RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Gerstein writes: "Before Donald Trump raises his right hand to take the oath of office in January, he's set for a less-auspicious swearing-in: taking the witness stand in his own defense in a federal court civil trial over alleged fraud in his Trump University real estate seminar program."

The trial Monday after Thanksgiving is just one of a plethora of lawsuits and threatened suits Donald Trump was entangled in during the campaign. (photo: Getty)
The trial Monday after Thanksgiving is just one of a plethora of lawsuits and threatened suits Donald Trump was entangled in during the campaign. (photo: Getty)

President-Elect Trump Goes to Court in Fraud Civil Suit This Month

By Josh Gerstein, Politico

10 November 16


The Republican nominee will have to juggle his legal headaches as he prepares for the White House.

efore Donald Trump raises his right hand to take the oath of office in January, he’s set for a less-auspicious swearing-in: taking the witness stand in his own defense in a federal court civil trial over alleged fraud in his Trump University real estate seminar program.

Trump faces a legal ordeal no president-elect has ever encountered: juggling defending himself before a jury with preparing for the vast challenges a political novice will face in assuming the presidency.

And the class-action case set for trial the Monday after Thanksgiving is just one of a plethora of lawsuits and threatened suits Trump was entangled in during the campaign—litigation that doesn’t seem likely to disappear anytime soon and might even intensify with Trump headed to the White House.

In addition to several suits over Trump University, Trump has threatened lawsuits against a dozen or more women who’ve accused him of sexual impropriety in recent months—and several of those women have threatened to countersue if he comes after them.

There’s also a New York state investigation into his charitable foundation and a reported federal investigation into some of his advisers’ ties to Russia.

Beyond that, there’s litigation that Trump himself launched, like the pair of suits against celebrity chefs who backed out of plans to open restaurants in his new luxury Washington hotel.

However, the most immediate challenge for Trump is a Trump University class-action lawsuit set to begin jury selection Nov. 28 in San Diego, with Trump called as a witness by both sides and certain to face sharp questioning about his venture’s marketing practices.

Adding to the drama, the trial will bring Trump face to face with U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel. During the campaign, Trump triggered widespread outrage by arguing that Curiel’s Latino heritage made the judge irredeemably biased against him. The GOP presidential hopeful also called the judge “Mexican” and “Spanish.” He was born in Indiana.

Curiel has made only passing reference in public to Trump’s attacks, noting in a written opinion that Trump had “placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue.”

Trump’s lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, has signaled that he may try to delay the trial further. However, Curiel denied a recent effort by Petrocelli to push the trial back and seems intent on getting it completed before the inauguration.

In addition, the suit set for trial later this month has been pending for six years and some of the plaintiffs are elderly.

A good indication of whether the trial will go forward as planned is likely to come Thursday afternoon, when Curiel is scheduled to hear arguments on what kinds of evidence and questions will be off limits during the trial.

At the hearing, Curiel is also scheduled to consider whether Trump’s campaign trail statements will be fair game at the trial and whether all references to allegations about his “personal conduct” should be off limits, as his lawyers’ have urged.

Because it’s a civil case and not a criminal one, Trump is not required to be present throughout the trial, although as it stands now he would have to be in the courtroom to testify for his side and the plaintiffs. He already gave two depositions in the case while he was campaigning.

There are actually two pending federal suits: the one set for trial this month involves Trump University students from California, Florida and New York, addressing claims that the program violated those states’ tough laws against defrauding consumers and the elderly. The other case is national in scope and invokes a federal racketeering statute.

Attorneys pressing the suits against Trump on behalf of former Trump University students say the program fraudulently advertised that instructors were hand-picked by Trump and that students would learn the real estate mogul's "secrets." Even calling the program a "university" was a fraud, the lawsuits contend.

Trump's lawyers say claims that students would be told Trump's "secrets" or that he was personally involved in selecting teachers were, at worst, marketing "puffery" not intended to be taken literally.

The other pending suits involving Trump’s businesses could also head to trial after he’s in the White House. In a 1997 case involving President Bill Clinton and a woman suing him for sexual harassment, Paula Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that a sitting president is not immune from litigation over actions taken before he took office.

