Donald Trump suffered a legal setback today when the judge who will be presiding over one of the Trump University lawsuits against him -- and whom Trump publicly called a "hater" -- unsealed documents related to his case, Reuters is reporting.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered that these documents be released to the public, noting that they had already been published by Politico and "that a magistrate judge described them previously as 'routine' and 'commonplace,'" Reuters stated.
The lawsuit against Trump comes from several of his former Trump University students, who, in most instances, paid $35,000 to learn the secrets of his business success and how to emulate it.
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But Trump stirred things up when he attacked Judge Curiel at a San Diego rally last week.
"I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump. A hater. He's a hater," Trump told the large crowd. "We're in front of a very hostile judge. The judge was appointed by Barack Obama."
Trump hinted that Curiel was opposed to him because he is Hispanic, Reuters reported. However, Curiel "is an American who was born in East Chicago, Indiana, and graduated from the Indiana University School of Law," according to Reuters.
Could Trump's Comments Lead To Legal Sanctions?
While Reuters noted that Judge Curiel is "unlikely" to do anything about Trump's public comments against him, legal experts agree that Trump's public intimidation is potentially a punishable offense.
"Mr. Trump's conduct could be subject to sanction for indirect criminal contempt of court," Charles Geyh, a legal ethics expert at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, told Reuters. "He has impugned the honesty of the judge in a pending case, and has done so in the context of a political rally that seems calculated to intimidate by inciting anger among his supporters."
Arthur Hellman of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law noted that even while Trump publicly attacked Curiel, the judge cannot do so in kind, saying, "He's not supposed to talk out of court about proceedings before him."
"The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great, I think that's fine," Trump was quoted by the Los Angeles Times. "You know what? I think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump when I give all these jobs, OK?"
Earlier in May, Politico reported that Judge Curiel ordered that the Trump University case before him be pushed to November after the presidential elections.
"Trump has said he is eager for the cases to go to trial because the students received useful instruction and many made money off the advice," Politico stated.
However, Curiel is still holding the initial court hearing on July 22, which is the day after Trump "is expected to accept the Republican Party's presidential nomination," according to Politico.
Curiel was appointed a U.S. District Judge by President Barack Obama in 2011. He was previously a Superior Court Judge in San Diego and, prior to that, served as a federal prosecutor.
According to a poll released by a group called Latino Decisions, Donald Trump would lose Hispanics to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton by a 76-11 percent margin. The poll also said that Trump was viewed unfavorably by 87 percent of Hispanics.
What do you think? Was it right for Donald Trump to publicly chastise the judge who is hearing his case? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]