Judge to consider request to delay Trump University trial

AP News
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Posted: Nov 15, 2016 4:54 PM
Judge to consider request to delay Trump University trial

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday scheduled a hearing to consider President-elect Donald Trump's request to delay a civil fraud trial involving his now-defunct Trump University until after his inauguration on Jan. 20.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel will consider arguments Friday — 10 days before the trial begins. The class-action lawsuit by former customers alleges that Trump University misled them on its promise to teach success in real estate.

Curiel is eager to get the 6½-year-old case to trial and gave no sign that he was inclined to grant a delay during a hearing last week at which Trump's lead attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, argued that demands of the transition justified putting it off until early next year. In September, the judge denied Petrocelli's request to postpone the trial five weeks because the attorney had a scheduling conflict.

Trump's attorneys said in a court filing Saturday that Trump's preparations for the White House were "critical and all-consuming."

"The task is momentous, exceedingly complex, and requires careful coordination involving the respective staffs and teams of both President (Barack) Obama and President-Elect Trump," they wrote. "In fewer than three months, the President-Elect must be prepared to manage 15 executive departments, more than 100 federal agencies, 2 million civilian employees, and a budget of almost $4 trillion."

In May, Petrocelli asked for a trial after Inauguration Day but the judge raised concerns about distractions if Trump won the election. The attorney said then that the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to a trial during the campaign.

Plaintiff attorneys oppose a delay, saying in a court filing on Monday that a lead plaintiff, Sonny Low, has medical issues and will be 75 years old when the trial begins.

"We do know that any delay would be a slippery slope because President-Elect Trump's life is only going to get more complicated and unpredictable as time goes by," they wrote.