Attorneys in Trump University lawsuit bicker over trial
THE attorneys representing plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Donald Trump’s now-defunct university have denounced a request by the president-elect’s lawyers to delay the trial and excuse him from testifying in person.
In a motion filed in San Diego’s federal court, the attorneys said a request made at the weekend for the November 28 trial to be delayed until after the inauguration in January was no more than a tactic to postpone the case indefinitely.
“Each of defendants’ ‘modest’ requests to delay this trial has been just a prelude to another request,” attorney Jason Forge said.
He added that the plaintiffs in the six-year-old lawsuit, one of whom is nearly 75 years old, “cannot afford any further delays”.
“This trial, like so many Trump University student-victims’ credit card bills, is past due,” he wrote.
Mr Forge also rejected a request by Mr Trump’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli that the president-elect be excused from testifying live or in person at the trial.
The class action suit alleges that Trump University fleeced students by tricking them with aggressive marketing that amounted to fraud.
Students paid as much as US$35,000 to enrol, believing they would make it big in real estate after being taught by experts handpicked by Mr Trump, the suit says.
Mr Petrocelli said his client was willing to be questioned in a videotaped deposition that could be played during the trial.
Mr Forge, however, said there was no need for Mr Trump to be questioned any further in the case given that he has already provided more than 10 hours of video-recorded sworn testimony.
He noted that if, as Mr Petrocelli said, Mr Trump was available to provide additional videotaped testimony before the trial starts, there was no reason he could not take the stand in person.
Mr Petrocelli, however, insisted in a response motion that a continuance was necessary “to allow the president-elect to focus on the enormous responsibility of transitioning to the most demanding and important office in our government”.
The lawyer indicated during a hearing last week that he was open to settling the matter out of court.
US district judge Gonzalo Curiel told both sides that another judge had offered to step in and work with them on a possible settlement.
Mr Trump repeatedly hit out against the Indiana-born Mr Curiel during his run for the White House.
He claimed that the jurist’s Mexican heritage would stand in the way of a fair trial given Mr Trump’s controversial stand on illegal immigration and his vow to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. –
Hundreds of students from East Los Angeles high schools rally at Grand Park, across from City Hall, on day six of nationwide protests against President-elect Donald Trump on November 14.