Judge Throws Ice on Trump U Witness Fight

     SAN DIEGO (CN) — A federal judge on Tuesday told Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump he won’t allow him to get into a filing war with former students suing him over promises made by his now-defunct real estate school.
     U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel took only hours to deny, in a one-page order, Trump’s request that he be allowed to respond to an argument lodged in court last week by the class in Low v. Trump University. The class wants a blanket order barring Trump from calling former Trump University students to the witness stand who are not part of the class action.
     Curiel’s order does not necessarily mean he will not allow Trump to call student witnesses, however — it just means he can’t formally respond to the plaintiff’s argument for why he shouldn’t be allowed to. The order was dated Monday, but was not made available until Tuesday morning.
     It was not immediately clear when Curiel would rule on the actual issue at hand, and if he would do so through a written order or if the judge would schedule a hearing to further vet the issue.
     Trump wants Curiel to let him call a handful of former Trump University students not part of the class to testify about their positive experiences. The request comes a little less than two months before the Low trial kicks off in San Diego Federal Court following the Thanksgiving holiday.
     In a short and sweet order last week, Curiel said he would not postpone the post-election trial date to accommodate a scheduling conflict for Trump’s lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli, giving the go-ahead for the first of three Trump University lawsuits to go to trial.
     Sonny Low and others sued Trump long before he launched his presidential bid, claiming they were duped into paying upwards of $35,000 on the promise they’d learn insider real estate secrets from instructors “handpicked” by Trump himself.
     At a hearing earlier this summer, attorneys for the class told Curiel they would move to exclude testimony from any former Trump University students who are not class members, which Trump’s attorneys opposed. After receiving filings from Trump and the plaintiffs on their respective positions, Trump asked Curiel Monday if the court would allow Trump to respond to the class’ position.
     In addition to talking about their positive experiences, Trump’s witnesses are expected to testify they did not believe that the use of the word “university” in the title meant the school was accredited, a direct conflict to the class’ false advertising and fraud arguments.
     The class claims allowing Trump to call a dozen students who opted out of a class of more than 7,600 would skew testimony, noting there’s no way they could speak for the entire class. Low and the others say they would have to call 600 class members for each opt-out student brought to the stand by Trump.
     On Monday, Trump said he wants to be allowed to respond to the plaintiffs’ opposition because he claims the class presented new arguments and evidence in their opposition that he should be allowed to address. Trump also said the procedural background is “unusual,” as the issue would normally be vetted in hearings before the trial, but “for whatever reason” Curiel did not require the plaintiffs do that when they requested the exclusion order.
     A 56-page exhibit attached to Trump’s request includes an email exchange between the lawyers for both parties as well as a draft of Trump’s response to the plaintiffs’ opposition to calling the handful of students to the witness stand.
     Trump said the admissibility of former Trump University students’ testimony is of “paramount importance” and implicates “defendants’ constitutional rights and the integrity of the trial itself.”
     Both parties and the court would benefit from a “full ventilation of these issues” which could only occur if Trump is granted permission to file response papers, the candidate said.

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