New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s fraud lawsuit against GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and his real estate school will be going into trial, said a New York judge on Tuesday. This will allow a trial on the allegations brought by Schneiderman that Trump University deceitfully extracted US$40 million (AU$51.64 million) from the students collectively.
Trump’s lawyers were positive that a trial before a jury would be favourable for Trump. Schneiderman’s office issued a statement indicating that Trump will be required to testify.
“I’m not granting summary determination,” Judge Cynthia Kern said as quoted by the Capital New York. “There’s nothing more for me to decide on that issue.”
Schneiderman’s consumer fraud chief Jane Azia said that there was already extensive evidence that proves fraud has been committed on the part of the respondent. Azia contended that Kern should grant summary judgement as there are “no issues of fact.” Kern said she declined to do so, citing an appellate ruling that supported her ruling that Schneiderman’s office was not entitled to summary judgement.
Jeffrey Goldman, Trump’s lawyer, approved Kern’s ruling and demanded a jury trial.
“I think we will get a fair trial before a jury,” he said. “Why would the attorney general, who’s actually representing the constituents of the state of New York, fear the state of constituents of New York determining whether or not he’s right?”
He added that “It’s no different than they wanted a summary determination — they don’t want to go to trial.” Following the hearing at the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, Goldman said that the hearing can take place as early as this fall.
Such a trial in the middle of a presidential election would be highly unusual for a party’s presidential hopeful.
The lawsuit filed in 2013 against the Trump University alleged that the school used Trump’s celebrity status to persuade students to enrol in expensive courses. According to the lawsuit, the courses failed to deliver the results as were promised to the students at the time of enrolment, the Wall Street Journal reported.