On Tuesday, New York County Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Kern said that a fraud case involving Trump University will go to trial, raising the possibility that the current GOP front-runner may have to testify during the campaign season. It’s not clear whether the case will be heard by a jury, however.
According to Fox News, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, accused Trump and others of misleading thousands of students who attended the school. Schneiderman also accused the school of using “bait and switch” tactics to entice students to enroll in more expensive courses.
He further said Trump University was unlicensed when it started in 2005 and promised lessons with real estate experts reportedly hand-picked by Trump. According to Schneiderman, only one of those experts had ever met the real estate mogul.
Trump, however, has denied any wrongdoing, and further claims a 98 percent approval rating by students. Fox said that Schneiderman has sued Trump and the school for $40 million, seeking restitution and damages for over 5,000 students nationwide, each of whom reportedly paid who up to $35,000 each.
Trump, who won five state contests Tuesday, has come under fire from his opponents in the GOP election. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for example, called Trump University a “fake” school while Ted Cruz weighed in on the possibility of seeing Trump testify in the middle of an election.
“I want you to think about — if this man is the nominee — having the Republican nominee on the stand in court, being cross-examined about whether he committed fraud,” he said. “You don’t think the mainstream media will go crazy on that?” The New York case is not the only one Trump is facing over the school. Another case was filed in March against Trump in San Diego.
In that case, Trump’s attorneys accused plaintiffs’ lawyers of intentionally scheduling the trial to interfere with his campaign. According to Politico, the trial could take place either just before or just after the GOP convention in July.
“Plaintiffs’ request to set a trial date in June or August of this year … is a transparent attempt to prejudice defendants’ ability to defend this case at trial while Mr. Trump is running for President,” wrote trial attorney Dan Petrocelli. “It also conflicts with plaintiffs’ acknowledgment to this Court that it would be ‘foolish’ to think a fair jury could be selected in the middle of the current presidential campaign.”
Petrocelli further said the trial would be “a zoo” if it takes place in August. Worse yet, it would certainly be used by the eventual Democratic Party nominee if Trump becomes the GOP candidate in November’s general election.