Donald Trump is set to face trial on January 29 for allegedly misleading investors about a videophone product, amidst a series of legal challenges.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan, New York, in 2018, accuses the former president of receiving undisclosed payments to endorse and promote ACN’s videophone, a technology that was quickly becoming obsolete due to advancements in smartphones and video chat features.
Trump, who also faces other civil and criminal trials, allegedly used his reality show, Celebrity Apprentice, to push the ACN videophone, claiming it was doing “half-a-billion dollars’ worth of sales a year.” However, the lawsuit states these assertions were false, and Trump had neither experienced the opportunity nor conducted any research, contrary to his claims of not receiving money for the endorsement.
ACN’s videophone, described as a desktop, wired telephone with a video screen, webcam, handset, and keypad, was only compatible with other ACN phones and subscriptions. The product was deemed doomed from the outset, with Trump and ACN facing criticism for promoting a product that could not compete with emerging smartphone technologies.
In a twist, Trump’s three adult children – Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Jr. – were initially part of the lawsuit but were later dropped from the case. This decision followed their depositions, which attorney Roberta Kaplan stated made it clear that Trump was the “architect, principal actor, and largest beneficiary of the fraudulent scheme.”
Apart from this lawsuit, Trump is embroiled in numerous other legal battles, including 91 criminal charges that might affect his chances in the 2024 presidential race. He is also being sued for defamation by journalist E. Jean Carroll in two separate cases and faces a fraud case by New York Attorney General Letitia James.