Incoming president Donald Trump has yet to take his oath, but will already be taking on his biggest challenge yet.
The billionaire is facing a class lawsuit for the shuttered Trump University, and he might have to testify in a federal court in California before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. People may remember the jurist, an American born of Mexican descent, after he was slammed by Trump during his presidential campaign for allegedly being biased.
The trial on the Trump University is scheduled on Nov. 28.
According to CBC, Trump’s team has petitioned the court to disregard any statements made by or about the incoming president during the campaign period. The request covers Trump’s tweets, a video of him making sexually predatory comments about women, his tax history, revelations about his private charitable foundation, and public criticisms about the judge in the case.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) November 10, 2016
Lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said any information that surfaced during the election period would not be relevant to the case, but will only serve to influence the jury’s opinion of Trump. The lawyer added that allowing these in court “carries an immediate and irreparable danger of extreme and irremediable prejudice to defendants, confusion of issues and waste of time.”
Previously, the lawyer said that Trump plans to be actively involved in the case, as well as testify if the time comes. That was in May, however, and the decision may change now that he’s going to be the president of the United States.
The case against Trump University stems from a complaint filed by a group of students who signed up and subsequently spent tens of thousands of dollars on additional programs.
The students claimed that Trump University defrauded them by “taking advantage of these troubled economic times to prey on consumers’ financial fears for its own financial gain.”
The complainants alleged that what the Trump University has been peddling was no different from “infomercials” because of its “non-accredited products.” They claimed that the university made money by luring customers in using the “reputation of its founder and Chairman, billionaire land mogul Donald J Trump.”
And just like infomercials, Trump promised more than what he intended to fulfill. For instance, the class-action lawsuit claimed that the students were promised an extensive, year-long education and mentorship on real-estate.
What they were taught, however, was a program that lasted for three days, and the lessons were “designed to confuse” students and persuade them to purchase additional seminars.
Meanwhile, Trump reportedly seeks to postpone the trial at least until the inauguration in January 2017.
During the pre-trial on Thursday, Nov. 10, Petrocelli petitioned the court to delay the Nov. 28 trial to three months from now.
“In view of Mr. Trump’s election as President of the United States, your honor,” Petrocelli told the judge when prompted for a reason for the request.
Trump’s lawyer also questioned whether the President-elect would actually be available to testify in court since there has never been a sitting US president who testified in a trial as a defendant. But the billionaire has not ruled out making his testimony through a video recording.
“His obligations right now are just monumental,” Petrocelli told the magistrate.
“Now he’s going to have to take into account whether that’s the best use of his time, and he has to weigh his desire to be here against the needs of the country right now.”
Judge Curiel, meanwhile, suggested that Trump should settle out of court with the plaintiffs, probably to insulate the presidency from embarrassment. Petrocelli said he was open to it, adding that another federal judge, Jeffrey Miller, could help set up the meeting.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images]