Donald Trump and Trump University have been the defendants in a class action lawsuit for some six years, now. The trial was postponed from last Spring to Nov. 28, 2016. Bu, in the meantime, Mr. Trump campaigned and he made statements about the lawsuit. His lawyers tried to exclude those statements from the trial. Judge Curiel, the now well know Hispanic judge, said no, the lawyers must specify to which statement they are referring. A blanket request for all such statements will not work, said the judge. I previously wrote about Judge Curiel here.
That is right. In trials, context is everything. The judge would need to know which particular statement they are seeking to exclude before he could rule on the motion. See political dig website regarding this ruling. The judge did allow Mr. Trump to testify by video and allowed him to not appear at the trial. The trial is pending in San Diego. Since the election results, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have indicated they are interested in settling. I suspect they would offer a generous amount to avoid a trial at this sensitive time for Pres. Elect Trump.
Daniel Petrocelli, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, also asked to postpone the trial to January. He described Pres. Elect Trump’s tasks at the moment as “monumental.” But, the judge said he was not inclined to grant a delay. Apparently, Mr. Petrocelli has not yet filed a motion asking for a postponement. Because, the judge said he would consider such a motion but that he was not inclined to grant it. As a six year old case, it is very old, as lawsuits go.
Federal judges are required to submit a listing of their pending cases every month. It is much like a report card. The older the lawsuits are, the worse they look. So, federal judges generally feel some pressure to keep cases moving.
The political dig report suggests that Mr. Trump could be impeached if he is found to have committed fraud in the lawsuit. I myself am doubtful. To be impeached, he must be accused of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” As some of us learned in 1999, when Bill Clinton was impeached, “high crimes and misdemeanors” generally refers to criminal violations. The Trump University lawsuit is civil in nature.