Judge Trump Accused Of Bias Gives Him Small Win In Trump U Case

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Blake Neff Reporter
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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump won a small victory in the Trump University lawsuit Tuesday, as a federal judge rejected media efforts to release video recordings of his testimony.

At the same time, though, Trump failed to have the case against him dismissed.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that, even if Trump University engaged in fraud or deceptive marketing, Trump himself was not sufficiently involved into its day-to-day operations to be party to a lawsuit.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel said enough evidence existed of Trump’s personal involvement with Trump University for the case to go before a jury. The case will be the second against Trump University to go to trial. A companion suit is already scheduled to begin trial in mid-November, just after the presidential election.

Curiel rejected a media request to release Trump’s videotaped testimony, saying it would spark an unjustified “media frenzy” if he did so. Trump was deposed twice for the case, in December, 2015 and in January, 2016. The transcripts of those depositions have already been released, but media outlets still sought a video release, arguing Trump’s mannerisms and facial expressions would add to understanding of the case.

Trump’s defense lawyers successfully argued that the videos had little legal value and would instead be used to hurt his ongoing presidential run.

The decision is different from one Curiel made in May, when he released hundreds of pages of documents relating to the case. The documents included many embarrassing details about Trump University, such as advice for employees on how to exploit students’ vulnerabilities to sell more expensive seminars.

Shortly after the documents were released, Trump accused Curiel who hails from Indiana but is of Mexican heritage, of being unable to judge the case fairly due to his ethnicity. (RELATED: Trump U Judge Is Member Of La Raza Lawyers Group)

Curiel justified his decision to withhold the video by noting video has typically been harder to release than a simple written transcript. He also said releasing the videos would interfere with jury selection for the trial, since many potential jurors would likely see excerpts from them used in news reports or political ads. Any public interest in Trump’s testimony, he said, was met with a simple text transcript.

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