Donald Trump came under immense scrutiny earlier this year for stating that a judge of Mexican heritage, despite him being born in the United States, made him unqualified to preside over his court case regarding Trump University. The class action lawsuit claims that Trump frauded hard working Americans out of thousands of dollars under the pretense that they would become business experts by the time they completed the Trump University course. They did not, however, become business experts and were manipulated by Trump’s organization into purchasing expensive packages that had next to no payoff down the road. As such, a number of these individuals filed suit against Trump University, and the judge who received the case is Gonzalo Curiel, whose family is from Mexico and who was born in Indiana. Trump claimed that because of his campaign promises to construct a wall along the U.S. – Mexico border, there was a conflict of interest in having Curiel preside over the case, seeing that the judge is of Mexican heritage. Needless to say, this sparked outrage and made Trump look like an even larger bigot. Now, that very same judge has issued a ruling that could potentially affect Trump’s presidential viability in a very negative way.
Curiel denied Trump’s motion for summary judgment yesterday afternoon, finding that there is sufficient evidence to move forward with the case and not have it dismissed outright, as Trump’s legal team had requested. “The Court agrees with Plaintiff that the evidence in the record raises a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant (Trump) participated in the operation or management of the enterprise.”
Trump’s team had filed a motion to have the case dropped under the premise that Donald had not been directly involved in the workings of Trump University. However, the plaintiffs provided sufficient evidence to deny this motion, meaning that the case will proceed.
On the other hand, Curiel did issue a ruling in Trump’s favor, preventing the “release of litigation documents in audio or video form, which are ‘subject to a higher degree of potential abuse’ than written transcripts.” Several media organizations had pushed to have Trump’s two depositions released, and Trump’s team successfully argued that it would taint the jury pool and not serve any real public interest to do so.
Despite the ruling in Trump’s favor regarding the depositions, the fact that summary judgment was denied could be very problematic for Trump and his team. This means that the case will live to see another day, and the public will be more convinced that Trump University was, in fact, directly linked to the presumptive Republican nominee. As such, if the lawsuit ends up in the plaintiff’s favor, despite the fact that this is a suit against Trump University, the blame will fall on Donald Trump entirely, which will have severe consequences for his campaign and public image.
Do you think this Trump University ruling will be a problem for Trump?