Trump University asks for trial delay until after inauguration

Trump's lawyer is arguing that the president-elect needs to devote all his time to the White House transition. Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the lawsuit, is reluctant to delay the six-year-old case. 

Bebeto Matthews/AP/File
In this May 23, 2005 file photo, then real estate mogul and Reality TV star Donald Trump, left, listens as Michael Sexton introduces him at a news conference in New York where he announced the establishment of Trump University. Trump is scheduled to go on trial this month in a class-action lawsuit against him and his now-defunct Trump University, potentially taking the witness stand weeks before his inauguration as president of the United States.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has requested that a trial over a lawsuit by former students of his now-defunct Trump University be put on hold until after the presidential inauguration, according to a motion filed by his lawyer late Saturday.

A trial in federal court in San Diego over former Trump University students' claims that they were defrauded by a series of real-estate seminars is scheduled to begin on Nov. 28, but Trump lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said the president-elect needs to "devote all of his time and attention to the transition process."

Mr. Trump is due to assume office on Jan. 20, 2017.

"The 69 days until inauguration are critical and all-consuming," Mr. Petrocelli said in the filing, arguing that the president-elect should not be required to stand trial during that time.

Petrocelli had said at a hearing in San Diego on Thursday that he would request the delay, though U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the lawsuit, told lawyers he was not inclined to put off the six-year-old case further and encouraged the parties to settle.

The lawsuit involves students who claim they were lured by false promises to pay up to $35,000 to learn Trump's real estate investing "secrets" from his "hand-picked" instructors.

Trump owned 92 percent of Trump University and had control over all major decisions, the students' court papers say. The president-elect denies the allegations and has argued that he relied on others to manage the business.

Judge Curiel also tentatively rejected last week a bid by the president-elect to keep a wide range of statements from the presidential campaign, which included attacks against Curiel himself, out of the fraud trial.

Trump attacked the judge as biased against him. He claimed Curiel, who was born in Indiana but is of Mexican descent, could not be impartial because of Trump's election campaign pledge to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Trump's lawyers have argued that Curiel should bar from the trial accusations about Trump's personal conduct including alleged sexual misconduct, his taxes and corporate bankruptcies, along with speeches and tweets.

Curiel is presiding over two cases against Trump and the university. A separate lawsuit by New York's attorney general is pending.

While presidents enjoy immunity from lawsuits arising from their official duties, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that this shield does not extend to acts alleged to have taken place prior to taking office. (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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.