Attorneys representing plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Donald Trump’s now-defunct university on Monday denounced a request by the president-elect’s lawyers to delay the trial and excuse him from testifying in person.
In a motion filed in San Diego’s federal court, the attorneys said a request made at the weekend for the November 28 trial to be delayed until after the inauguration in January was no more than a tactic by the defense to postpone the case indefinitely.
“Each of defendants’ ‘modest’ requests to delay this trial has been just a prelude to another request,” attorney Jason Forge wrote in the motion.
He added that the plaintiffs in the six-year-old lawsuit, one of whom is nearly 75 years old, “cannot afford any further delays.”
“This trial, like so many Trump University student-victims’ credit card bills, is past due,” Forge wrote.
He also rejected a request by Trump’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli that the president-elect be excused from testifying live or in person at the trial.
The class action suit alleges that Trump University fleeced students by tricking them with aggressive marketing that amounted to fraud.
Students paid as much as $35,000 to enroll, believing they would make it big in real estate after being taught by experts hand-picked by Trump, the suit says.
In a motion filed late Saturday, Petrocelli said his client was willing to be questioned by both sides in a videotaped deposition that could be played during the trial.
Forge, however, said there was no need for Trump to be questioned any further in the case given that he has already provided more than 10 hours of video-recorded sworn testimony.
He noted that if, as Petrocelli said, Trump was available to provide additional videotaped testimony before the trial starts, there was no reason he could not take the stand in person.
“Since Trump has complete control over when he makes what decision, he can simply shift his schedule one day, testify, and then pick up with the transition process right where he left off,” the motion states.
Petrocelli, however, insisted in a response motion filed Monday that a continuance was necessary “to allow the president-elect to focus on the enormous responsibility of transitioning to the most demanding and important office in our government.”
The lawyer indicated during a hearing in the case last Thursday that he was open to settling the matter out of court.
US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel told both sides that another judge had offered to step in and work with them on a possible settlement.
Trump repeatedly hit out against the Indiana-born Curiel during his run for the White House. He claimed that the jurist’s Mexican heritage would stand in the way of a fair trial given Trump’s controversial stand on illegal immigration and his vow to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
It was not clear when Curiel would rule on the latest motions submitted by both sides in the case.