By Tom Porter US News Reporter
- A judge allowed lawyers to view unseen “Celebrity Apprentice” footage, The Daily Beast reported.
- The lawyers represent investors accusing the Trump family of promoting a multilevel-marketing firm.
- They say they invested per the advice of Trump and his children and lost thousands of dollars.
A group of attorneys representing investors suing Donald Trump and his children are allowed to view previously unseen footage from “Celebrity Apprentice,” a New York federal judge ruled this week.
In a ruling Tuesday, obtained first by The Daily Beast, US District Judge Lorna G. Schofield ordered that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that owns the footage, should make the tapes available for the attorneys to view at a secure location. MGM had resisted releasing the footage to be viewed by the attorneys.
The order related to a lawsuit filed in 2018 by four plaintiffs who alleged that Trump and his children Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump used their celebrity status to promote American Communications Network, a company accused of running a multilevel-marketing scam.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs are most likely seeking evidence in the clips of what the Trumps knew or believed about ACN.
The plaintiffs said the investment cost them thousands of dollars, with one saying she invested $4,600 into the company but made just $38 in revenue off of it, as Insider’s Yelena Dzhanova reported last year.
They claimed that promotion of the company by members of the Trump family on “Celebrity Apprentice” and in other statements led them to falsely believe the company was credible and to invest money in it.
Trump hosted the hit reality show “The Apprentice” and its celebrity contestant spin-off, “Celebrity Apprentice,” before launching his political career, and his three eldest children would frequently appear as guests and judges.
The plaintiffs say the Trump family was paid millions by ACN to promote the company and failed to perform due-diligence checks on how it operated.
The company charged people $499 to sell cellphones and other products that the plaintiffs said secured only a minimal income. The company has denied accusations that it’s a pyramid scheme.
The case has been mired in delays, and the Trump family in June unsuccessfully sought to move the case from a class-action lawsuit into arbitration, a legal maneuver that would have meant evidence was shielded from the public, Reuters reported.
In analysis of Trump’s tax statements published last year, The New York Times found that he had been paid $8.8 million by ACN from 2005 to 2015.
Last year, the Trump Organization told Insider the lawsuitwas a politically motivated attack on Trump, who served one term as president after his election in 2016.
The ACN cofounder Robert Stevanovski told Insider last year that the company had told investors Trump had been paid for promoting ACN.
Legal representatives for the Trump family, ACN, and the plaintiffs did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.