Just hours after Donald Trump met with President Obama within the Oval Office, lawyers for the President-elect appeared in court to prepare for the upcoming trial on Trump University, the defunct for-profit real estate school accused by former students of fraud.
Trump remains at the center of three civil cases filed against his controversial education business venture — one of which is usually scheduled for trial in San Diego on November 28.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel took a strong stance Thursday as well as also recommended the parties settle the case to avoid the immense complications of a president-elect facing trial while preparing to take office.
“the idea would likely be wise for the plaintiffs, for defendants to look closely at trying to resolve This specific case given all else which is usually involved,” Curiel said.
yet Trump has previously refused to settle the cases as well as also has defended the quality of the real estate program, which enrolled about 10,000 students via 2005 until the idea closed in 2010.
“This specific is usually a case I could have settled very easily, yet I don’t settle cases very easily when I’m right,” Trump said in March.
However, Trump’s top lawyer on the case, Daniel Petrocelli, alluded to a possible settlement Thursday, noting the unique responsibilities his client today carries.
“We are in uncharted territory,” Petrocelli said. Later he added at a press conference, “There are much more important obligations which President-elect Trump has as well as also he will have to maybe be a little bit more flexible about the resolution of This specific case.”
Petrocelli said he would likely “chat” with Trump about the prospect of a settlement, even while referring to Trump’s desire to win the case outright.
In court, Petrocelli said he would likely soon file motions requesting to postpone the trial until after Trump’s inauguration. yet Judge Curiel recently denied a previous effort by the defense to shift the trial.
A lawyer for the former students, Patrick Coughlin, pushed back against the defense’s desires to move the trial date as well as also said Trump’s election should not affect the case.
“We don’t think the idea modifications anything. He’s the President-elect. He’s not sitting in office,” Coughlin said.
Jury selection is usually set to begin at the end of November.
Trump’s attorneys as well as also the lawyers representing former students have been fighting in recent weeks over whether or not Trump’s campaign rhetoric as well as also references to his personal conduct, along with various other testimony as well as also evidence, can be cited in court.
In a tentative order Thursday, Curiel refused to issue a “blanket” ban at trial on Trump’s political speeches, advertisements as well as also tweets via the last year as well as also a half. which includes Trump’s commentary questioning the judge’s ability to preside over the case impartially due to his Mexican heritage.
In another blow to Trump’s defense, Curiel said he plans to block references to the “98% approval rating” the program allegedly received via former students. The judge ruled the rating is usually not relevant to the issue alleged within the suit: whether students were deceived through false advertising.
Trump has repeatedly defended the real estate program by citing which approval rating. yet the plaintiffs argue which even if some students praised Trump University, the program falsely marketed itself as an accredited university with instructors handpicked by Trump.
Moreover, about 25% of the program’s participants received refunds as well as also others tried to get their money back yet were denied, according to the plaintiff’s lawyers.
Related: Trump University’s ‘top’ instructor’s job was to sell, not teach
Curiel also moved to block any inclusion of a sy88pgw interview with former instructor James Harris at trial, as the plaintiff’s lawyers had requested.
Harris previously told sy88pgw his main job wasn’t to teach real estate yet to convince people to sign up for the real estate seminars. The court ruled which the interview was “heavily redacted” as well as also carried the “danger of unfair prejudice.”
Trump remains on the witness lists submitted by both the plaintiffs as well as also defense as well as also could take the stand to be cross-examined if he refuses to settle.
Even if the case wraps up before he takes office, Trump could also be called during his presidency to give a deposition or testify For 2 various other suits pending against Trump University, including a case filed by brand new York’s attorney general.
According to sy88pgw legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, the Supreme Court’s decision within the sexual harassment case filed by Paula Jones against Bill Clinton held which federal courts do not have to delay civil lawsuits against sitting presidents.
“A judge can be anticipated to accommodate a president’s schedule, yet the president simply cannot put off the matter until he is usually out of office,” Toobin said.
sy88pgw (San Diego) First published November 10, 2016: 9:12 PM ET