Weeks before he is inaugurated president of the United States, Donald Trump will take a different oath and testify in a lawsuit tied to his Washington DC hotel. This latest deposition stems from his complaint with a restaurant group that was supposed to operate in his new hotel.
Trump developed the old post office building into a hotel just down the street from the White House and tapped Top Atrio run by José Andrés to open a restaurant. But the celebrity chef and his partners terminated the deal after he made comments in his June 2015 campaign announcement speech that were “widely perceived as anti-Hispanic.”
Trump sued Andrés for breach of contract. Both parties agreed to schedule the deposition on the first week of January in Washington. Last week, however, Trump’s attorneys protested the length of the deposition which could reach up to seven hours as well as the questions that would overlap with a previous deposition.
Mr. @realDonaldTrump can we end our lawsuits and we donate $ to a Veterans NGO to celebrate? Why keep litigating? Let’s both of us win..
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) December 13, 2016
The lawyers also objected to the location and now prefer that it be held at Trump Tower in New York, citing “security reasons” as well as cost and convenience for the president-elect. The restaurant group agreed to the transfer of location but disagreed with the time and topic limits.
“It seems dubious that the President-elect cannot be afforded adequate security in the capital of the United States, but Defendants are willing to accommodate that demand,” Andrés’ attorneys wrote the judge. “Defendants cannot, however, accept Trump LLC’s attempt to hamstring Defendants’ questioning of the man who directed the bringing of this lawsuit.”
But for Trump’s general counsel Alan Garten, the deposition is unnecessary. “We don’t think there’s any factual dispute that requires the President-elect’s testimony, so we think it’s unneeded,” he said. “So we asked for there to be some reasonable limits. We don’t think it’s necessary, the issues that concern the President-elect are statements he made at the commencement of the campaign. There’s no dispute about them. So we don’t see what a deposition would accomplish.”