SAN DIEGO (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — Trump University will be back in a California federal courtroom Thursday afternoon.
In the fraud lawsuit against Trump University, both sides will be presenting arguments about the evidence they’d like to put in front of a jury. President-elect Donald Trump could be called to testify by one or both sides in the trial, which is scheduled to begin later this month, on Nov. 28.
The suit was brought by a group of students who signed up for Trump University and subsequently spent tens of thousands of dollars on additional programs.
They claim that Trump University defrauded them and other students like them, by “[t]aking advantage of these troubled economic times to prey on consumers’ financial fears for its own financial gain.” The plaintiffs compared Trump University to an “infomercial” that sells “non-accredited products, such as sales workshops, luring customers in with the same and reputation of its founder and Chairman, billionaire land mogul Donald J Trump.”
The plaintiffs accuse Trump U of promising a “year-long real estate education and mentorship,” but delivering only a three-day long infomercial that was “designed to confuse” students and persuade them to buy more seminars.
The president-elect’s lawyers have tried to have the case dismissed, but Judge Gonzalo Curiel concluded that the students had a valid question about whether Trump had “knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud.” Trump has previously questioned whether Judge Curiel would be biased in his case because of his Mexican heritage.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also gone after Trump University, alleging that it was unlicensed since it began operating in 2005 and promised lessons with real estate experts hand-picked by Trump, only one of whom had ever met him. The attorney general said the school used “bait-and-switch” tactics, inducing students to enroll in increasingly expensive seminars.
Schneiderman, a Democrat, sued Trump and the school, which changed its name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative before it closed in 2010, for $40 million. The lawsuit seeks restitution and damages for more than 5,000 students nationwide, including 600 New Yorkers, who paid up to $35,000 each.
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