwald determined that the President’s Twitter account was appropriately analyzed as a public forum.  Judge Buchwald reasoned that the account is subject to government control for First Amendment purposes in part because President Trump has used the account “to take actions that can be taken only by the President as President.”  Judge Buchwald then determined that the President may not block users on Twitter based on their political views.  In doing so, she emphasized that blocking users goes further than merely “muting” them, insofar as blocking actually limits the blocked user’s “right to speak”:
Continue Reading Judge Buchwald: Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users Under First Amendment

Last week, Judge Buchwald heard oral argument (see transcript here) on summary judgment motions in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Donald J. Trump (see our previous coverage here). The suit alleges that President Trump and others violated the First Amendment when they blocked Twitter users who wrote tweets critical of the president.  The plaintiffs claim that preventing them from viewing comments, replying to tweets, and participating in comment threads denies access to an important public forum in the 21st century.

Continue Reading In Trump Twitter Case, Parties Dispute Whether President’s Tweets Are Government Action; Judge Buchwald Floats “Muting” Compromise

In papers filed Friday, lawyers for President Trump sought summary judgment in a First Amendment challenge to the President’s blocking of users on Twitter (see our prior coverage here).  The brief argues (among other things) that President Trump’s use of Twitter does not constitute “state action”:
Continue Reading DOJ: President Trump’s Blocking of Twitter Users Is Not “State Action” For First Amendment Purposes