Depositions in Trump University Fraud Case to Remain Sealed; Case Won’t Be Thrown Out
A federal judge has ruled that videotaped depositions of Donald Trump in a court case alleging fraud by Trump University will not be made public.
But the judge rejected Trump’s bid to have the case thrown out.
“There is every reason to believe that release of the deposition videos would contribute to an on-going ‘media frenzy’ that would increase the difficulty of seating an impartial jury,” said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in his ruling on Tuesday.
A number of media outlets, including CNN, had requested that the court release the deposition videos on the grounds that the “need for transparency could not be greater” given the nomination of Trump as the Republican presidential candidate.
“The strong public interest in this case, which involves serious allegations of fraud that have become a prominent issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, weighs in favor of public disclosure of materials produced in the course of the litigation,” the media outlets noted in their request to the court.
But Curiel said the election is one of the reasons he chose to allow the tapes to remain secret. He wrote that because Trump’s deposition would likely be cut and used in political advertisements and media reports, it would expose potential jurors to the information before the trial — which could taint the outcome of the case.
In a separate ruling, Curiel also denied Trump’s motion asking the judge to throw the case out.
Transcripts of much of Trump’s depositions have already been released.
The Trump University case has already been an election talking point, particularly after Trump questioned Curiel’s ability to be impartial. Trump incorrectly identified the Indiana-born judge as a “Mexican” and called him a “hater.”
Those comments earned Trump a sharp rebuke from leading Republicans, with House Speaker Paul Ryan characterizing them as a “textbook definition of a racist comment.”