The high court did say deference to the president in terms of scheduling would be appropriate, though not a deferral until he leaves office.

“Although scheduling problems may arise, there is no reason to assume that the district courts will be either unable to accommodate the President's needs or unfaithful to the tradition-especially in matters involving national security of giving ‘the utmost deference to Presidential responsibilities,’” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote. “We have confidence in the ability of our federal judges to deal with both of these concerns.”

Of course, if Trump’s keen on cutting back some of his legal thicket, he could simply drop some of the cases he’s filed, like the suits against the restaurateurs. He could forgo his plans to sue his female accusers. And to make the Trump University cases he could do something he has long vowed not to do: swallow his pride and pay up. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+75 # ER444 2016-11-10 15:23
How many corpses does he have in the basement. Taxes? Abuse of bankruptcy laws, he is a rapist (why not throw that in the ring, he accused all Mexican immigrants if this). It is time for a ballsy reporter a la "Woodward" to start digging!! I predict "IMPEACHMENT" processes. Then in 2020 Elizabeth warren will break the "Glass ceiling"
+43 # PeacefulGarden 2016-11-10 15:28
Who will impeach him? The House? The Senate?
+42 # bardphile 2016-11-10 18:41
The House, trial in the Senate with Roberts presiding. Doesn't seem likely, does it? Although Ryan and McConnell hate his guts. What a circus that would be!
+38 # Skippydelic 2016-11-10 19:54
Quoting PeacefulGarden:
Who will impeach him? The House? The Senate?

Give them time; after dealing with Trump for awhile, they might be GLAD to impeach him!
+37 # thekidde 2016-11-10 18:47
Hope springs eternal.
+27 # mavrant 2016-11-10 22:56
Yep. Then we end up with V.P. Elect Pence... Almost as bad, and a little to the right of Atila The Hun.
+4 # Femihumanist 2016-11-11 14:46
Quoting mavrant:
Yep. Then we end up with V.P. Elect Pence... Almost as bad, and a little to the right of Atila The Hun.

All those people who believed that Muslims would impose Sharia Law may find themselves batting the Christian version of Sharia law if we wind up with Pence.
+21 # ericlipps 2016-11-10 20:28
It was time six months ago, but everyone was so busy dumpster-diving for dirt on Hillary that nobody paid any attention.
-8 # HowardMH 2016-11-11 10:56
Agree ericlipps, and how about adding why do, so many millions feel so desperate about what has happened in this country in the last 8 years that they had to vote for this monster. It is all about Trump the Idiot, but what about Obama the Wimp's leadership that CAUSED people to be so desperate. Where to hell is the conversation and outrage about that, and the fact Hillary was going to CONTINUE Obama's policies?
+7 # treerapper 2016-11-11 04:07
ER444 - from your mouth to anyone who might be listening. All our thoughts need to focus on his disappearance.
+76 # PeacefulGarden 2016-11-10 15:26
Wow! There are so many stupid Americans. Millions of Americans voted for this fraud. There are so many stupid Americans, absolute morons who voted for the man who thinks he can build a wall between the USA and Mexico.

So many idiots live in the USA. Stupid fucking morons live here.
+61 # Michaeljohn 2016-11-10 18:35
Hey PeacefulGarden, you forgot to include 'brainwashed' in that characterizatio n, or perhaps 'brain dead'. Thirty some years of Rush et al is enough to kill any critical thinking..
+34 # thekidde 2016-11-10 18:52
I vote for "brain dead".
+25 # Tigre1 2016-11-10 18:57
Some day, someone will write and print the truth about the 'conservative' revolution actually a serious subversive campaign...was originally funded and planned by Joseph Stalin. His cat's paw
agent? Fred Koch, of course, father of the current juvenile Koch boyz.

Fascinating story. Very successful long-term plot to overthrow America!

Just google ' koch+ stalin.' It's mostly there even in Wikipedia.

But then, they DID invest heavily in media. Just in case you're wondering why you've not seen much in the media about this.

