in seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit by Diane Gross and Khalid
Pitts, said the president cannot be forced to close or divest
the Trump International Hotel, located in the Old Post Office
building on Pennsylvania Avenue, or else resign his office.
The doctrine of absolute immunity "ensures that the President
can focus on carrying out the obligations of his Office without
the distraction of virtually limitless litigation whose costs he
would personally bear," Trump's lawyers said in a court filing.
"That doctrine forecloses this lawsuit."
Mark Zaid, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, disagreed.
"This lawsuit is against Donald J. Trump, not President Trump,
and the cloak of immunity does not attach to his private,
personal financial dealings," Zaid said in an email.
The lawsuit is one of many targeting Trump's alleged failure to
distance himself from his business empire while in office.
Trump has ceded day-to-day control over his businesses to his
sons Eric and Donald Jr.
Gross and Pitts, who are married, said their wine bar has lost
business because the Trump hotel and its restaurants have an
unfair advantage. They said the advantage stems from the hotel's
association with the president and an expectation it will
attract diplomats, lobbyists and politicians hoping to curry
favor with him.
In a separate request to dismiss the lawsuit, the hotel's
operator defended its use of Trump's name.
"Financial success does not become unlawful simply because it is
aided by prominence," the hotel operator said.
The Trump International Hotel opened in September, before Trump
was elected. It is located roughly 0.7 mile southeast of the
White House and 1.5 miles south of the wine bar, which is near
Cork said it has hosted events for White House officials,
Congressional lawmakers, the World Bank, NARAL Pro-Choice
America and the Sierra Club, among others. Open since 2008, it
offers more than 50 wines by the glass, typically for $8 to $15,
and in March was named one of the best U.S. wine bars by Food &
Last month, the Trump Organization settled separate lawsuits
with celebrity chefs Jose Andres and Geoffrey Zakarian, who had
backed out of agreements to open restaurants in the Trump hotel.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie
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