Trump U. Fraud Trial: Why Trump's Lawyers Want Campaign Statements Excluded

By Shekhtman, Lonnie | The Christian Science Monitor, October 24, 2016 | Go to article overview

Trump U. Fraud Trial: Why Trump's Lawyers Want Campaign Statements Excluded


Shekhtman, Lonnie, The Christian Science Monitor


Donald Trump's lawyers are asking a federal judge presiding over the presidential nominee's upcoming civil trial over Trump University to bar all statements made by or about Mr. Tump during his presidential campaign.

These exclusions would include tweets, a 2005 video of him boasting about sexually assaulting women, his tax history, criticisms of his charitable foundation, and his comments about the judge presiding over the case, who is of Mexican descent.

Filed on Thursday in US District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, the request pertains to a nearly 7-year- old class-action lawsuit scheduled to begin Nov. 28, in which students at Trump University claim they were defrauded by the unaccredited school's real estate seminars. The university closed in 2010.

In the legal filing, Trump's lead attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, claims the evidence may prejudice the jury and jeopardize the fairness of the trial. Allowing even Trump's own remarks, he wrote, "carries an immediate and irreparable danger of extreme and irremediable prejudice to defendants, confusion of issues and waste of time."

"Before trial begins in this case, prospective members of the jury will have the opportunity to cast their vote for president," wrote Trump's lawyers in the filing. "It is in the ballot box where they are free to judge Mr. Trump based on all this and more."

Trump's lawyers had fought to have the lawsuit, filed in 2013, dismissed altogether. While Trump did help develop the concept and curriculum for the real estate school, they argued, his staff managed the university by the time the plaintiffs purchased seminars.

The plaintiffs in the case claim that Trump University seminars and classes were like infomercials, pressuring students to spend upwards of $35,000 on mentorships. Ultimately, they argue, the university failed to teach real estate success. …

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