By Andre Grant
Donald J. Trump will soon be the U.S. president. With him comes baggage. Namely, 75 pending lawsuits—the most ever carried carried by an incoming president—a number unprecedented in the history of the office. Mr. Trump has been deliriously litigious over the course of his career. He revels in the stuff, famously threatening to sue Graydon Carter and Spy magazine for calling him a “short-fingered vulgarian.” This description discretely found its way into the primaries and debates, though not even Mr. Trump’s stubby digits could prevent his ascent to the highest office in the land.
As we approach the inauguration, we wanted to remind everyone what awaits them once Mr. Trump is the ruler of the free world. Let’s get to the calm before the proverbial storm.
Donald Trump v. Bill Maher
Before he was letting his fingers do his Twitter talking, he was lashing out at people in real life. This time, it was at Bill Maher, who did the entire world a favor when he jokingly put up $5 million if Trump could prove that he was not fathered by an orangutan. Trump was not amused. Even after Trump put up the same set of stacks for charity if President Barack Obama would produce his birth certificate, he still could not see the folly of his ways. Ever the literalist, Trump did indeed provide his proof of humanity (still waiting on those tax returns, though), and when Bill Maher didn’t wire him the money immediately, he sued him. Of the lawsuit, Mr. Trump had this to say to The Atlantic writer William Cohan “He has not responded, and the reason he hasn't responded is his lawyers probably tell him, 'You've got yourself a problem.’”
New York (and others) v. Trump University
In 2013, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman sued Trump University. The school's students did too, in two class-action lawsuits with two claims in San Diego. The first claim was that Trump defrauded each student $35,000. The second claim was that he fibbed about what they would learn. The successful businessman knew he had a time bomb on his hands. If he let the case go forward, it could blow up in his face and the American people could watch a potential sitting president get dressed down on the witness stand. It might also allow the Senate to bring impeachment proceedings against him.
There were many groups lobbying to unseal the records Trump had for his many settlements, including proceedings related to his 1993 divorce. Trump took evasive action, reversed course, and settled out of court for $25 million. The maneuver both saved face and a avoided a lengthy and embarrassing legal battle that promised to unveil much more than shady recruiters and inept teachers at Trump U.
Franklin v. Trump
According to the Daily Caller, the hand scribbled lawsuit by Mr. Eric D. Franklin called for Mr. Trump to be “hung by the neck until dead” for failing to deport illegal aliens in violation of the 5th, 9th, and 14th Amendments. He also called for his head for “fail(ing) to mention the fact that his wife is a born Communist from Russia and not entitled to live in the White House”—a bizarre lawsuit that may just be a sign of things to come. That same Trump supporter sued President-elect Donald Trump for not repealing Obamacare, among other things.
To help ease his pain, not only was he asking for Mr. Trump’s life, but also for $1 trillion.
Department of Justice v. Trump
The year is 1963 and a young woman walks into the Wilshire Apartments in the Jamaica Estates section of Queens, New York. She fills out a rental application—described as a “beautiful application” by rental agent Stanley Leibowitz. She doesn’t even want to see the place, says The New York Times. But there’s one problem—she’s black.
Leibowitz hurries to his boss, Fred C. Trump, and asks him what to do. The elder Trump tells him, “Take the application and put it in a drawer and leave it there.” Ten years later the Department of Justice would launch an investigation that would culminate in the agency suing the company, with Donald and his father Fred brought in as defendants.
Donald Trump does not back down, flatly denying the accusations, then slinging ones of his own—like, for example, that the government was forcing him to sell to “welfare recipients.” The front pages were replete with character assassinations of all kinds. It was foreshadowing at its finest. In the end, Trump declared victory, claiming that the consent decree he ended up signing did not include an admission of guilt. Of course, that would be the first of many discrimination cases to come.
Sexual Assault Victim v. Trump
Donald Trump was sued by a woman that claims he raped her when she was 13 years old. The lawsuit named Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump as defendants. Epstein went to prison for 13 months and had to register as a sex offender after he was convicted of soliciting underage girls to have sex with him near his home in Palm Beach, Florida. In a New York magazine profile, Trump said of Epstein, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy.’’
This case has been met with several false starts. The original case was filed in Riverside, California, by someone under the name Katie Johnson, without an attorney. The suit alleged that both Epstein and Trump kept the then-13-year-old girl as a “sex slave,” forcing her to engage in sexual acts against her will. That case was dismissed after a U.S. district court judge ruled that the complaint didn’t hold up under federal law.
Then, second and third cases were filed—both anonymously—and now singled out a single sexual act allegedly perpetrated on the plaintiff by Donald Trump. A press conference was set to be held, but the alleged victim backed out, claiming she had been receiving death threats from Trump supporters.
-Originally appeared at GOOD.is