Lawyer Sues Trump, Saying He'd Rather Not "I think people are afraid to put their name on a lawsuit against the president," Jeffrey Lovitky says. "There is a sense that Donald Trump can be very difficult on people who oppose him."
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Lawyer Sues Trump, Saying He'd Rather Not

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Lawyer Sues Trump, Saying He'd Rather Not

Lawyer Sues Trump, Saying He'd Rather Not

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Since President Trump took office, he's been named as a defendant in more than a hundred lawsuits. Most of them involve immigration or civil rights issues. There is one that stands apart. Here's NPR's Peter Overby.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: There are lots of big, impressive law offices in D.C. The one-room setup of Jeffrey Lovitky isn't among them.

This is the law firm?

JEFFREY LOVITKY: (Laughter).

OVERBY: It's small.

He's got just enough space for a desk, a credenza, three bookcases and two chairs. I asked him about his lawsuit against President Trump.

You know, what's the point?

LOVITKY: Well - so we're in a situation now that is unprecedented.

OVERBY: Unprecedented because Donald Trump is president...

LOVITKY: The man who's making the most critical decisions that will affect our country for years to come.

OVERBY: ...While Trump also holds on to ownership of his international business empire.

LOVITKY: And we need to know as much about his financial situation as we can.

OVERBY: As a candidate, Trump had to disclose his personal finances. That includes personal liabilities. Oddly, though, Trump's disclosure also lists some of his corporate liabilities. You can't tell which is which.

LOVITKY: It's very possible it was just an error. It may have been very well-intentioned even.

OVERBY: But whatever the cause, the report is confusing. And that's why Lovitky filed suit.

LOVITKY: That's all it means. It means insisting on compliance.

OVERBY: Lovitky hopes his case might establish that ordinary Americans can act to enforce the federal ethics law. Lovitky makes his living going after federal agencies on contract disputes and health care issues. He's never sued a president before. For this case, he couldn't find a plaintiff.

LOVITKY: I think people are afraid to put their name out there on a lawsuit against the president. There is a sense that Donald Trump can be very difficult on people who oppose him.

OVERBY: So now he's the plaintiff.

LOVITKY: It is intimidating. I am intimidated. I mean, I would rather not be doing this.

OVERBY: He said it's his duty.

LOVITKY: You go back to the basic premise - what is each individual's civic responsibility? What do you owe?

OVERBY: Lovitky filed his lawsuit in federal district court here in Washington. No date has been set for the White House to respond.

Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUJO'S "MEDICAL FLY")

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