New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood sued the foundation and its directors ― President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump ― in June. The suit alleged that the foundation ― which characterizes itself as a charitable organization ― was “little more than an empty shell” and that Trump used the funds like a personal bank account, violating tax laws.
Underwood announced Friday on Twitter that Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan denied the request of Trump’s attorneys to dismiss the suit.
In her decision, Scarpulla addressed arguments made by Trump’s attorneys. She noted that, although his attorneys had argued that a “sitting president may not be sued,” they had “failed to cite a single case” in which a court dismissed a suit against a president based on “unofficial acts” ― in other words, actions not taken in his capacity as president.
His attorneys had also argued that state courts do not have jurisdiction over the president, The Hill notes. But Scarpulla wrote that rule also does not apply to actions taken by Trump outside of his capacity as president.
Underwood welcomed the dismissal.
“The Trump Foundation functioned as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” she said on Twitter. “There are rules that govern private foundations, and we intend to enforce them — no matter who runs the foundation.”
The lawsuit alleges numerous violations, including using the charity’s funds to finance Trump’s political campaign (an illegal campaign donation) and benefit Trump’s for-profit businesses (a violation of laws against self-dealing).
President Trump lashed out in a tweet when the suit was first filed, calling it the work of “sleazy New York Democrats” and declaring, “I won’t settle this case!”
This article has been updated with information on the judge’s decision.