Ethics lawyers to sue Trump over foreign payments

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Jan 22 (Reuters) - A group including former White House ethics attorneys will file a lawsuit on Monday accusing President Donald Trump of allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Deepak Gupta, a Supreme Court litigator working on the case, said the lawsuit would allege that the Constitution's emoluments clause forbids payments to Trump's businesses. It will seek a court order forbidding Trump from accepting such payments, he said.

The case, reported earlier by the New York Times, is part of a wave of litigation expected to be filed against Trump by liberal advocacy groups. It will be filed in a Manhattan federal court, Gupta said, and plaintiffs will include Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in Republican President George W. Bush's White House.

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Donald Trump's first day as president
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Donald Trump's first day as president

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (2nd R) gives U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R) the document to confirming James Mattis his Secretary of Defense, his first signing in the Oval Office in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

President Donald Trump turns to House Speaker Paul Ryan as he is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2017.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus look on at the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2017.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, as he is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family while he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. From left are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family, rear, wife Melania Trump, son Barron Trump, as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

President Donald Trump prepares to sign a confirmation for Defense Secretary James Mattis as his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) points to the order while Vice President Mike Pence watches January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

President Donald Trump signs his first executive order as president, ordering federal agencies to ease the burden of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

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A Trump spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Trump's son Eric Trump, an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, told the Times on Sunday that the company had taken more steps than required by law to avoid any possible legal exposure, such as agreeing to donate any profits collected at Trump-owned hotels that come from foreign government guests to the U.S. Treasury.

"This is purely harassment for political gain," Trump told the newspaper. (Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Peter Cooney)

RELATED: Poll - Trump's conflicts of interest

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