Trump Digs Heels In Over Deposition Videos

     SAN DIEGO (CN) — In the latest court filing over the release of Donald Trump’s deposition videos taken for a class action against the now-defunct Trump University, the Republican presidential candidate compares himself to former U.S. presidents and musician Prince, saying releasing the videos would taint the jury pool and cause a “media frenzy.”
     Over the past few weeks, headlines about Trump University have been dominated by a legal battle over whether or not deposition videos taken of Trump on two separate occasions should also be released alongside the partially released transcripts of those videos, which were made available earlier this month.
     Art Cohen is the lead plaintiff in the case, and claims Trump used the color of an educational institution to bilk thousands of dollars from students. Rather than getting any real educational value from enrollment, the students say Trump University seminars at hotels across the country merely encouraged them to spend even more money on upgrade packages.
     The video transcripts, along with the videos, were filed by Cohen in opposition documents filed in response to Trump’s motion to dismiss the case, Cohen v. Trump.
     But because Cohen’s attorney Jason Forge did not follow court rules for properly submitting electronic documents by seeking leave of the court, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered the tapes not be made publicly available.
     A host of media outlets who intervened in the case — led by the Washington Post and most recently joined by Fox News Network — made similar arguments for the release of the Trump deposition tapes as the Post did for the public release of hundreds of other documents that it argued Trump had no “good cause” to file under a “blanket” protective order.
     In a response filed late Wednesday, Trump ticks off an eight-page list of reasons why he does in fact have good cause to request the deposition videos remain under wraps. But he takes it a step further, and requests the court modify the protective order for both San Diego class actions to prohibit the filing of any videotaped deposition, unless it remains under seal, and to bar the dissemination of any videotaped deposition.
     Trump claims the videos contain “irrelevant, inadmissible and prejudicial” evidence that is duplicative of the transcripts, which portions of are already available.
     “Owing to the danger that a video may create in eliciting bias on the part of its viewer, the court has a duty to prevent their disclosure because they can taint the jury pool,” according to the memorandum.
     Trump pointed out other courts have recognized videotapes are subject to a “higher degree of potential abuse than transcripts” by being taken out of context and “cut and spliced and used as soundbites,” which would continue in the “media frenzy certain to continue through the election.”
     He even compared himself to President Bill Clinton and President Ronald Regan, whose deposition testimony was protected during lawsuits while they were both sitting presidents.
     “The need to prevent such ‘sensationalism’ is particularly acute here because of Mr. Trump’s unique circumstances in running for President of the United States,” Trump’s memo states. “These same cautions and concerns apply with full force here to a presidential candidate whose every move is being covered by the media. Mr. Trump may be a sitting president by the time the Low case goes to trial, in which case these principles apply with even greater force.”
     Trump argued the deposition tapes may not even be used at trial and, if the tapes are released, they will be used to harass him as well as other deponents. He also argued that good cause exists to keep the tapes from the public spotlight because “video from a private legal dispute should not be used solely for the media or entertainment.”
     Not only did Trump compare himself to Clinton and Regan, but he compared the Trump University case to other high profile cases, most acutely zeroing in on a copyright and trademark infringement case brought by late musician Prince.
     In that case, Paisley Park Enterprises v. Uptown Productions, the court ordered videotaped deposition of Prince be used solely for the litigation and also stipulated no one was allowed to view, audit or copy the tapes.
     The same right to privacy afforded to Prince, should also be afforded to Trump, according to his most recent filing.
     “The public also has an interest in ensuring that each person in society — including well-known individuals such as Prince and Mr. Trump — has access to a fair and impartial judicial system ‘without having to pay too high a price of admission in the form of surrender of personal privacy’ through unnecessary disclosure,” Trump says in his June 15 memo supporting a motion to amend the protective order.
     A hearing on the motion to amend has been scheduled for June 30.

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