Litman:Trump’s candidacy complicates a potential criminal case against him, but it can’t protect him from a civil suit filed by a former business associate
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has long been accused of sexual misconduct and may be a target of a criminal investigation for the sexual contact and harassment of several women. But if his campaign is investigated for his actions during the 1990s, in which he has said he engaged in physical, sexual and verbal aggressive behavior with women, Trump could face a civil lawsuit from a business partner accused of using improper influence to help the now-successful businessman win a $20 million contract from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Donald Trump has been accused of groping women on the sets of The Apprentice and other television programs. NBC/Getty Images
In the end, civil litigation is what comes next, and Trump’s team may try to fight the suit to the bitter end, potentially causing legal experts to call it the “Trump case” or the “Trump case against Trump.”
But now the question has become one of whether Trump himself could be charged and convicted on criminal charges in the event that allegations of sexual misconduct are proven, according to an opinion from a senior Justice Department official who participated in a conference call with reporters on Monday about the issue.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division conducted a criminal investigation into the allegations against Trump, but then decided not to pursue charges against him in 2014. A spokesman for the division’s Office of the Inspector General said Trump’s accusers made allegations that could not be investigated by that office and that the office had no record of a civil complaint being filed against Trump for the same alleged conduct.
Trump’s campaign, in response to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility’s review of the matter, said, “President Trump takes these matters very seriously and, as a result, has engaged in the necessary due diligence to assure the safety of any potential victims.”
“I believe, 100 percent, the facts will show me to have had very few complaints filed with the EEOC, and it is the most ridiculous allegation I’ve ever heard,” Trump said at a news conference on Monday. “