The Russian old-time hardliners who are collecting on their meager investment directly in Trump have a lot more chips in this game.

Wish the media would...could! wake up about this, but it's too late now, I'm sure.
+46 # sdraymond 2016-11-10 19:47
You are neglecting to mention that damage that Rupert Murdoch has done for the past 30 years. The Kochs could not have done this without the brainwashing in which Fox News has engaged since its purchase by Murdoch.
+33 # Adoregon 2016-11-10 20:06
It is no longer the USA.
It is the USF, the United States of Fraud.
As to the "stupid" voters, I refer you to a quotation by H.L. Mencken, originally published in 1920.

"All of us, if we are of reflective habit, like and admire men whose fundamental beliefs differ radically from our own. But when a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or count himself lost. … All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Baltimore Sun (26 July 1920)

Fucking brilliant.
0 # NAVYVET 2016-11-12 16:08
Be careful whom you quote!

This is a bit like quoting Mussolini, who started as a journalist. Mencken himself couldn't figure out anybody. He detested a caring progressive person, Eleanor Roosevelt, and spent pages of vitriol tearing her apart, while some of his reactionary isolationist friends were white collar criminals who helped bring on the Depression and got a free pass from him.
+13 # mavrant 2016-11-10 23:06
You may want to include those that didn't bother to vote, or voted "their conscience" for some third party candidate that garnered more than enough votes to have Mrs. Clinton win the electoral college vote. Bernie, who could have likely beaten Trump, chose not to do the third party thing for that very reason. Come on guys, Bernie was our hope. The only honest person in the room, and enough folks didn't listen to him and vote for her, and now look at what we have. The ACA will likely be repealed and many people will suffer and possibly perish because of reduced access to health care. Think about it. Without money or "good insurance" people may end up in emergency rooms with conditions that it may be too late to treat successfully because of delayed treatment.
+14 # treerapper 2016-11-11 04:10
What completely boggles the mind is just how many people will actually vote against their own self interest - that in their thought processes, they can't get from point A to point B. Wonder how many Americans he could sell the Brooklyn Bridge to?
+7 # economagic 2016-11-11 09:12
The Brooklyn Bridge has been retired. We are now offering beautiful oceanfront property in northwestern Georgia at a reduced price.*

*(It is not actually oceanfront at present, but is expected to be so within a few years.)
+25 # Missrayraythegreat 2016-11-10 18:46
Jesus H Jones. I'm loading up on popcorn and buying the grocery store out. The USA shit show is about to get reeeeally good.
+20 # Caliban 2016-11-10 19:22
Or "reeeeally" bad.
+25 # angelfish 2016-11-10 19:49
I hope he's found Guilty and sentenced to HARD Time!
+3 # oakes721 2016-11-10 20:38
Don't be too surprised if the Clintons reappear with a vengeance in these legal matters. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"
The legal weasels now have two repeat offenders to paint as innocent babes, the world be damned.
+19 # Andys 2016-11-10 20:55
Although I am extremely upset and disappointed by the impending Trump presidency, remember that when the train wrecks we are all on the train.
+28 # Littlebird 2016-11-10 22:06
It is so hard to believe that Americans chose a second Hitler, who used the same tactics to win the election as Adolf Hitler, such as hate, blame, fearing our neighbors,and promises to make us the Great Nation of the past. (Make America great again). Germany's history was very similar.

It is tragic, horrible, and mystifying that such a person as Donald Trump would even be considered as the right material to be POTUS. The rest of the world wonders if we have lost our minds. I keep hoping this is a mistake or a terrible fraud that will be discovered in time to change the results before this maniac can be sworn in. Will the electoral college help us by not voting their consent? I fear for our country and for the world. I am sad, angry and in a state of shock. It feels like someone dear has died and I am mourning. Is it my nation, my America, my hope in the common sense of our citizens that seems to have passed away? As Hillary Clinton said, "it hurts and it will for a long time".
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-11-11 10:11
More like a New American Mussolini. & remember how he ended up....
-1 # NAVYVET 2016-11-12 16:34
Mussolini's fate was understandable but too primitively vengeful. It's reported in a fine Wikipedia article. Read the whole article, especially H.G. Wells' 1938 prophecy of Mussolini's 1945 execution, which contains an eerie evaluation of his rigidly dualist world view. I was 8 years old when he was shot in a legal execution, then hanged upside down from the roof of an Esso station.

