Trump official to be deposed in 'Electric Avenue' copyright case

White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Social Media Dan Scavino delivers a pre-recorded address in Washington, U.S., August 26, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
  • Judge grants extension for Eddy Grant's attorneys to subpoena Dan Scavino
  • Scavino allegedly played role in sending tweet at issue

(Reuters) - A Manhattan judge on Monday granted a request by "Electric Avenue" musician Eddy Grant to allow his lawyers to depose former U.S. President Donald Trump's deputy chief of staff and social media director Dan Scavino in a copyright dispute over a Trump tweet that allegedly misused Grant's hit 1983 song.

Grant sued Trump and his presidential campaign in September 2020 over a video tweeted from Trump's personal Twitter account. The video, which was not made by the campaign, uses 40 seconds of "Electric Avenue" and features a high-speed Trump train contrasted with a slow-moving Joe Biden handcart.

After the defendants said they could not provide a witness from the campaign, Grant's attorneys asked the court on Saturday to extend a deadline in the case in order to subpoena Scavino for a deposition. They said Scavino "frequently authored" Trump's tweets and played a role in sending the tweet at issue.

According to Grant's filing, Trump and the campaign gave notice for the first time last week that they could not find a campaign representative, and that the campaign's corporate entity had been dissolved last October. The defendants also allegedly said that Scavino was not employed by the campaign.

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl signed off on Grant's request without comment.

The parties' attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump attorney Kenneth Caruso of Mukasey Frenchman also asked to withdraw from the case Monday. Caruso did not respond to a request for comment on the withdrawal Tuesday.

The case is Grant v. Trump, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:20-cv-07103.

For Grant: Brian Caplan, Robert Clarida and Brett Van Benthysen of Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt

For Trump: Darren Saunders of Peroff Saunders

Read more:

'Electric Avenue' singer wants Trump official deposed in lawsuit over anti-Biden tweet

Trump loses bid to escape 'Electric Avenue' copyright lawsuit

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com