Trump faces 7-hour grilling in restaurant lawsuit as soon as today
Republican President-elect Donald Trump will not be tweeting for at least seven hours some time in the very near future because he’s facing a lengthy deposition under oath in a lawsuit stemming from a restaurant that never opened.
LawNewz.com reported Thursday that the deposition is set to take place at Trump Tower due to “security reasons” and will include Trump, his legal team and attorneys representing chef Jose Andres and restauranteur Geoffrey Zakarian.
Andres and Zakarian were set to open a new restaurant in Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel the Trump International but pulled out of the deal in 2015 after Trump kicked off his presidential campaign by calling Latino immigrants “drug dealers” and “rapists.”
Grubstreet.com’s Clint Rainey said that after Andres made the decision to abandon the project, the Trump International has been unable to attract a replacement restaurant.
“The Trump International Hotel cannot find a single taker for the big now-empty spot where Geoffrey Zakarian was supposed to open a restaurant,” said Rainey. “As everybody recalls, Zakarian and fellow chef José Andrés (who was set to run the hotel’s flagship eatery) both pulled out last summer — moves that each triggered $10 million lawsuits from Trump’s people.”
“Trump wanted to cap the deposition to just two hours or cancel it entirely,” said Rachel Stockman at Law Newz, “but DC Superior Court Judge Jennifer A. Di Toro ruled that Trump must sit for the session — and it could last up to 7 hours. Politico reports that Trump’s attorney, Rebecca Woods, who is handling the case, was spotted in Trump Tower on Wednesday.”
Andres has reportedly made overtures toward ending the suit. On Thursday morning, he tweeted, “Again Mr. Peotus @realDonaldTrump if you are awake, let’s resolve this in a friendly way. We donate $ to a charity. Is a great deal!”
Again Mr. Peotus @realDonaldTrump if you are awake, let’s resolve this in a friendly way. We donate $ to a charity, ..? Is a great deal!
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) January 5, 2017
Stockman said that Trump appears unwilling to settle in the suit and posted video of then-candidate Trump’s June, 2016 deposition in a separate lawsuit against Zakarian.
While Donald Trump would not be the first elected president to sit for a deposition — Pres. Bill Clinton was deposed in a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones in 1996 — he is currently embroiled in some 75 or more other active lawsuits.
In December, he paid out a $25 million settlement to plaintiffs in the Trump University lawsuit in which the former reality TV star was accused of fraud. Trump’s so-called “university” turned out to be a series of overpriced seminars at which attendees were urged to max out their credit cards to buy more classes.
Watch video of a portion of Trump’s June, 2016 deposition, embedded below: