July 20, 2024

Trump to face new civil trial for duping investors with failed video phone

Donald Trump is set to face another civil trial for allegedly duping investors into putting money into a failed video phone.

The trial relates to the activities of ACN Inc, a multilevel marketing firm, and is scheduled to start on 29 January, though the case might be pushed to a later date, reported Newsweek.

Four anonymous plaintiffs in the proposed class action accused Mr Trump, his children Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka, and an affiliate of the Trump Organization of promoting ACN in exchange for millions of dollars in secret payments from 2005 to 2015.

The plaintiffs said Mr Trump’s endorsement, including on episodes of his TV show The Celebrity Apprentice, conned them into thinking their investments would pay off.

ACN would charge $499 to clients to sell videophones and other goods, the plaintiffs alleged, in the lawsuit moved before Manhattan court in 2018. They said the real goal was for the Trumps to enrich themselves, including through the receipt of millions of dollars in secret payments from 2005 to 2015.

“Trump also told investors that he had ‘experienced the opportunity’ and ‘done a lot of research,’ and that his endorsement was ‘not for any money.’ Not a word of this was true,” the lawsuit reportedly states.

Earlier, the Trumps claimed they had no control over ACN, that Trump’s endorsement was simply his opinion and that the civil lawsuit – one of many they face – was politically motivated.

In May last year the plaintiffs, described as former Trump fans, voluntarily dropped the suit against the three Trump children – Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump Jr – to streamline the dispute, reported Bloomberg.

However depositions by the Trump children “made clear” that the former president “was the architect, principal actor, and largest beneficiary of the fraudulent scheme”, the plaintiffs’ lawyer Roberta Kaplan said in a statement at the time. The deposition statements by the three can still be used at trial, even as Mr Trump and his company remain defendants.

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