Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has agreed to close down while the President fights allegations he misused its assets for business and political purposes.
The New York attorney general and Trump Foundation lawyers agreed in court on Wednesday morning (Australian time) to shut down the charity and distribute its remaining assets to other non-profit groups.
Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleged in a lawsuit last year that Mr Trump had illegally operated the foundation as an extension of his businesses and his White House campaign.
News of the closure came as sentencing in the trial of former Trump insider Michael Flynn was postponed after a stunning hearing in which the judge accused the one-time national security adviser of selling out his country.
The delay is to allow Flynn to continue cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and get credit for it in his punishment.
Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts, just days after Mr Trump was inaugurated.
Ms Underwood’s lawsuit against Mr Trump and eldest his children, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric, will continue as she seeks US$2.8 million ($3.9 million) in restitution and a 10-year ban on the Trumps running any charities.
“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Ms Underwood said in a statement.
“We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”
Mr Trump and his eldest children have yet to comment.
In June, the President indicated he was not willing to settle the case, insisting in an angry Twitter post that the foundation had done nothing wrong.
The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
Mr Trump had previously promised to dissolve the foundation and donate its funds to charity, but his lawyers said that was delayed by the attorney general’s demands to oversee the process.
Foundation officials first announced their intention to shut down more than a year ago.
The new agreement, which still needs a judge’s approval, comes weeks after a New York judge rejected arguments from the foundation’s lawyers that the case was politically motivated and should be dismissed.
Underwood’s predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, began investigating the Trump Foundation in 2016 after The Washington Post reported that some of its spending personally benefited the Trump presidential campaign.
The lawsuit accused Mr Trump of illegally using the charity’s money to settle disputes involving his business empire and to boost his political fortunes during his run for the White House.
Lawyers for the foundation have said any infractions were minor. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday’s agreement.