Trump Lawyers Urge Judge to Keep Videos Secret in Fraud Suit

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves from inside his vehicle as he leaves the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman after deposition on June 16, 2016 in Washington.

Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Videos might cause bias among viewers, candidate’s lawyers say
  • Media group argues videos would shed light on Trump’s demeanor

Escalating a battle with the press, Donald Trump again told a San Diego federal judge that he doesn’t want video depositions in fraud and racketeering lawsuits over his defunct real estate school to be made public.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s lawyers argued in court papers filed Wednesday that the videos present a danger of “eliciting bias on the part of the viewer.” He said they might “taint the jury pool” and would undoubtedly “be used by the media and others in connection with the presidential campaign.”

Trump is battling two lawsuits in California and one in New York over claims that he conned students of his Trump University into believing they would gain special access to his real estate business secrets. Instead, despite paying as much as $35,000, they received instruction from minimally trained teachers and were subject to high-pressure sales tactics to keep buying more services, according to the lawsuits.

Media organizations including CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post are arguing for the release of the videos, saying they would “provide the electorate with valuable insight into the demeanor” of Trump as he “addresses issues that are at the center of his campaign.”

Trump has touted his business acumen as a key qualification for the presidency and has defended the practices of his school, even suggesting he will revive it. Some transcripts of his depositions have been made public, and the videos would “only serve to harass” Trump and create “sensationalism,” his lawyers argued. The cases are unlikely to be decided before the election.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego set a hearing on Trump’s request for June 30.

The cases are Low v. Trump University LLC, 10-cv-00940, and Cohen v. Trump, 13-cv-02519, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego). The New York case is Schneiderman v. Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC, 400965-2012, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

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