US: Trump claims absolute immunity from DC wine bar’s lawsuit

Lawyers for Donald Trump on Wednesday said the US president has “absolute immunity” from a lawsuit by owners of the Cork Wine Bar in Washington, DC, who claim that his ownership of a nearby hotel constitutes unfair competition.

Trump’s lawyers, in seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit by Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, said the president cannot be forced to close or divest the Trump International Hotel, located in the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, or else resign his office.

The doctrine of absolute immunity “ensures that the President can focus on carrying out the obligations of his Office without the distraction of virtually limitless litigation whose costs he would personally bear,” Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing. “That doctrine forecloses this lawsuit.”

Mark Zaid, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, disagreed.

“This lawsuit is against Donald J. Trump, not President Trump, and the cloak of immunity does not attach to his private, personal financial dealings,” Zaid said in an email.

The lawsuit is one of many targeting Trump’s alleged failure to distance himself from his business empire while in office.

Full Content: Law 360

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