U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled Tuesday Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump must stand trial in a lawsuit filed by former students in the New York businessman’s Trump University.
The suit accuses Trump of violating a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices (RICO) statute.
The class-action suit was filed by former students who claimed the real-estate program was a virtually worthless academic program, exploited students and employed inexperienced instructors.
In his ruling, Curiel said evidence existed Trump did not meet or choose instructors despite the claim in promotional material educators in the program were “personally chosen” by real estate tycoon.
Curiel threw out a motion filed by Trump’s attorneys to dismiss the case, saying petitioners have a right to ask if the defendant was somehow involved in the attempt to defraud students.
Attorneys for the real estate mogul had also requested a summary judgement, but Curiel dismissed the request and ruled the case to be heard by a jury.
Although Curiel publicly released documents related to the case in late May, he did rule in favor of keeping Trump’s video testimony seal, which attorneys petitioned to keep sealed.
In his ruling, Judge Curiel said “while there is a degree of legitimate public interest in the demeanor of the defendant in the deposition videos,” he concluded that “there is every reason to believe that release of the deposition videos would contribute to an on-going ‘media frenzy’ that would increase the difficulty of seating an impartial jury.”
One of two Trump University class-action lawsuits Curiel is presiding over in San Diego is scheduled to begin Nov. 28.
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