Trump Lawyers Request Trump University Fraud Trial Delay Until after Inauguration
Lawyers claim that president-elect needs to devote time and attention to transition
Lawyers representing Donald Trump have asked a federal court to delay a trial accusing the president-elect of defrauding former students of his now-defunct Trump University until after he has been inaugurated.
Reuters reports that the trial, held over the former students' claims that a series of real-estate seminars defrauded them, is currently scheduled to start on November 28. Daniel Petrocelli, one of Trump's lawyers, claims that Trump needs to "devote all of his time and attention to the transition process."
A continuance of a few additional months, writes the Los Angeles Times (LAT), would give both parties time in which to videotape Trump's testimony or even reach a settlement.
Trump is scheduled to take office on January 20, 2017, writes Reuters.
"The 69 days until inauguration are critical and all-consuming," Petrocelli said in the filing. He argued that Trump should not have to stand trial during those days.
The lawsuit was filed by former Trump University students claiming they had been lured by false promises to pay as much as $35,000 in order to learn the businessman's "secrets" about real estate investing from "hand-picked" teachers.
The students claim that Trump owned 92 percent of the university and controlled every major decision. Trump denies these claims and has argued that others managed the business.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel rejected an attempt made by Trump last week to keep numerous statements made by Trump during his presidential campaign, including attacks on Curiel, out of the trial.
Trump claimed that the judged was biased against him, alleging that Curiel, who was born in Indiana but is of Mexican descent, was unable to be impartial due to Trump's campaign pledge to construct a wall separating Mexico from the U.S.
The businessman's lawyers have argued that the judge should bar accusations regarding his personal conduct, including alleged sexual misconduct, not paying taxes, corporate bankruptcies, speeches, and tweets, from the fraud trial.
Curiel currently presides over two cases against Trump and Trump University, and another lawsuit by the New York Attorney General is pending.
Although presidents are immune from being sued over actions they take as part of their official duties, the U.S. Supreme Court has decreed that this immunity does not extend to actions the presidents allegedly took before taking office.
If Curiel denies the motion to delay, Petrocelli requests an immediate stay of the proceedings in order to appeal to a higher court, writes LAT.