On Friday, a federal judge ruled to deny Donald Trump’s request for the dismissal of a lawsuit against Trump University.
According to CNN, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of San Diego, California issued the tentative ruling to deny the dismissal, and there will be more motions to come.
The lawsuit is one of three class-action suits against Trump University, filed by dissatisfied students of Trump’s real estate training scheme. The Republican nominee has had a number of complaints filed against the “university,” which seemed to target retirees on fixed incomes and those who were struggling financially during the Great Recession.
The trial is set to be held in November.
Curiel held the hearing on Friday afternoon for a motion from Trump’s lawyers to dismiss the case on grounds that Trump was not sufficiently personally involved in any fraudulent activities used for promoting the Trump University real estate seminars. The legal team also insisted that the alleged fraud does not fit the definition of Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) under which the lawsuit is being pursued.
A statement from Daniel Petrocelli, Trump’s lawyer, appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune regarding the suit. Petrocelli argued against the RICO charges, saying:
‘Mr. Trump was acting more as a shareholder of the company. He did not run Trump University. This was just like any celebrity endorsement.’
Curiel is the same judge that Trump implied could not be impartial because of his Mexican heritage. Trump had referred to Judge Curiel as a “hater” and criticized his rulings. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump out on his remarks, saying that Trump used language that is “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
Trump issued a statement after his racist remarks, claiming that he didn’t believe that it was Curiel’s heritage that might make him biased, but that:
‘Normally, legal issues in a civil case would be heard in a neutral environment. However, given my unique circumstances as nominee of the Republican Party and the core issues of my campaign that focus on illegal immigration, jobs and unfair trade, I have concerns as to my ability to receive a fair trial.’
Judge Curiel did not issue a formal ruling, which means that motions will continue to be heard in the court and the lawsuit will be pursued toward a formal trial in November.
There are currently three class-action lawsuits filed against Trump University on behalf of customers who have been bilked out of thousands of dollars. Two suits have been filed in California against the now-defunct program, which ran from 2005 to 2010. The most high profile suit has been filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and encompasses a range of complainants across the country. The New York lawsuit claims that Trump University took in approximately $40 million with fraudulent claims and deceptive practices.
Trump is also being investigated for corruption in regard to Trump University for bribing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi with a $25,000 campaign contribution. Trump made donations to Bondi’s re-election campaign shortly before the A.G.’s decision to abstain from participating in the New York lawsuit on behalf of Floridians who had registered complaints against the program.
Last week, CNN talked to a former top salesman from Trump University who described their hard sell practices for the $34,000 program that promised customers great riches and financial security. The strong arm tactics described are simply horrifying considering their target market was senior citizens.
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