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United States

Trump deposed in civil lawsuit involving chef José Andrés

Donald Trump is in a legal battle with the celebrity chef who pulled out of a plan to open a restaurant at a Trump hotel due to remarks about Mexicans made by the president-elect in 2015.
6 Ene 2017 – 11:34 AM EST
President Barack Obama smiles with chef Jose Andres, after awarding the chef with a "Outstanding American by Choice" award during a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians, Friday, July 4, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Crédito: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

President-elect Donald Trump was deposed Thursday by lawyers in a civil lawsuit with celebrity chef José Andrés related to the president-elect's newly-opened luxury hotel in Washington, D.C., his spokeswoman Hope Hicks has confirmed, according to several media sources.

The videotaped deposition took place at Trump Tower in New York and lasted 90 minutes.

In August 2015 Trump filed a $10 million civil lawsuit for breach of contract against Andrés' restaurant group, Think Food Group. Andrés pulled out of a plan to open an upscale restaurant at the hotel after then-candidate Trump disparaged Mexican immigrants during a campaign launch speech.

Think Food Group countersued for $8 million, arguing that Trump's comments hurt Andrés' core business.

"The perception that Mr. Trump's statements were anti-Hispanic made it very difficult to recruit appropriate staff for a Hispanic restaurant, to attract the requisite number of Hispanic food patrons for a profitable enterprise, and to raise capital for what was now an extraordinarily risky Spanish restaurant," Think Food Group stated.

Trump's lawyers had tried to avoid the deposition, arguing the president-elect was too busy. But last week the judge in the case ordered Trump to sit for the deposition before the end of this week.

"The deposition was completed earlier today and lasted just over one hour as the case is fairly straightforward," Trump attorney Alan Garten said in a statement, according to media reports.

Andrés has sought to settle the suit amicably. On Thursday morning he tweeted his latest offer to Trump, suggesting they donate to charity.

"Mr. Peotus @realDonaldTrump if you are awake, let's resolve this in a friendly way. We donate $ to a charity, ..? Is a great deal!" he wrote.

Andrés is the owner of popular Washington tapas restaurant Jaleo, and in September became the first chef to receive a National Humanities Medal in a White House ceremony. President Barack Obama also named him a Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization.

He endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign.

Trump boasts that he does not settle lawsuits, though he has a history of doing so, including a recent fraud case against Trump University in which he agreed to pay $25 million.