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A New York judge on Thursday mothballed a lawsuit over President Donald Trump's charitable foundation until a higher court rules in an unrelated case whether a sitting president can be sued in state court.

State Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla commented after hearing arguments from a Trump attorney who wants her to dismiss the lawsuit brought by New York state's Democratic attorney general.

She said she'll wait to decide whether the lawsuit proceeds after an intermediate state appeals court rules whether Trump must face a defamation lawsuit brought by a 2006 contestant on "The Apprentice."

Supreme Court Appellate Division justices did not immediately rule after hearing arguments last week on claims by ex-contestant Summer Zervos, a California restaurateur, who says Trump defamed her when he called her a liar for accusing him of unwanted kissing and groping in two 2007 incidents.

Trump's lawyers, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit or delay it until he is no longer in office, say a sitting president can't be sued in state court over conduct outside official duties.

A key question will be whether a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling forcing then-President Bill Clinton to face a federal sexual harassment lawsuit concerning an alleged encounter with an Arkansas state employee while he was governor applies to state courts as well.

Scarpulla said that if the state appeals judges decide that the Clinton ruling is "good law, then I think this case will continue."

The lawsuit alleged Trump and his foundation used his charity's money to settle business disputes and to boost his 2016 presidential campaign.

Brought against Trump and three of his children who serve as the foundation's directors, the lawsuit seeks $2.8 million in restitution and the dissolution of the foundation.

On Thursday, Scarpulla seemed sympathetic to some of the New York state arguments, but she repeatedly said she was required at this stage of the litigation to accept its claims as true.

Attorney Yael Fuchs, arguing for New York state, said the foundation "broke some of the most basic laws that apply" to charitable foundations when it took actions in 2016 at the direction and for the benefit of the Trump presidential campaign.

Representing Trump and his children, attorney Alan Futerfas said the state's claims were exaggerated and distorted. He suggested that even magnanimous steps taken by Trump for charitable purposes were being recast in a negative light.


The Supreme Court is siding with a financial adviser known for his "Buckets of Money" retirement strategy who challenged the appointment of the administrative law judge who ruled against him in a fraud case.

The justices ruled Thursday that Raymond Lucia of California is entitled to a new hearing because the judge in his case was not properly appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 6-3 decision could affect administrative law judges in other federal agencies.

But the court declined to address a larger issue raised by the Trump administration. It wanted the justices to rule that the president has broad authority to fire certain officials.

The SEC already has changed the way it appoints its judges by requiring a vote by commissioners, instead of relying on staff members.


North Carolina legislative districts are back in court again as federal judges must decide whether to accept proposed alterations by their appointed third-party expert.

A three-judge panel scheduled a hearing Friday in Greensboro to listen to why a Stanford University law professor they hired redrew boundaries the way he did. House and Senate districts drawn by Republican legislators have been in courts since 2011.

The same judicial panel previously struck down 28 districts as illegal racial gerrymanders, ultimately leading GOP legislators last summer to retool their maps. But the judges said there seemed to be lingering problems with race and constitutional violations and brought in a special master.

GOP lawyers already have said they expect to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if the judicial panel approves the professor's proposal.


A German court has ended the trial of the former chief executive of Hypo Real Estate, a commercial property lender that was nationalized after it ran into trouble in 2008, in exchange for an 18,000-euro ($21,200) payment.

Georg Funke went on trial in March, accused of manipulating the bank's balance sheets in 2007 and 2008. He denied the accusation.

News agency dpa reported that the Munich state court closed the trial Friday, finding that it had been impossible to clear up the accusations sufficiently. The statute of limitations expires next year.

It said the case would be closed in exchange for a payment to good causes. German law allows such an arrangement, meaning that the court delivers no formal verdict and the defendant effectively wins a legal stamp of innocence.


A Chinese court says a star securities trader who was arrested following last year's stock market collapse has pleaded guilty to insider trading and manipulating share prices.

The court in the eastern city of Qingdao said in a statement Tuesday that Xu Xiang and two co-defendants pleaded guilty at the start of a trial but no verdict had been issued.

Xu was arrested in November after a rapid rise in Chinese share prices collapsed. Top executives of China's biggest state-owned securities firm also were arrested in a separate case.

The court statement said Xu and his co-defendants were accused of conspiring with executives of 13 companies from 2010 to 2015 to inflate their share price and then sell.



Twin Falls attorney Robyn Brody saw victory in a close statewide race by securing a seat on the Idaho Supreme Court in Tuesday's election.

Brody beat Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie in Tuesday's election. It was the state's first high court runoff election in nearly two decades.

Brody was overwhelmingly backed by law enforcement and attorney groups, as well as had received multiple high dollar donations from across the state.

McKenzie had support from Republican-leaning groups and from most GOP lawmakers, but failed to secure the votes needed to win the spot.

The fight over the non-partisan seat was the top competitive seat in the general election. Idaho's Republican stronghold throughout the state results in just a handful of tight political races and even fewer surprises.

All three of Idaho's Republican congressional candidates secured their bids for re-election against their Democratic challengers.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson will go on to serve a tenth term, while Republican U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador will serve a fourth term. Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo was also successful in securing his fourth term in office.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump won all four of Idaho's electorate votes in Tuesday's election before becoming the nation's president-elect.

The only statewide constitutional amendment on this year's November ballot was too close to call Wednesday morning — as were many of the expected tight legislative races.

Two years ago, Idaho voters said no to amend the state constitution to allow lawmakers veto power over administrative rules submitted by the executive branch. Convinced the amendment's failure was due to uninformed voters, legislative leaders have launched an expensive new campaign this year urging the public to vote yes.



New York's attorney general can continue his legal effort to bar two former American International Group Inc. executives from the securities industry and forfeit any improperly gained profits, the state's highest court ruled Thursday.

The Court of Appeals for the second time refused to dismiss the lawsuit originally filed in 2005 by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, ruling it should go to trial.

The suit claims ex-AIG chief executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg and ex-chief financial officer Howard Smith had engaged in fraudulent reinsurance transactions to conceal from investors a deteriorating financial condition.

AIG itself resolved state charges as part of a $1.64 billion agreement with regulators in 2006. The insurance giant was bailed out by the federal government in the 2008 financial crisis.

Greenberg and Smith settled related federal Securities and Exchange Commission complaints without admitting wrongdoing in 2009.

Their attorneys challenged the state lawsuit, arguing that New York's Martin Act against securities fraud authorizes neither a permanent industry ban nor disgorgement of profits, and that releases from other settlements barred further financial forfeit.

"As we have previously stated, in an appropriate case, disgorgement may be an available 'equitable remedy distinct from restitution' under the state's anti-fraud legislation," Judge Leslie Stein wrote. "Moreover, as with the attorney general's claim for an injunction, issues of fact exist which prevent us from concluding, as a matter of law that disgorgement is unwarranted."

The court rejected another dismissal motion two years ago, concluding there was sufficient fraud evidence for trial.


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