Lawyer Asks to Delay First Trump U. Trial

     SAN DIEGO (CN) — Despite knowing months ago he may have a scheduling conflict, Donald Trump’s attorney waited until late Monday to request to push back the November trial date for the first Trump University class action case to get its day in court.
     Trump’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli asked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel to push back the post-election trial date in Low v. Trump University currently set for Nov. 28 to either Dec. 12 or Jan. 2, 2017.
     Lead plaintiff Sonny Low and others sued Donald Trump and Trump University in 2010 — long before Trump announced his bid for president — on claims they were duped into paying upwards of $35,000 to learn insider real estate secrets from instructors “handpicked” by Trump himself.
     In Monday’s filing, Petrocelli cited a conflict as he is also slated to begin trial in a class action against satellite radio giant Sirius XM on Nov. 15. That trial is expected to last seven court days.
     Petrocelli says he asked the judge presiding over Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio to continue that trial to make way for the Trump University case but U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez denied his request.
     If the Sirius trial lasted the estimated seven days, that means Petrocelli would finish that trial on Nov. 23 — the day before Thanksgiving — only to start the Trump University trial the Monday after the holiday.
     Petrocelli never mentioned the Sirius trial date — which was set nine months ago — because “it did not immediately come to mind, nor was it at the time clear that an actual conflict would materialize,” according to his filing. He did not bring up the scheduling conflict until a hearing on Aug. 26 — three months before the Low trial was set to begin.
     Trump’s attorney said he would be prejudiced if the Low trial date is not pushed back, as he won’t be able to prepare and conduct pretrial work in the days leading up to the November trial. A hearing on jury instructions for the Low case has also been set for Nov. 18 — right in the middle of Petrocelli’s Sirius trial.
     He also pointed out the Sirius trial could likely extend beyond the seven-day estimate — especially in light of the Thanksgiving holiday — meaning the two trials could very well butt into each other.
     “Granting this request would resolve the existing conflict while respecting the court’s preference that trial occur between the election and inauguration (if Mr. Trump were to be elected), and would cause no prejudice to plaintiffs,” Petrocelli wrote.
     Trump retained Petrocelli — his fourth attorney in the case — last November.
     Earlier this summer, Petrocelli asked Curiel to schedule the trial for after the presidential election on Nov. 8. Low and the other plaintiffs wanted the trial to be held sometime this summer.
     Petrocelli then proposed a February 2017 trial date, after the presidential inauguration. Curiel denied that request, saying the trial needed to be held between the election and inauguration.
     Trump’s attorney called his continuance request “modest,” noting the case has been pending for six years and he’s asking for a delay of no more than 35 days and as few as 14 days. If his request is granted, the trial would still take place before the presidential inauguration per Curiel’s order, Petrocelli added.
     The plaintiffs’ lead attorney Jason Forge filed a notice with the court Monday indicating his clients will file a formal opposition to Petrocelli’s request on or before Sept. 14.

%d bloggers like this: