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4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals grants en banc Trump emoluments case

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Oct. 15 (UPI) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday agreed to rehear a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating emoluments clauses before a full panel of judges.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July dismissed the lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland. The court is giving the lawsuit a second chance by granting an en banc in which all 15 judges in the court will rule.

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine said he and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh “look forward to arguing our case before the full Fourth Circuit to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution and profiting from the presidency.”

The two attorneys general said Trump violated the Constitution by accepting money from domestic and foreign governments through his hotels and other businesses. The suit said the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., diverts customers away from businesses the District of Columbia and Maryland own, license or tax, causing those governments direct financial harm. The Trump International Hotel competes with convention facilities owned by the city’s government, as well as with a resort in Prince George‘s County that generates tax revenue for Maryland.

The suit contended it wasn’t clear whether Trump is making decisions in the country’s best interest or out of “self-interested motivations grounded in the international and domestic business dealings in which President Trump‘s personal fortune is at stake.”

Trump increases business from foreign diplomats and others doing business at his family’s hotels and the restaurants, the suit alleged.

The plaintiffs sought Trump‘s personal tax returns.

The three-judge panel said the plaintiffs couldn’t show that Trump‘s ownership of the hotels created competition with other similar businesses like convention centers.

This isn’t the only lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause. A group of some 200 Democrats sued him on similar grounds.

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