SAN DIEGO (AP) — One day after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president of the United States, his lawyers will be in court to try to get a lawsuit dismissed alleging that the business mogul defrauded customers who took courses with false promises of teaching success in real estate at the now-defunct Trump University.
Lawyers for Trump will appear Friday before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel to argue that a lawsuit against the nominee lacks merit.
The complaint, filed in 2013 by former customer Art Cohen, is one of two class-action lawsuits that Trump is facing in San Diego over Trump University before the same judge, a target of the nominee’s repeated scorn. Trump also faces a lawsuit in New York.
The lawsuits allege that Trump University gave seminars and classes in hotel ballrooms across the country that were like infomercials, constantly pressuring customers to buy more and, in the end, failing to deliver. Cohen went to a three-day seminar in 2009 in Palo Alto, California, for $1,495 and bought into the “Gold Elite” mentorship program for $34,995.
Trump has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied and that he did nothing to deceive them.
Trump University’s sales pitches “are classic examples of sales puffery common to advertising everywhere,” his lawyers argued in court documents filed for Friday’s hearing arguing the lawsuit is an abuse of federal racketeering conspiracy statutes. They minimize Trump’s involvement, saying he delegated responsibilities after creating Trump University in 2005.
Lawyers for the plaintiff wrote mockingly that the Trump’s lawyers should argue their case on Earth, not in “District Court in Bizarro World.” They dismiss Trump’s claims of limited involvement, saying, “He only starred in the marketing materials. Signed them. Corrected them. And approved them.”
It’s unclear when Curiel will rule on Trump’s request to dismiss Cohen’s lawsuit, which has not been scheduled for trial. A trial is scheduled Nov. 28 in the other class-action complaint he is overseeing.
Curiel will face lawyers in the case for the second time this month. Last week, news organizations argued that he should allow the release of Trump’s sworn testimony at depositions in December and January.
Trump’s lawyers, fearing the video will be used in campaign attack ads, argued that transcripts should be enough. Curiel has yet to rule on the video request.
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