SAN DIEGO (AP) – A federal judge on Tuesday scheduled a hearing to consider President-elect Donald Trump’s request to delay a civil fraud trial involving his now-defunct Trump University until after his inauguration on Jan. 20.
Trump’s attorneys said in a court filing that preparations for the White House are “critical and all-consuming.” Six months ago, when they unsuccessfully sought a delay until after Inauguration Day, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli said the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to a trial during the campaign.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel will consider arguments Friday – 10 days before the trial is scheduled to begin. The class-action lawsuit by former customers alleges that Trump University misled them on its promise to teach success in real estate.
Curiel is eager to get the 6½-year-old case to trial and gave no sign that he was inclined to grant a delay during a hearing last week in which Petrocelli argued that demands of the transition justified putting it off until early next year.
“The task is momentous, exceedingly complex, and requires careful coordination involving the respective staffs and teams of both President (Barack) Obama and President-Elect Trump,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in a court filing on Saturday. “In fewer than three months, the President-Elect must be prepared to manage 15 executive departments, more than 100 federal agencies, 2 million civilian employees, and a budget of almost $4 trillion.”
Plaintiff attorneys oppose a delay, saying in a court filing on Monday that a lead plaintiff, Sonny Low, has medical issues and will be 75 years old when the trial begins.
“We do know that any delay would be a slippery slope because President-Elect Trump’s life is only going to get more complicated and unpredictable as time goes by,” they wrote.