Donald Trump, the businessman, was a litigious fellow. And Donald Trump, president-elect, will bring some of those lawsuits with him into the Oval Office. Some estimates put the number of outstanding legal cases against Trump at 75, and the soon-be-president is due in court to respond to a civil lawsuit in California before he's even sworn in.
Not all of these lawsuits have a chance of winning, so which are the most important? And which of Trump's many pending legal actions may cause him the biggest headache once he's in office?
As the Daily Beast pointed out, not all of the 75 pending cases involving Trump are legitimate, and most of the federal lawsuits were "filed against the future president along with co-defendants Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and even Walt Disney," and include claims of "kidnapping by the president-elect and his son -- members of the supposed Illuminati." Others, like those against his eponymous Trump University, could be much more serious.
Former students of Trump U. are alleging that the now-defunct real estate baron prep academy was instead an elaborate fraud. That case is slated for a hearing in San Diego on Thursday, where both sides will argue pre-trial motions. One of those at issue is whether jurors will be allowed to hear Trump's own words from the campaign trail, specifically those regarding the judge in the case. Gonzalo Curiel. Trump has accused Curiel of being biased against him based on the judge's Mexican heritage (Curiel was born in Indiana, to Mexican parents) and Trump's promise to build a wall along the southern border, paid for by Mexico. Simply seating an impartial jury, made up of 12-14 people whose minds have not yet been up on Trump, could prove difficult, if not impossible.
No Minor Issue
Even more potentially damaging is a civil lawsuit claiming Trump raped a child at a series of sex parties when she was just 13 years old. The judge in that case scheduled the first hearing for December 16, where the future president will answer allegations of "acts of rape, sexual misconduct, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, forcible touching, assault, battery," as well as emotional and physical duress. The plaintiff has remained anonymous, filing the case as "Jane Doe," and several news outlets have reported that the underlying story was initially shopping to media entities before the lawsuit was filed.
The Supreme Court has ruled that sitting presidents may still face lawsuits involving their actions before they were elected. It remains to be seen whether Trump, who is not shy about threatening suits himself or vociferously denying those filed against him, will try to settle his remaining litigation quietly.