Releasing videotaped depositions of Donald Trump testifying about Trump University would "taint the jury pool" and "imperil" the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's chances for a fair trial, argues the real estate mogul's attorneys in court documents filed in federal court on June 27.
"The potential for harm and prejudice is too great," writes Trump's Los Angeles–based attorney, Daniel Petrocelli.
Over the course of the past year, the class-action lawsuit filed by disgruntled former Trump University students gained national attention since the New York businessman announced his run to succeed president Barack Obama.
The plaintiffs accuse Trump of using the seminar-based university, started in 2005, as a money-making scheme under the guise of what Trump claimed were courses that would teach students, according to a web video, "better than the best business school."
Since former student Sonny Low filed his lawsuit in 2010, former instructors, sales managers, and students, have spoken out about what they say were strong-arm sales tactics pushed by Trump and his sales agents.
Oftentimes, according to court testimony and reported by the New York Times, salespeople encouraged students to use "other people's money," as well as to max out credit cards and take loans to pay for additional classes and instruction materials. For some, that meant spending as much as $45,000 for materials and courses.
Trump has touted the effectiveness of the now-shuttered university, claiming that 98 percent of students left positive reviews of the school. However, a recent report by The Daily Beast claims that some former students say they were coerced into leaving the reviews.
Trump has since gone on record accusing federal district judge Gonzalo Curiel of having an innate conflict of interest due to his being of hispanic ancestry and possibly upset over Trump's promise to erect a thousand-mile wall between Mexico and the U.S.
Trump's attorneys are requesting Curiel keep the videotaped depositions from seeing the light of day.
Argued attorney Petrocelli, "Courts regularly protect dissemination of video depositions, including for public figures in cases of public interest. A district court recently considered a similar issue relating to the video deposition of a Hillary Clinton aide on a politically charged subject and refused to release the video of the deposition because a transcript was available. There is no reason for a different result in this case.
"The public has access to all of the underlying information in the videos because [Mr. Trump] voluntarily withdrew the remaining confidentiality designations of [his] testimony.
"Mr. Trump has adequately demonstrated that disclosure of the videos will cause him serious injury.... The videos here are virtually certain to be extensively disseminated by the media and used by others in connection with the current presidential campaign. Nor can it be fairly disputed that this exploitation will persist through the eve of trial."
Judge Curiel is expected to rule on the request to seal the videos in coming weeks.