What happens if the presidential nominees end up in court? Hillary Clinton’s “damned emails” have been a problem for her all year. Some say she may be indicted. Then, there’s the case of former Canadian Ted Cruz’ birther issue. And now, there’s news that Donald Trump may have “University” legal problems.
The latest courtroom news is that the fraud case against Trump is working its way.
A fraud case against Donald Trump’s now-defunct online college will go to trial, New York Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Kern reportedly ruled during a hearing held Tuesday.
The latest development concerning Trump University comes less than two months after a four-judge appellate court panel ruled in favor of allowing a $40 million lawsuit against Trump, which New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed in 2013.
Schneiderman alleges that Trump and others lied to students about the caliber of instructors employed at Trump University and used “bait-and-switch” tactics to scam them out of tens of thousands of tuition dollars.
Attorneys representing Trump are reportedly seeking a jury trial for the Manhattan billionaire, although Kern did not go so far as approving that request on Tuesday. According to the New York Daily News, Kern invited Trump’s lawyers to submit a formal paper detailing why their client is entitled to a trial by jury.
Anyone familiar with the legal system will know the case could go on through the November election. And it’s going to impact “The Donald” directly.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is on. . .the witness list for one of three lawsuits filed against his now-defunct namesake university and the issues surrounding that venture could haunt him as the campaign continues. . .
The purported school operated from 2005 through 2010 and enrolled 10,000 students in real estate courses that ranged from free seminars, and up to $35,000 for advanced training and mentoring. . .
Pre-trial motions will be in May, with a trial date set for August.
In fighting back, Trump’s defense says the case over-reaches, even charging “racketeering.”
His attorney Daniel Petrocelli tells the judge that “If this case is allowed to proceed, it would represent an unprecedented and unprincipled expansion of civil RICO and transform virtually every alleged violation of consumer protection laws into a civil RICO claim and subject owners, officers, directors and others to personal liability for treble damages.”
And, on the offense, Petocelli says it’s like any other hyped seminar.
He recently previewed the defense to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that no one who signed up for Trump University thought “they were going to USC or UCLA. They were taking real estate courses over a weekend at a hotel. Those who pushed themselves found success, and those who lacked effort didn’t …”. . .
Trump’s court papers showcase the logo:
Alongside talk of this Clinton University is Disney University, Hamburger University (run by McDonalds) and Motorola University. “Even Farmers Insurance runs a well-known series of commercials starring actor J.K. Simmons as ‘Professor Nathaniel Burke’ at University of Farmers, where they aim to ‘make you smarter’ about insurance coverage,” adds the summary judgment motion.
The court papers say that Trump was indeed “personally involved” in hiring decisions, but that changed once Trump University’s business operations expanded. But the defendant in this racketeering case says there was never any representation that Trump University was a “university” equivalent to a four-year, degree-granting institution.
And that’s not the only current investigation that will take time.
FBI Director James Comey said he feels no urgency to wrap up the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server before the political conventions this summer.
Comey was speaking on Monday to representatives of local law-enforcement agencies in Buffalo, New York, when he was asked about the FBI’s probe of the former secretary of state’s email system, according to the Niagara Gazette. . .
“The urgency is to do it well and promptly,” Comey said. “And ‘well’ comes first” — meaning that the investigation could still be ongoing during the Democratic National Convention in July, he said.
Seriously, there is talk of putting Hillary on probation.
President Barack Obama’s potential Republican replacements routinely say Hillary Clinton may need to pardon herself if she becomes president, or joke that she flatters Obama because he could put her behind bars.
As the FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server nears an eventual end, another hypothetical exists: the former secretary of state agreeing to serve probation to avoid a messy court case for allegedly side-stepping a records retention law and/or mishandling classified information.
It’s currently unclear if Clinton will face any criminal charges as a result of the investigation, and it’s equally uncertain if she could win the presidency after accepting a plea deal assigning her probation.
But more likely, the slow moving wheels of justice may make the case irrelevant. Ronald J. Sievert, a 25-year veteran of the Department of Justice, told USA Today:
What a DA will indict in a week, and a U.S. Attorney in a month, will take Justice more than a year if they ever pull the trigger at all. They tend to be hamstrung by endless memos, briefs, meetings and approvals from multiple levels and divisions. There sometimes appears to be an institutional fear of losing, however minimal the chance.
So when you add an FBI that wants to investigate the email case to death, and a justice department that is never in a hurry, the case may languish indefinitely.
But in a campaign year when just about anything can happen, and has, it wouldn’t be that surprising to have one candidate tied up in a fraud case, another on probation, and a third claiming in court that he’s not a Canadian, “eh.”