Donald Trump to Testify in San Diego for Trump University Class Action Lawsuit Trial: Attorney

Trial date set for November 28, judge says jury selection could begin earlier

Donald Trump will testify and attend the trial in the Trump University class-action lawsuit scheduled for November 28 in San Diego, his attorney said Friday.

The trial is scheduled for after the presidential election, something Trump’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli argued against in court. The plaintiff’s attorney suggested a July or August timeframe for a trial date.

“We strongly prefer for trial to be after the inauguration if Trump were elected," Petrocelli said. “The trial should not become a political tool." He asked the judge for a trial date in early 2017.

In the class action lawsuits, Trump University is accused of misleading students with unfulfilled promises of teaching them the secret to being successful in the real estate business. The allegations outlined in court documents include Trump University, which took in over $40 million, was fraudulent and deceptive. Students paid up to $35,000 for real estate seminars, according to court documents.

Trump denies the allegations in the lawsuits. His attorney, Petrocelli said, “the case is unwarranted; (Trump) will defend himself fully."

Two class-action lawsuits against the now-closed Trump University are being heard in San Diego courtrooms, another lawsuit is based in a New York court. The San Diego cases include: Cohen v. Trump, a nationwide class action lawsuit and Makaeff v. Trump, a class action in California, Florida and New York.

In court Friday, U.S. Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel said a 14-day trial seems possible. Petrocelli said he thinks it could take that amount time just for jury selection.

Curiel said he is not inclined to have a 12-person jury but would like to see an eight or nine-person jury. Both parties have agreed on a jury questionnaire and have permission from Curiel to move forward with that process. According to Curiel, the questionnaire is needed to get a pool of jurors that is unbiased.

Petrocelli told NBC 7 Investigates Trump plans to attend most, if not all of the trial and will testify. Trump “has strong feelings about the trial," he said. 

Right now, there are around 300 exhibits entered into the court record, whittled down from more than 1,000.

One of those exhibits is a deposition of the presumptive GOP Presidential nominee. When asked about releasing that deposition to the public, Petrocelli said it would "not be a good idea."

While deciding when the trial should take place, Curiel said he considered three things: making sure everyone receives a fair trial, the trial takes place in a reasonable amount of time and that waiting too far after the November presidential election, if Trump were to be elected, would mean a sitting president is spending time defending himself, taking away from his time serving the country.

Earlier this year, Trump said Curiel is prejudiced against him, claiming the judge has shown "tremendous hostility" to him.

"I think it has to do with perhaps the fact that I'm very, very strong on the border," Trump said on Fox News in February. "Now he is Hispanic, I believe. He is a very hostile judge to me."

Trump said the judge is biased because of Trump’s call to build a wall along the border.

Friday, Petrocelli said they will not be asking the judge to recuse himself.

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