I remember the abuse of his & others' dead bodies from newsreels but had forgotten the Esso station, a Standard Oil affiliate. Interesting?? My dad, a LaFollette Progressive who hated all monopolies, made me promise never to buy anything from any Standard Oil connected company. I drove for almost 60 years & kept that promise. Here's a quote from Wikipedia:

"After being shot, kicked, and spat upon, the bodies were hung upside down from the roof of an Esso gas station. The bodies were then stoned by civilians from below. This was done both to discourage any Fascists from continuing the fight and as an act of revenge for the hanging of many partisans in the same place by Axis authorities. . . etc"
+10 # boredlion 2016-11-11 01:58
Think of it this way - Maybe now, at least, he'll have to start paying his taxes.
+11 # lamancha 2016-11-11 02:11
Many of the TV pundits ask why Trump won. I didn't hear many say that his dogmatic bombasts, such as constant hammering of a 'rigged election" were not countered in the least by Hillary; nor his labeling of her as "crooked." Hitler dominated because of the same tye of aggressive, repetitive, unfounded rhetoric. Here's another "small" possible reason. If you followed MSNBC and even CNN for any length of time, it appeared that Trump received far more airtime than Hillary. Anytime he was on the stump,it seems, they broadcast his hateful, propagandist speeches with an appeal overshadowing Hillary's. She didn't counterpunch it's not her style. Her advisors have to share much of the blame. And Trump had "Kellyanne" to buttress his arguments - with no one of equal adroitness on the Democratic side.
+16 # janie1893 2016-11-11 02:41
In electing Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States, America became totally confused about reality. Reality TV is the new "reality". George W. Bush started it with his long planning stage and announcements about the invasion of Iraq, imbedded reportage, attention to prime time TV, etc. Now we have a president whose only accomplishment has been as a reality TV star. ( all his business ventures have been failures), The United States has become a reality TV country and will be treated as such!Trump will leave the presidency a lot wealthier than he goes in. I hope the country survives!
+12 # vitobonespur 2016-11-11 02:44
Maybe Jabba the Trump was correct about one thing...perhaps the election really WAS rigged!
+4 # Cassandra2012 2016-11-11 18:10
Quoting vitobonespur:
Maybe Jabba the Trump was correct about one thing...perhaps the election really WAS rigged!

YEAH, by HIM! and his corrupt minions.
+6 # economagic 2016-11-11 09:14
The old Chinese curse of being born in interesting times seems to be growing like the plant in "The Little Shop of Horrors."
+4 # CMSheridan 2016-11-11 22:43
This is what I don't understand about the right, the supposed "moral authority", the "Christians". He admitted to taking advantage of people during the housing/banking crisis. He admitted that he hadn't paid any personal taxes in 18 years. He admitted that he scammed contractors, electricians, plumbers, vendors, etc. out of payment by declaring bankruptcy several times. He admitted to cheating on his wives and is on his third marriage. He was recorded making predatory/scumb ag remarks about women. He was recorded making horrible remarks about, immigrants, handicapped people, veterans/POW's, women, military leaders, the intelligence community and current standing politicians including our president. Therefore, by definition, he has no integrity, no honor, no morality, no compassion, in my opinion. And yet, people overlooked these character DEFECTS, and gave him as a reward for his despicable, the most powerful, prestigious job in the WORLD!!! But having a private email server like Colin Powell and SO many others had, was unforgivable. And as for Bengazi?!?! Bush was warned by 42 countries of an impending attack on the US by Bin Laden, and Condoleza Rice warned him as well, and in writing!!!! And yet how many died and continue to die because of their collective neglect!?! When will they be crucified for their crimes? Hell, Bush got a second term!!!!! Face it, Republicans are just better at this nasty game.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.