Yesterday, the president-elect took time out of his busy schedule tweeting about Apprentice ratings and Jackie Evancho’s album sales to sit for that long-awaited deposition in the ongoing legal battle with chef José Andrés, who the Trump Organization argues owes them $10 million for ditching his planned restaurant in the D.C.’s new Trump International Hotel. Reports say Trump was the Andrés’s legal team’s captive for about 90 minutes.
Trump’s lawyers viewed any length of time as a loss, though. They tried weaseling him out of what’s a very standard civil procedure by claiming their client was “extremely busy handling matters of very significant public importance.” That line of argument didn’t impress the judge very much. He told Think Food Group’s attorneys they could have up to seven hours of the president-elect’s undivided attention, although he did agree to move the deposition from D.C. to a room in Trump Tower.
The case remains months away from trial, but the Trump team already wants people to quit writing about the whole mess. Politico reports that soon-to-be press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the president-elect’s schedule for Thursday just involved “meetings with members of his staff.” Asked if Trump was maybe sitting for a deposition in an active lawsuit as well, Spicer said: “Let me take a look at his schedule today, and I’ll get back to you on that.”
Like with the identical breach-of-contract lawsuit filed against fellow ex–Trump Hotel partner Geoffrey Zakarian, settlement talks between Andrés’s and Trump’s teams have gone nowhere after over a year, though the evidence suggests Andrés, who’s countersuing, was probably not the one refusing to negotiate:
As NPR points out, legal experts have also raised the question of whether Trump can even run a hotel out of the Old Post Office now that he’s president. The federal government is technically the landlord, and he just leases the building. The contract contains a clause that reads: “No member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”