Media wants papers unsealed in Trump school case

Posted at 3:08 PM, May 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-29 18:58:47-04

A federal judge in San Diego said Friday he will rule "very soon" on a motion by the Washington Post to unseal documents in a class-action lawsuit against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his now-defunct Trump University.

The lawsuit -- originally filed by Orange County resident Tarla Makaeff -- accuses Trump and Trump University of engaging in deceptive practices and scamming thousands of students who enrolled, thinking it would make them rich in the real estate market. Students paid up to $35,000 for an "elite" membership to the university, according to the lawsuit.

Last month, the Washington Post asked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel to unseal hundreds of pages of documents in the case, arguing that the lawsuit filed by former Trump University students has become a campaign issue and the documents should therefore be available to the public.

Outside court today, Dan Laidman, an attorney for the Post, said parties in the case have agreed to release about 1,000 pages of documents, but 153 pages of the 2010 Trump University "playbook" remain in dispute.

An attorney for Trump told the judge that the playbook contains trade secrets -- containing marketing and sales strategies -- that other business entrepreneurs could steal.

Curiel took the matter under submission and told the parties to expect a ruling "very soon."

The lawsuit alleges that Trump University falsely gave the impression that it was an accredited university, that students would be taught by experts selected by Trump, and that students would get a year of mentoring.

Trump's lawyers argued that many students gave the real estate program positive ratings and those who failed to find success did so by their own fault.

Earlier this month, Curiel scheduled the trial for Nov. 28, after the election.

Donald Trump, who is listed as a defense witness and may be called to testify, railed against Curiel and Magistrate Judge Willam Gallo, who has also heard part of the case, during a campaign appearance at the San Diego Convention Center.

The case should have been dismissed on summary judgment but Curiel "is a hater of Donald Trump" who has not done the right thing, the candidate said.

Trump said he is being "railroaded," and has no plans to settle. He said he's looking forward to a jury trial, which he believes he'll win, he said.