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Gonzalo Curiel, the federal court judge presiding over the Trump University case in San Diego, has denied a motion from the country's largest media companies to obtain two videotaped depositions given by Donald Trump during the case.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel

Judge Gonzalo Curiel

The decision, filed on August 2, is a minor victory for the Republican presidential nominee’s defense in the class-action lawsuit filed against him by Trump University’s former students. The students say the university was nothing more than a money-making scam for the New York City–based real estate developer–turned–national politico.

During the past year the case has received attention due to Trump’s prominence in the presidential race as well as comments he made questioning Curiel’s ability to preside over the case due to his Hispanic heritage; Trump has proposed building a “huge” wall between Mexico and the United States to prevent immigrants from illegally entering the country.

In his ruling, Curiel sided with Trump and against a June 10 motion filed by the nation’s largest media outlets, including CNN, CBS Broadcasting, Tribune Publishing Company, NBC, ABC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to obtain the videos.

Trump’s team of lawyers has long fought the release of any portion of the transcripts. Due to challenges from opposing counsel, Trump’s attorneys have concentrated on keeping three categories from the public’s eyes: Trump’s “past praise of public figures,” licensing agreements, and documents showing the profits Trump obtained.

Trump’s attorneys say that releasing the videos would create a “media frenzy” that would effectively taint the jury pool and thus harm their client.

Curiel found the argument to have some merit.

“Here, the proceedings in this case have been subject to a high degree of public scrutiny,” wrote Curiel. “Given the context of the case and the timing of [the media’s] request, it is nigh-inevitable that ‘cut’ and ‘splic[ed]’ segments of [Trump’s] deposition videos would appear in both media reports and in political advertisements aired nationwide prior to the trial date in November, increasing the likelihood that prospective jurors would be exposed to information about the case, as well as to evidence that could be introduced at trial to impeach [Trump’s] testimony.”

Added Curiel, “...courts have tended to restrict access to video depositions of celebrities where the improper purpose for which the deposition is sought is commercial gain or prurient interest in exposing the details of a celebrity’s personal life.”

While Curiel did agree that the videos possess some degree of “legitimate public interest,” the level is not substantial and thus would do more harm than good.

In a separate decision, Curiel scheduled the trial for November 28.

The decision, filed on August 2, is a minor victory for the Republican presidential nominee's defense in the class-action lawsuit filed against him by Trump University's former students. The students say the university was nothing more than a money-making scam for the New York City–based real estate developer–turned–national politico.

During the past year the case has received a large amount of attention due to Trump's prominence in the presidential race as well as comments he made questioning Curiel's ability to preside over the case due to his Hispanic heritage being in conflict with Trump's proposal to build a "huge" wall between Mexico and the United States in order to prevent immigrants from illegally entering the country.

In his ruling, Curiel sided with Trump and against a June 10 motion filed by the nation's largest media outlets including CNN, CBS Broadcasting, Tribune Publishing Company, NBC, ABC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to obtain the videos.

Trump's team of lawyers have long fought the release of any portion of the transcripts. Due to challenges from opposing counsel, Trump's attorney's have concentrated on keeping three categories from the public's eyes: Trump's "past praise of public figures," licensing agreements, and documents showing the profits Trump obtained.

Trump's attorneys say that releasing the videos would create a "media frenzy" that would effectively taint the jury pool and thus harm their client.

Curiel found the argument to have some merit.

"Here, the proceedings in this case have been subject to a high degree of public scrutiny," wrote Curiel. "Given the context of the case and the timing of [the media's] request, it is nigh-inevitable that 'cut' and 'splic[ed]' segments of [Trump's] deposition videos would appear in both media reports and in political advertisements aired nationwide prior to the trial date in November, increasing the likelihood that prospective jurors would be exposed to information about the case, as well as to evidence that could be introduced at trial to impeach [Trump's] testimony."

Added Curiel, "...courts have tended to restrict access to video depositions of celebrities where the improper purpose for which the deposition is sought is commercial gain or prurient interest in exposing the details of a celebrity’s personal life."

While Curiel did agree that the videos possess some degree of "legitimate public interest," the level is not substantial and thus would do more harm than good.

In a separate decision, Curiel scheduled the trial for November 28.

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Comments

dwbat Aug. 4, 2016 @ 5:19 p.m.

Trump owes Judge Curiel an apology for his earlier racist rant against him. [Of course, Trump doesn't apologize because he sees it--incorrectly--as weakness.] The judge's decision demonstrated that he follows the law, and is showing no bias toward the Donald.

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SportsFan0000 Aug. 5, 2016 @ 12:13 p.m.

Judge Curiel, as expected, ruled strictly on the facts and the law. Trump should be ashamed of himself for attacking a sitting Judge just doing his job.

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AlexClarke Aug. 6, 2016 @ 4:55 p.m.

Trump is a fraud and a huckster and everyone who believes he is the answer to the problems our country faces is a fool. There is no doubt in my mind that Trump will be convicted but alas this is civil court so only money will be involved.

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