Trump's lawyers ask to delay Trump U. fraud trial until after inauguration

Lawyers for President-elect Donald Trump have asked to postpone the fraud trial related to Trump University from Nov. 28 until after the presidential inauguration.

Bebeto Matthews/AP/File
Then-reality TV star Donald Trump listens as Michael Sexton introduces him at the May 2005 press conference in New York where he would announce the establishment of Trump University.

Donald Trump’s lawyers are pushing to delay a class-action suit against him and his defunct for-profit university until after the president-elect is inaugurated on Jan. 20, a move plaintiffs are adamantly trying to block.

The motion, filed Saturday in San Diego federal court, argues that preparing to testify and appearing in court would distract Mr. Trump from his responsibilities leading up to taking over the presidency, and encourages the court to accept recorded depositions of Trump rather than an actual court appearance.

"The President-Elect should not be required to stand trial during the next two months while he prepares to assume the Presidency. The time and attention to prepare and testify will take him away from imperative transition work at a critical time," wrote Trump attorneys Daniel Petrocelli, David Marroso, and David Kirman. "We acknowledge plaintiffs have a right to trial of their claims, but their rights will not be abridged if trial were continued to a date after the inauguration to allow the President-Elect to devote all his time and attention to the transition process."

Former students of the for-profit real estate university allege that Trump University misled and defrauded them, falsely advertising its offerings, and attached hefty price tags. Trump’s attorneys have continuously tried to get the case, or statements, delayed or thrown out of court, but so far, the trial remains slated to begin on Nov. 28.

Concerns about Trump’s readiness to transition to the White House have increasingly emerged since the president-elect met with President Obama last Thursday. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, Trump and his team seemed initially overwhelmed by what the process would entail.  

“During their private White House meeting on Thursday, Mr. Obama walked his successor through the duties of running the country, and Mr. Trump seemed surprised by the scope, said people familiar with the meeting. Trump aides were described by those people as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term.

After meeting with Mr. Trump, the only person to be elected president without having held a government or military position, Mr. Obama realized the Republican needs more guidance. He plans to spend more time with his successor than presidents typically do, people familiar with the matter said.”

While Trump’s lawyers say that they aren’t proposing postponing the now more than 6-year-old case until after the real estate mogul leaves office, they did cite past instances in which sitting presidents received accommodations from the courts that likely would not fall to other citizens: In 1990, President Ronald Reagan was allowed to give a video deposition in regard to the Iran-Contra-related trial of John Poindexter, who was national security adviser. Six years later, President Bill Clinton was granted a similar option when two of his business partners were put on trial for the Whitewater land deal, Politico reported.

Earlier this month, Trump’s lawyers sought to bar the use of his campaign trail rhetoric, including tweets, speeches, and advertisements, from entering the courtroom as evidence. Judge Gonzalo Curiel tentatively rejected that bid last week. He also said he may allow a video testimony from Trump, but encouraged the two sides to explore a settlement before resorting to a trial.

"It would be wise for the plaintiffs, for the defendants, to look closely at trying to resolve this case given all else that’s involved,” Judge Curiel said.

This report contains material from the Associated Press and Reuters.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.