Will Trump University Trial Derail The GOP Presidential Front-Runner’s Campaign?

A New York judge ruled on Tuesday that the fraud lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general against Trump University will be going to trial.

The supposed trial could potentially require the Republican presidential front-runner to take the stand. Justice Cynthia Kern denied Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s request for a summary judgment regarding the alleged $40 million fraud committed by Trump University.

One of the Trump’s lawyers, Jeffrey Goldman, who has been calling for a jury trial, said that they expect to win, noting that they will be getting a fair hearing with a jury present. The trial is said to come as early as fall, and it could have the real estate mogul inside the courtroom in the middle of his presidential campaign.

The instance of a fraud trial taking place with the involvement of a presidential candidate is said to be highly unusual.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement, “We believe that Mr. Trump and [co-defendant and former Trump University President Michael Sexton] will be essential witnesses at trial.” He also said that he’s very pleased with the judge’s decision as victims of the Republican presidential candidate have been “waiting years for relief from his fraud.”

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against the now- non-operational Trump University in 2013 on behalf of the students who enrolled in the school’s program. The attorney general claims that Trump used his celebrity status to persuade people to enroll in the university, but the school failed to deliver on their promises.

Trump University reportedly defrauded more than 5,000 students in New York. Accordingly, the school coined itself as a real estate school and charged students as much as $35,000 without any proper licensing.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants Donald Trump and the organization to pay back the 5,000 students who enlisted in the university’s courses. The students reportedly invested the money to participate in “live seminars and mentorship programs,” which promised to teach the candidate’s real estate investment techniques.

The attorney general also claims that the university deceived students into thinking that the school was a legally charted university. Back in 2010, a cease and desist letter from New York was given to the organization, resulting in Trump University changing its name to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. A year later, the organization stopped its operations.

Donald Trump has denied wrongdoings regarding the matter. He launched the website 98percentapproval.com to discuss the positive evaluations given by students about Trump University. The website also claimed that the university had an A-rating the from Better Business Bureau. However, it was fact-checked that Better Business Bureau’s ratings ranged from A+ to D- due to complaints from other students.

Many of the former students of the Trump University said that they were coerced into giving positive reviews.

Trump disputed the claims by saying, “Do you mean 10,000 of them? All of those people who wrote those letters? Those are glowing letters. In many cases, we have tapes of them, and films of them. We have a tremendous approval rate from the people who took the courses and I think we’ll win that in court.”

Trump continued to claim that some of the customers just wanted to get their money back. He noted that he finds it very sad that people would turn to courts to get what they want.

A separate and pending lawsuit was also filed in California against Trump University. It was filed back in 2010 by former students claiming that they were defrauded and that the organization made false promises about helping them achieve financial success.

[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]