New York Times
By Steve Eder
August 2, 2016
A federal lawsuit by former Trump University students against the school’s founder, Donald J. Trump, will proceed toward trial, the judge in the case ruled on Tuesday.
In a written decision, Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel rejected a motion by Mr. Trump’s lawyers to dismiss the case, concluding that the aggrieved former students had raised a genuine question about whether Mr. Trump had “knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud.”
The case, in federal court in San Diego, has been a nagging concern for Mr. Trump’s Republican campaign for the presidency, as he pushes back against claims made by former students that his school cheated them out of their tuition by using high-pressure sales tactics and deceptive claims about what they would learn.
At one point, Mr. Trump publicly denounced the rulings of Judge Curiel, who was born in Indiana, and questioned whether he would be biased because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump’s political opponents have repeatedly turned the case against him, including during the recent Democratic National Convention.
News organizations have also taken an interest, seeking to have a videotaped deposition of Mr. Trump released. Judge Curiel denied the request on Tuesday, finding that a transcript offers a “substantially accurate” representation of the proceeding. Mr. Trump’s lawyers had argued that the release of the videos could add to a “media frenzy” around the case and affect a jury.
Mr. Trump and his lawyers have long rejected the claims against the now-closed Trump University, saying they came from only a small group of unhappy students. They have cited a large number of evaluations that were filled out by students showing that they were satisfied with what they had gotten from the program, which charged up to $35,000 for its instruction packages.
In seeking to have the case dismissed, lawyers for Mr. Trump argued, among other things, that the former students had not established that Mr. Trump knowingly participated in a fraudulent scheme.
“Although today’s decision merely holds that the case should proceed to a trial, we believe the case should have been dismissed now because it has no merit,” said Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer for Mr. Trump.
The judge cited evidence that Mr. Trump had not handpicked the instructors as Trump University claimed, finding that there was a question about whether Mr. Trump’s claim of “‘integral involvement” with the school was false or misleading to prospective students.
Lawyers for the students did not return a message seeking comment on the ruling.
In May, Judge Curiel ordered the release of previously sealed documents, including testimony from former managers calling Trump University a “lie” and a “scheme.”
Trump University is the subject of two class-action lawsuits in California. A third case in New York, brought by Eric T. Schneiderman, the state’s attorney general, is also heading toward trial after a hearing on Tuesday.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com