Donald Trump just got some bad news involving the Trump University lawsuits dogging his campaign and life. A judge who is overseeing the proceedings has ruled that certain sections of internal Trump University documents must be released as part of the case. Trump University was a closed real estate education program endorsed by Donald Trump, and many of the “students” involved have been far from satisfied with the education they received. Many (enough to quantify two class action lawsuits out of California) say that they were defrauded by the program; in addition to those lawsuits, the New York attorney general has filed a separate lawsuit against Donald Trump and Trump University.
Among the documents ordered by the judge to be released are “playbooks,” which outline the general operations of the Trump University enterprise. The playbooks, including some from 2009 and 2010, describe in great detail how Trump University worked, how Trump University events were orchestrated, and how programs were sold to customers, reports CNN.
Between 2005 and 2010, Trump University enrolled about 10,000 students across the United States in classes. Trump University promised those students success in real estate via courses and seminars based on the “principles” of Donald Trump himself.
Left, Trump in Art of the Deal.
Right, Trump University ad pic.twitter.com/RC1j4rMcdt
— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) May 27, 2016
Trump University folded in 2010.
The order for the Trump University documents to be released comes in relation to one of the California lawsuits, and is also in direct response to the Washington Post‘s request. The Washington Post first reported on this story on Saturday afternoon.
Lawyers for Donald Trump have argued, to no avail, that these documents and the information contained therein should not be released on the grounds that they contain trade secrets. U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel disagreed, however, as was apparent in his ruling, which was released Friday.
According to the judge, the documents should be released because of the public interest that has developed in the Trump University case.
“[Since the proceedings began Trump] became the front-runner in the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue.”
— Paul Hester Sr (@paulh2167657) May 19, 2016
Donald Trump has been defending Trump University on the campaign trail, and did so as recently as Friday, where he took the opportunity to defend his university at a campaign rally in San Diego. In true Donald Trump style, the former reality TV star attacked one of the judges in the trial rather than defending his brand’s credibility.
“The trial is going to take place sometime in November. There should be no trial. This should have been dismissed on summary judgment easily, everybody says it. But I have judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. I could have settled this case many times, but I don’t want to settle cases when we are right. I don’t believe in it. And when you start settling cases, you know what happens? Everybody sues you because you get known as settler. One thing about me, I am not known as a settler. The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine.”
Trump University wasn’t cheap. Courses cost between $1,495 for a three-day seminar to $35,000 for “gold-level” programs. Gold-level courses came complete with real estate field trips, personal mentoring, and the “expertise” that made Donald Trump a billionaire.
On Friday, The Donald told crowds in San Diego that many former students had been happy with their Trump University courses. However, documents filed in the class action suits showed that many of the students thought the program contained a lot of “worthless information they could have obtained for free.”
— Tom T. (@VRWCTexan) May 19, 2016
“All we can do is provide the tools for people to go out there and apply these things. I can’t control what happens out in the real world. If someone goes and takes our classes and decides to sit on their couch and not apply them, I can’t help that, OK?”
According to Trump’s lawyer, Trump University should not be held liable because some students couldn’t sell real estate during the 2008 economic downturn, which delivered a scathing blow to the real estate market.
Donald Trump is currently the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and damning information about Trump University could potentially hinder his campaign. Do you think that Donald Trump’s career in politics could be cut short because of the Trump University scandal?
[Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images]