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Federal court grants shutdown-related delay in Maryland's emoluments lawsuit against President Donald Trump

Because of the federal government shutdown, a court has agreed to postpone proceedings in an emoluments clause lawsuit brought against President Donald Trump by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Counsel for the Department of Justice asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday to postpone proceedings in light of the shutdown.

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The shutdown began Dec. 22 and suspends funding for some federal employees’ paychecks. The shutdown comes amid disagreement in Congress over money for Trump’s request for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In documents filed with the appeals court, attorneys with the Justice Department’s civil division wrote they are prohibited from working, except in emergencies, until the shutdown ends and Congress restores funding to their agency.

The state of Maryland and the district didn’t object to the motion, and the appeals court Wednesday agreed to suspend the filing of briefs in the case until the shutdown ends.

The lawsuit alleges Trump violated a constitutional prohibition on profiting from his post by doing business with foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and district Attorney General Karl Racine filed the case in 2017. They argue Trump’s ownership of a business that accepts money from foreign governments violates the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause. The framers of the U.S. Constitution adopted the clause out of concern that foreign heads of state could exert influence over the president or other federal officials.

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