Donald Trump wants to bar any of his statements on the campaign trail – including his tweets, stump speeches and surrogate statements – from being used as evidence against him in the fraud trial over Trump University.
The lawyers representing Trump in the federal lawsuit brought against him for allegedly defrauding Trump U students requested in court documents Thursday that any political remarks he has made over the course of his presidential campaign be excluded as evidence from trial, which is set to begin in San Diego after the election.
As part of the request, they have also asked that evidence related to his “tax issues,” “personal conduct accusations,” beauty pageants, casinos, bankruptcies and other matters that have emerged as a part of his presidential bid be left out at trial.
They also asked that “Comments about this case or the Court” be excluded. Trump engaged on a public smear campaign against the federal judge presiding over the case, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who Trump accused of bias due to his “Mexican” heritage.
“During the current Presidential campaign, Mr. Trump has been the focus of perhaps unprecedented media coverage and public interest. His politics, policies, opinions, and views have been reported virtually every day in every form of media over the past year,” the court filing said, noting the debates and the media reports on “on every aspect of Mr. Trump’s life.”
“Before trial begins in this case, prospective members of the jury will have the opportunity to cast their vote for President. It is in the ballot box where they are free to judge Mr. Trump based on all this and more,” the motion continued. “But it is in the jury box where they must judge him and this case only on evidence and argument relevant to the issues at hand. “
It is common for lawyers to wrangle before trial over what evidence is admissible. The broad swath of topics Trump’s attorneys have sought to exclude in this case reflects how his presidential run has complicated the litigation surrounding his business ventures.
The motion noted that in the case’s pretrial stages the judge said he was sensitive to the fact that “some events that have coincided with the election campaign process” could influence the jury.
The Trump motion goes on to argue, “Evidence and argument relating to matters publicized during the presidential campaign, including statements by and about Mr. Trump, have no relevance to the issues before the jury and are otherwise inadmissible. “
Read the full motion below: