Well, this is embarrassing.
In what might be one of the most pathetic legal defenses ever argued in a court of law, a lawyer representing the Trump family admitted that Trump's charitable foundation spent $10,000 on a portrait of him — but only because no one else wanted it.
Trump family lawyer Alan Futerfas offered the sad account on Thursday, during oral arguments in a case brought by the New York state attorney general against the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
The state attorney general's office alleges that Trump and his three children operated the foundation "in persistent violation" of federal and state laws, including calling the organization a charity while using it as a “personal piggy bank” to fund their own excessive spending habits.
One example of this alleged misuse of funds took place in 2014, when an oil painting of Trump was put up for auction during a charity event at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.
"So Mr. Trump donates $10,000 to start the bidding, and then when the bidding goes on and no one else bids, they’re stuck with the painting," Futerfas told Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla as he argued for the case to be dismissed.
When Trump's personal charitable foundation placed the bid, it was only meant to "get the bidding started," Futerfas claimed.
But as it turned out, no one else wanted the painting, so the charity was on the hook for the $10,000 bid. And while Trump could have footed the bill himself at that point, he chose instead to bill his charitable foundation for the cost.
That's not the only time Trump has allegedly dipped into charitable funds for personal use.
The state's lawsuit says he also used money from his charity to pay off debts and legal settlements, decorate one of his golf clubs, and make donations to benefit his presidential campaign.
Now, he's trying to get the case dismissed — but his defense might just be worse than the charges.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.