Donald Trump’s lawyers to head to court for upcoming fraud trial

US President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania greet supporters at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York on Nov 9, 2016.
US President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania greet supporters at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York on Nov 9, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) – Lawyers for president-elect Donald Trump on Thursday (Nov 10) will head to court for a hearing pitting the future leader of the United States against a group of students who say they were defrauded by one of his businesses.

The 2010 lawsuit, one of three over the defunct Trump University venture, was filed on behalf of students who say they were lured by false promises to pay up to US$35,000 (S$49,281) to learn Trump’s real estate investing “secrets” from his “hand-picked”instructors.

Trump owned 92 per cent of Trump University and had control over all major decisions, the students’ court papers say.

The president-elect denies the allegations and has argued that he relied on others to manage the business. Trial is scheduled to begin Nov 28.

Trump’s attorneys will try to convince a San Diego federal judge that jurors should not hear about statements Trump made during the campaign, including about the judge overseeing the case.

Trump attacked US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel as biased against him. He claimed Curiel, who was born in Indiana but is of Mexican descent, could not be impartial because of Trump’s pledge to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Trump’s lawyers argue that Curiel should bar accusations about Trump’s personal conduct, including alleged sexual misconduct and comments about the case or court, from the trial, along with speeches, tweets, tax issues, the Donald J. Trump Foundation controversies, beauty pageants and bankruptcies.

 
 

In addition, the celebrity-businessman’s lawyers want to exclude evidence of instructors involved in bankruptcy proceedings, and the Better Business Bureau’s ratings of Trump University, along with complaints it received.

Trump’s lawyers argue the information is irrelevant to the jury and prejudicial to the case.

Lawyers for the students disagree. In court papers, they claim that statements by the former Republican nominee would help jurors as they weigh Trump’s credibility and whether he and his venture were deceptive.

Curiel is presiding over two cases against Trump and the university. A separate lawsuit by New York’s attorney general is pending in that state.