Over the weekend, LawNewz reported that while jury selection is supposed to begin in two weeks for the trial in the lawsuit over the business practices of President Elect Donald Trump’s “Trump University” business classes, Trump has tried to delay the trial until after his inauguration. On Monday, the plaintiffs responded, making it very clear that that they don’t intend to wait and don’t think Trump has given any substantive reason that they should either.
“This is not a separation-of-powers issue,” writes plaintiffs’ attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Forge. “Nor is it any other form of Constitutional issue. It is not even a close call.” In his response, Forge seems especially concerned that any delay at this point would be a “slippery slope,” because (emphasis in original) “President-Elect Trump’s life is only going to get more complicated and unpredictable as time goes by.” Forge also points out that back in May, when the trial date was set, Trump’s counsel was very happy with the trial date regardless of the outcome of the election, saying this:
If we know for certain, okay, we are going to go to trial – elected, not elected, whatever might happen, if we are going to go to trial immediately after Thanksgiving, we absolutely would accept that, and we would advocate for that, certainly more so than any trial date that is at all dependent upon the outcome of the election because, frankly, that is just fraught with peril, and that is really no trial date at all because there’s way more uncertainty than certainty if we are making this contingent upon the election outcome.
The defense changing their stance is especially interesting in light of The Wall Street Journal reporting on Sunday night that when speaking to President Barack Obama, Trump “seemed surprised by the scope” of “the duties of running the country.” The same sources who relayed that information to the WSJ also said that Trump’s aides were “unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term.” This could explain why the defense is no longer happy with the trial date.
Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel had denied a previous motion to delay the trial in September, citing both the case’s age (the lawsuit was originally filed in April 2010) and that the court had “repeatedly accommodated Defendants’ requests with respect to scheduling trial.” The plaintiffs, in arguing against the new request, point out that since Trump’s request is concerned primarily with his own testimony, that the videos of his three depositions can be use as an alternative to his being there in person.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]