Trump hotel lawsuit at impasse, headed to trial

Trump to be deposed in lawsuit against chef
Trump to be deposed in lawsuit against chef

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Story highlights

  • Trump is expected to sit for a seven-hour deposition in a related case as soon as this week
  • The judge set a pretrial conference date for May 17

Washington (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump and chef Geoffrey Zakarian are at an impasse in settlement talks regarding their lawsuit over Zakarian's cancellation of a restaurant at the Trump Hotel and told a judge Tuesday they are ready to set a trial date.

Attorneys for Trump and Zakarian appeared in DC Superior Court Tuesday afternoon for a status hearing to update the judge on where things stand in the lawsuit.
The attorney for Trump explained that the parties have continued to engaged in settlement discussions, but currently are at an impasse and ready to set a trial date. The judge asked whether the parties would benefit from a new mediator in the case, but the attorneys declined.
    The judge set a pretrial conference date for May 17.
    Trump is expected to sit for a seven-hour deposition in a related case with chef Jose Andrés before he takes office, as soon as this week. Trump requested that the deposition take place in New York.
    Should the Zakarian trial proceed, it will create a legal spectacle for the new President. Zakarian and Andrés pulled out of agreements to open restaurants in Trump's Washington hotel following Trump's 2015 reference to some Mexican immigrants as "rapists." Trump sued the chefs separately for breach of contract, seeking more than $10 million in damages apiece, and they countersued.
    Attorneys in the Zakarian case previewed in court Tuesday that much of the expert testimony in the case will address Trump's claims of future lost profits from the restaurant deal, as well as what he did to mitigate the loss.
    CORRECTION: This story has been updated to make it clear that Zakarian canceled the restaurant.