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Judge refuses to halt class-action suit accusing Trump of promoting pyramid scheme

A federal judge in Manhattan on Monday refused to halt a lawsuit against President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE and his family alleging that they promoted a pyramid scheme.

Judge Lorna G. Schofield denied the Trump family’s request for a stay while they appeal an earlier ruling that allowed the lawsuit to move forward.

Schofield, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President Obama, wrote in an opinion that the Trumps had failed to show a likelihood of success in the appeals court.

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The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2018 by four anonymous plaintiffs alleging that Trump, his three eldest children and the family company had promoted a multilevel marketing company called American Communications Network (ACN) in exchange for millions of dollars in secret payments.

The plaintiffs alleged that Trump’s endorsement convinced them to invest hundreds of dollars to participate in ACN’s business that they never recouped.

“We intend to promptly move the Second Circuit for a stay pending appeal,” Trump’s attorney, Joanna Hendon, told The Hill.

The president’s legal team has argued that the plaintiffs lack legal ground to bring the suit because the Trump family had no control over ACN. They sought to have the case moved to arbitration, which would largely shield it from public view, but Schofield denied the motion, and her decision is now being appealed.

Updated at 11:02 a.m.