Lawsuit Against Trump University Will Go to Trial and Donald Trump Will Have to Testify
A New York judge ruled on April 26 that the state’s $40 million fraud lawsuit against Trump University will to go to trial.
The judge heard the procedural arguments in Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s ongoing lawsuit against the presidential hopeful and his former school for real estate investors.
The lawyers also discussed whether the trial should be decided by a jury or a judge—no decision has been made. No date has been set for the trial.
The attorney general filed the lawsuit in 2013, accusing the real-estate mogul of using bait-and-switch tactics to get students to pay for classes with Trump’s “handpicked” experts that were not up to standards. The attorney general’s office said its investigation found that Trump did not handpick a single instructor for the seminars and had little or no participation in developing any of the school’s curricula or seminar content.
“More than 5,000 people across the country who paid Donald Trump $40 million to teach them his hard sell tactics got a hard lesson in bait-and-switch,” said Attorney General Schneiderman in 2013.
“Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got. No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hard working New Yorkers. Anyone who does should expect to be held accountable,” he continued.
The lawsuit stated that between 2005 through 2011, Trump University operated as an unlicensed educational institute.
Meanwhile, Trump has shrugged off the allegations, saying he did nothing wrong.
After the hearing on April 26, Schneiderman issued a statement about the judge’s decision to go trial.
“I am very pleased the judge has indicated her intention to move as expeditiously as possible to trial, as thousands of Mr. Trump’s alleged victims have been waiting years for relief from his fraud,” said the attorney general.
Schneiderman also said Trump will be called to testify during the trial, along with Michael Sexton, who was involved in the program.
“We believe that Mr. Trump and Mr. Sexton will be essential witnesses at trial. As we will prove in court, Donald Trump and his sham for-profit college defrauded thousands of students out of millions of dollars,” he said in a statement.
The Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern told both parties to return after a higher court rules on an appeal.
The New York City Better Business Bureau (BBB) said last month that during the time Trump University appeared to be active, the bureau had received multiple customer complaints about the business.
“These complaints affected the Trump University BBB rating, which was as low as D- in 2010,” the BBB said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.