Society

Judge In Trump U Case Advises Plaintiffs To Settle

| by Robert Fowler

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing two fraud lawsuits against Trump University, has advised both plaintiffs and lawyers of President-elected Donald Trump to reach a settlement as the business mogul is set to occupy the White House.

On Nov. 10, Judge Curiel rejected a request made by Trump’s lawyers to bar the president-elect’s controversial statements made on the campaign trail from the court consideration, Reuters reports.

The trial against Trump University will begin on Nov. 28. Trump lawyer Daniel Petrocelli requested that the case be delayed to accommodate the president-elect’s busy schedule while he was transitioning into the Oval Office. Judge Curiel indicated that he was against a postponement, citing that many of the plaintiffs’ were elderly and deserved the chance to see the case through.

Referencing the new development of Trump being elected President of the United States, Curiel suggested that both sides of the case reach a financial settlement.

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“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,” Curiel said.

Trump University had advertised itself as an elite business school that would provide students with an in-depth education on how to be successful in real estate like the president-elect. Former students have filed a lawsuit against the now-defunct university, charging that they had been misled and defrauded.

Ronald Schnackenberg, a former salesman for the university, testified in an affidavit that the plaintiff’s accusations were well-founded.

“While Trump University claimed it wanted to help consumers make money in real estate, in fact Trump University was only interested in selling every person the most expensive seminars they possibly could,” Schnackenberg said, according to The New Yorker.

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The former employee added “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

Court papers revealed that Trump owned 92 percent of the university and heavily weighed in on all of its major decisions. Trump has denied this and asserts that Trump University had been managed by others.

Trump lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said that he was unsure if Trump would agree to settling the case. Curiel agreed to allow the president-elect to testify in court via video.

In June, Trump had accused Curiel of being unfit to oversee the fraud case against him, stating that the Indiana-born judge had a conflict of interest based on his Mexican heritage.

“He’s a Mexican,” Trump told CNN. “We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”

Sources: CNN, The New YorkerReuters / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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