From Summer Zervos to Mary Trump: 9 major legal battles Trump will have to face once he leaves office

  • While in office, President Donald Trump has largely evaded the civil suits against him.
  • That could change once the president leaves office, which would be in January if he loses the election against former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Legal experts who spoke to Business Insider previously said they believed Trump may face a number of legal headaches if he is voted out of office.
  • There are at least 9 major ongoing lawsuits that involve the president, ranging from defamation cases resulting from his sexual assault denials to allegations he and his children misled victims to sell goods for a multi-level marketing company.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Before and during his presidency, Donald Trump has been sued dozens of times. The lawsuits have alleged everything from business deals gone wrong to sexual assault.

Some cases have been resolved or dismissed. But a number of them remain active, suspended or slowed until he leaves office. He he will have to face the onslaught of lawsuits if he loses reelection and becomes a private citizen once again.

As Business Insider's Dave Levinthal previously reported, Trump will likely face a litany of federal investigations if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden next month. He may also be indicted for his role in covering up hush-money payments to Karen McDougal — a plot that sent his former lawyer Michael Cohen to prison.

Norm Eisen, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, told Business Insider there were several reasons Trump has been successful in avoiding court appearances.

"Part of it is the power of the presidency," he said. "Part of it is the slowness of the system. He is the target of a number of litigation matters and investigations, but he's been able to take advantage, for example in the Vance [tax record] case, of the extreme slowness of the system."

Some legal actions taken against Trump and his web of organizations have been successful. He, along with his children, agreed to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation after a New York state investigation found they repeatedly lied about charity work.

Some have been settled in arbitration, like the 2018 lawsuit from Noel Cintron, Trump's longtime driver, who alleged he was owed $200,000 in unpaid overtime. Other plaintiffs, like Alva Johnson, who alleged Trump kissed her without consent at a 2016 Florida rally, have dropped their lawsuits. "I'm fighting against a person with unlimited resources," she told the Daily Beast after dropping the case in 2019.

"There's going to be an accumulating number of these legal actions that are going to squeeze him more and more," Eisen said. "It will be more intense if he's not in the office and does not have the excuses of the presidency to block things. But in any event, he's facing accountability." 

Here are nine of the ongoing lawsuits Trump still has to deal with.

Trump faces a defamation lawsuit from "The Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos.

Summer Zervos, a contestant during the 2005 season of Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" sued President Trump in 2017, claiming that the president defamed her when denying her allegations that he sexually assaulted her in 2007.

In 2019, Zervos claimed she had evidence, including calendar entries and emails, to back up her claims.

Trump was at one point given a deadline to provide a deposition before the end of January 2020, but the case has since been paused.

The Washington, DC, attorney general sued Trump Organization, claiming it was knowingly overcharged for services at the president's DC hotel.

In September, a federal judge in Washington, DC, denied Trump's request to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges that the Trump Organization improperly used nonprofit funds to enrich Trump's businesses, as NBC News reported. 

The suit was brought in January by Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl Racine over claims that Trump's inaugural committee spent more than $1 million at the president's DC hotel despite the fact it knew it was being overcharged for services, according to the report.

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll has also sued Trump, alleging he defamed her in denying that he raped her in the 90s.

In June 2019, the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll accused President Donald Trump of raping her in a New York department store in the mid-90s.

Following the president's denial of the allegations, Caroll in November 2019 sued the president for defamation. 

In a largely atypical move in September 2020, the White House asked the Department of Justice to intervene in defending the president in the defamation suit.

The president still faces a lawsuit stemming from a 2015 altercation between his security and a group of protesters.

The lawsuit was brought by a group of Mexican-Americans who protested at a 2015 rally outside of Trump Tower in New York.

The plaintiffs claim security guards shoved them, destroyed their signs, and that Trump's head of security punched one of them in the head while another attempted to choke a protester, The Washington Post previously reported.

In September 2019, a federal judge ordered Trump to testify in the case, although another judge issued a temporary stay against the order, according to the Post.

The New York attorney general is also suing the Trump Organization to compel it to comply with her investigation.

In August, New York Attorney General Letitia James brought a lawsuit against the Trump Organization in a state court in Manhattan, as part of an attempt to enforce an investigatory subpoena against the president's son, Eric, and his personal attorney, according to Bloomberg.

In an August 21 letter, the attorney generals office said it "has not concluded its investigation and has not reached any determination regarding whether the facts identified to date establish violations of any applicable laws."

As CNBC noted, James is investigating whether the Trump Organization inaccurately valued real estate on financial statements in order to obtain loans and economic and tax benefits.

The president's former personal lawyer has sued the Trump Organization for nearly $2 million in unpaid fees.

Michael Cohen, the president's former and since-disbarred personal lawyer, filed a lawsuit against in a New York court against Trump Organization from in 2019, claiming that it failed to pay him nearly $2 million in owed legal fees.

A group of plaintiffs is suing Trump and his adult children, claiming they misled victims into selling products for ACN, a multi-level marketing company.

In October 2019, a group of plaintiffs brought a class-action lawsuit alleging that Trump's adult children and an affiliate of the Trump Organization misled victims into selling products for American Communications Network.

The group claims the Trump family misled them in order to enrich themselves from the multi-level marketing company, which charged people $499 to sell the goods, according to Reuters. 

The president's niece is suing Trump and his siblings.

Mary Trump, the president's niece who in July published a book criticizing him, has sued the president, his sister, Mary, and his late brother Robert for cheating her out of an inheritance.

In the lawsuit, filed in a New York state court in September, she accused the family of fraud and of a scheme "to siphon funds away from her interests, conceal their grift, and deceive her about the true value of what she had inherited."

Trump Hotels is being sued for its actions relating to a property it formerly managed in Panama.

In the initial suit, Orestes Fintiklis and his fund Ithaca Capital Investments, which took control of the property from Trump International Hotels Management in 2018, claimed that Trump mismanaged the Panama hotel. They requested $15 million in damages, as Bloomberg reported.

Fintiklis also claimed he and his fund faced millions of dollars in liabilities because Trump underpaid taxes on the project. In March 2020, a federal judge allowed Trump's former business partners to amend their suit to add claims of fraud and breach of contract, according to the report.

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