The lawyers in the Trump University case have made their arguments for whether or not the judge in the federal civil suit should move the trial until after the next president is inaugurated.
Over the weekend, lawyers for President elect-Donald Trump argued that the case should be postponed because Trump is now preoccupied with his transition to the White House.
Their brief includes nearly 500 pages of exhibits, which outline the decisions that are part of a presidential transition. They include pages of appointments to dozens of agencies and precedents for revoking or installing executive orders.
In a hearing last week, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel urged both sides to settle. Still, he has scheduled the trial for Nov. 28. In a motion filed Monday, lawyers representing the clients of Trump University argued the trial should continue as scheduled. They argue Trump has already sat for videotaped depositions, and that he will be even busier after his inauguration.
In May, Trump famously called Judge Curiel "a hater," and suggested in an interview that Curiel was biased against him based on his heritage, saying "I have a Mexican judge. He’s of Mexican heritage. He should have recused himself, not only for that, for other things."
The Trump University lawsuit isn’t the only civil case Trump is involved in. And his legal entanglements put him, and the country, in an unusual position. An analysis by USA Today finds Trump has dozens of open cases to contend with. Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson says that, depending on how those play out, we could see more to come.
“I think that this could be the next line of attack against Donald Trump," she says. "Which is people saying I have a claim, I’ve been civilly wrong and I want to sue the president or president-elect, and he’s going to want to make this go away.”
It’s not often a president is involved in a lawsuit unrelated to his official position. During his term, former President Bill Clinton was sued by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones for sexual harassment.
In deciding whether Clinton could be sued in the '90s, the United States Supreme Court ruled presidents don’t have immunity from private lawsuits. The suit moved forward and Clinton ultimately settled with Jones.
Chapman University law professor John Eastman says it’s a bit unusual that Trump is facing so many lawsuits, but he says you have to put them in the context of his business dealings.
"“It’s hard to be in business these days without lawsuits on an ongoing basis," he says. "And one suspects that he’s got a good team of lawyers dealing with each of the entities that is involved in those lawsuits that it probably won’t be much of a distraction, if anything, for him.”
Eastman says Trump would have to use private attorneys for his defense, not White House counsel.