A New York judge Tuesday ruled that the $40 million fraud case against Trump University — the now-defunct entrepreneurial training program established by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump — will go to trial.
Justice Cynthia Kern denied a request by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who filed the lawsuit in 2013, to issue a summary judgement in the case, setting the stage for the trial proceed in the backdrop of an already contentious election cycle.
The suit alleges that the non-accredited for-profit program promised students they would learn the secrets to success in real estate, while simultaneously charging them for access to web seminars that increased in cost as students progressed. According to court documents, seminars at Trump University cost between $1,500 and $30,000.
“Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got,” Schneiderman said when he filed the charges. “No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hard working New Yorkers. Anyone who does should expect to be held accountable.”
In a statement Tuesday, Schneiderman said he was “very pleased” with Judge Kern’s decision, noting the she has shown an “intention to move as expeditiously as possible to trial.” Schneiderman said he expects Trump will testify in the case.
“We believe that Mr. Trump and [Trump University President] Mr. [Michael] Sexton will be essential witnesses at trial,” the statement reads. “As we will prove in court, Donald Trump and his sham for-profit college defrauded thousands of students out of millions of dollars.”
Alan Garten, a lawyer for Trump, also agreed with the ruling. “We are extremely please that the Supreme Court has yet again rejected the Attorney General’s attempt to avoid a trial,” Garten said.
Jeffrey Goldman, another lawyer for Trump, added that he hopes the court will grant the case a jury trial. “I think we will get a fair trial before a jury,” Goldman told reporters after the hearing.
Photo: Eric Schneiderman. Lonnie Tague/ Wikimedia Commons.