Weeks before he takes the oath of office, President-elect Donald Trump is scheduled for another kind of oath — he’s set to face lawyers’ questions during a deposition in the $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit he filed against Washington-based celebrity chef José Andrés.
In filings last week, attorneys for Trump and Andrés’s company argued over the details of the session slated to take place the first week of January. Trump wanted the deposition to take place in New York, where he lives and where his presidential transition is based, not in Washington, for security reasons. Andrés’s lawyers agreed.
But Trump’s team has other objections: The real estate executive wants to limit questioning to two hours and prohibit questions covered in a previous deposition.
“It seems dubious that the President-elect cannot be afforded adequate security in the capital of the United States, but defendants are willing to accommodate that demand,” Andrés’s attorneys wrote in a filing. “Defendants cannot, however, accept Trump LLC’s attempt to hamstring defendant’s questioning of the man who directed the bringing of this lawsuit.”
The Trump-Andrés legal battle began when the chef backed out of a deal to open a restaurant in Trump’s luxury hotel complex located in the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue. Andrés cited Trump’s derogatory comments on the campaign trail about illegal immigrants, saying they made it impossible for him to run a successful eatery. Trump promptly sued.
Trump was deposed in June in a similar lawsuit against restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian, who was also slated to run a restaurant in Trump’s Washington hotel and — like Andrés — scrapped the plan after Trump’s incendiary rhetoric created controversy. Zakarian’s case is apace, too: His attorneys on Monday set a hearing date of Jan. 3 in D.C. Superior Court.