On the first anniversary of the start of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump spent much of the day in a setting he knows well — a room full of high-priced lawyers battling out a civil lawsuit.
Trump paused his campaigning June 16 to answer questions under oath in one of his lawsuits against two celebrity chefs. He had sued Geoffrey Zakarian and José Andrés after they backed out of a restaurant deal in response to Trump’s inflammatory statements about Mexican immigrants.
The two-hour deposition was at least the third time Trump had to leave the campaign trail to be deposed by attorneys in one of his organization’s many lawsuits.
Just two weeks before Election Day, at least 75 of the 4,000-plus lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses remain open, according to an ongoing, nationwide analysis of state and federal court records by USA TODAY. Trump is running well behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in most polls — about 5 points behind in the popular vote in RealClearPolitics' rolling average of national polls. But if Trump were to win, the number of unresolved cases is unprecedented for a presidential candidate, according to political scientists and historians.
Trump faces significant open litigation tied to his businesses: angry members at his Jupiter, Fla. golf course say they were cheated out of refunds on their dues and a former employee at the same club claims she was fired after reporting sexual harassment. There’s a fraud case brought by Trump University students who say the mogul’s company ripped them off for tens of thousands in tuition for a sham real estate course.
Trump is also defending lawsuits tied to his campaign. A disgruntled GOP political consultant sued for $4 million saying Trump defamed her. Another suit, a class action, says the campaign violated consumer protection laws by sending unsolicited text messages.