Trump to testify in fraud case against Trump University

Michael Isikoff:
Here’s a part of the political calendar that nobody in the Republican Party seems to have noticed: This spring, just as the GOP nomination battle enters its final phase, frontrunner Donald Trump could be forced to take time out for some unwanted personal business: He’s due to take the witness stand in a federal courtroom in San Diego, where he is being accused of running a financial fraud.

In court filings last Friday, lawyers for both sides in a long-running civil lawsuit over the now defunct Trump University named Trump on their witness lists. That makes it all but certain that the reality-show star and international businessman will be forced to be grilled under oath over allegations in the lawsuit that he engaged in deceptive trade practices and scammed thousands of students who enrolled in his “university” courses in response to promises he would make them rich in the real estate market.

Although the case has been winding its way through the courts for the past five years — and Trump has denied all wrongdoing — the final pretrial conference is now slated for May 6, according to the latest pleadings in the case. No trial date has been set, but the judge has indicated his interest in moving the case forward, the pleadings show.

“This is pretty amazing,” said Scott Reed, a veteran Republican Party consultant, about Trump’s upcoming due date in federal court. “Usually, you clean this stuff up before you run for president.”

Trump’s new lead lawyer in the case, Daniel Petrocelli, best known for representing one of the slain murder victims in a civil suit against O.J. Simpson, did not respond to emailed questions about Trump’s upcoming testimony, including how long he expects his client to be on the witness stand.

As noted by Yahoo News last week, the Trump University case has already intruded on Trump’s political schedule. On Dec. 10, 2015, during a day he was making international headlines over his pledge to ban Muslim immigrants from the United States, Trump managed to escape any press attention and give a closed-door pretrial deposition in the case, according to court filings reviewed by Yahoo News. Exactly what he said in the deposition remains under seal, but lawyers for Tarla Makaeff, a California yoga instructor who is the lead plaintiff in the case, cited portions of his testimony (blacked out in her pleadings) to support their contention that Trump has threatened to ruin her financially for bringing the lawsuit and that she needs protection from his “retaliation.”
I suspect the Democrats have been holding off on attacking him on this is hopes that he gets the nomination and they can use it against him then.  The timing of the case would appear to work out for them if that is the case.  The allegations in the Makaeff case seems consistent with Trump's practice of attacking those who challenge him.

The students do not appear to have achieved the success promised by the promoters of the school.  It makes you wonder whether some of the promises he is making to voters are illusory.  Why hasn't his come up in the debates?  It would be easy enough to construct a question around the promises made to the students and those he is making to voters.


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