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Judge Orders Trump to Sit for Deposition
Restaurant Lawsuit Takes Trump Away from Presidential Campaign
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump will be sitting soon for a deposition in a lawsuit against a celebrity chef who backed out of a contract to operate a restaurant at the candidate’s new downtown Washington hotel.
A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Trump’s testimony is necessary to resolve the lawsuit against chef Geoffrey Zakarian.
Trump’s lawyers, led by Seyfarth Shaw partner Rebecca Woods, resisted the deposition, saying Zakarian intended it to harass the real estate mogul turned politician.
However, Judge Brian Holeman said Trump had personal knowledge of events and information relevant and material to the claims.
Neither the rules nor the controlling authority create a special exception for individuals that that may have a busy schedule as a result of seeking public office, Holeman wrote.
Zakarian pulled out of the restaurant deal saying he objected to Trump’s controversial comments he believed were insulting to illegal immigrants, particularly Hispanics. Trump sued him for breach of contract last August.
Trump’s lawyers argued last month that he delegated authority for leasing space in the hotel to his children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka. They said Trump had no unique knowledge about the lawsuit. A deposition would be inconvenient, burdensome, and duplicative for Trump, his attorneys wrote in court filings.
The Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman attorneys for Zakarian said Trump’s personal association with the hotel meant he was an essential witness.
Only Mr. Trump made the statements that that led to this lawsuit; only Mr. Trump knows why he made those statements and what he meant by them; and only Mr. Trump knows whether he considered their impact on CZ-National’s rights under the sublease, Pillsbury partner Deborah Baum wrote.
Judge Holeman also ordered that Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump should sit for depositions.
The case is Trump Old Post Office v. CZ-National.