The suit, which was scheduled to be heard by Judge Gonzalo Curiel on Nov. 28, would be the first such trial for a president-elect, and Trump’s attorneys said Thursday that it would put too much on Trump’s plate, given his already mammoth task of assembling an administration by inauguration day.
“We’re in uncharted territory,” Trump attorney Daniel Petrocelli said, according to the Washington Post, later citing “very difficult circumstance for a sitting president—more so, I would say, for a president-elect.”
“This has been a gut-wrenching campaign, as everybody knows, and the nation is just beginning the long healing process,” he told reporters later, according to the same report. “And I think the last thing we need right now is to have a trial about events that occurred six years ago or seven years ago, in which Mr. Trump—President-elect Trump—is a personal defendant in matters completely unrelated to the momentous obligations that he now needs to deal with.”
The Post reports Trump's lawyers want the trail postponed until February or March of 2017.
The trial is one of two class-action suits Trump faces over his real estate seminars. In both cases, former students allege they paid up to $35,000 for courses which did not have the instructors nor meet the depth they were promised. USA Today reports Trump faces as many as 75 pending lawsuits as he assumes the presidency.
When Judge Curiel urged both sides to consider, “given all else that's involved,” settling the case out of court—a resolution which flies in the face of Trump’s repeated, if incorrect, claim that he never settles cases—Petrocelli showed interest.
“I can tell you right now: I am all ears, your honor,” he said of the suggestion, according to the Post.
Earlier on Thursday, Curiel said he would allow statements made by Trump during the presidential campaign in the trial.
Trump addressed the Trump University fraud case frequently in stump speeches, and even went after Judge Curiel himself, saying he would be unable to preside over the case fairly because his parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico.