Update: Buzzfeed posted Friday Donald Trump’s video deposition from his lawsuit against restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian, who he sued for backing out of plans to open a restaurant in Trump’s new hotel in Washington. Buzzfeed intervened in the case with a motion seeking to obtain the video. The judge in the case, D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman, on Friday, ordered its release.
Watch the video — which has been posted in two parts– below:
At around 44:30 in the first video, the lawyer deposing Trump brings up the comments he made when announcing his presidential run, and particularly what he said about Mexican immigrants. Trump, defending the comments, says illegal immigration is a “very big topic in this country.”
“And which is a topic that, you know, has led to my nomination in a major party in the country,” he says. “So it’s not a very out-there topic.”
Trump says the campaign announcement speech was not written ahead of time, but that he planned in advanced what he was going to say.
“I got more votes than anybody in the history of the Republican Party primaries, by a lot, and you know that’s pretty mainstream,” Trump says.
At around 47:05 in the video, Trump says the comments might even help Zakarian’s business.
“It’s possible — possible that I’ll help him as opposed to hurt him,” Trump says.
The conversation moves on to the other businesses that have cut ties with Trump for his comments.
“I think they made a mistake. I think they feel they might have made a mistake, but you’ll have to ask them,” Trump says, referring to Univision terminating its relationship with him. “But I guess they didn’t like my comments.”
In the second video, the comments Trump made smearing the Mexican heritage of a judge presiding over a separate lawsuit against his now-defunct Trump University are brought up at around 8:25. Trump’s lawyer objects to the line of questioning, but eventually the deposing attorney is allowed to continue. She asks whether those comments could prompt a Latino or person of Mexican heritage to be biased against Trump.
“I think in many cases they like me,” Trump says at around the 11:00 mark. “Because what I’m doing is for the people that are in the country legally.”
At around 20:50, Trump is presented media reports of Zakarian’s withdrawal from the hotel project and Trump is asked about the statement his team released at the time calling the chef’s decision “opportunistic.”
Trump is at 22:15 asked whether he thinks the chef could have genuinely thought Trump’s comments would make it harder to hire restaurant staff, and Trump says yes, but adds that Zakarian signed a lease.
“And I’ve been saying these things for years. I’ve been very consistent,” Trump says. “I’ve been saying them from before he signed the lease.”
A federal judge presiding over a lawsuit Donald Trump filed against a celebrity chef who withdrew his restaurant from a Trump hotel over the GOP nominee’s anti-Latino rhetoric said Thursday that video of a deposition Trump gave in June may be released to the public, Politico reported.
The transcript for the deposition, which is already public, shows Trump testifying about remarks he’s made about Mexicans and other Latinos while on the campaign trail. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in his order Thursday that Trump “has not demonstrated that any subject video deposition contains scandalous, libelous, or other unduly prejudicial material warranting denial of media access,” according to the report.
Politico reported the video could be released as soon as Friday.
In other cases involving Trump, judges have been hesitant to release deposition videos. But Holeman pointed out that in this case, there is no jury that stands to be influenced by the video or how it may be used in the presidential campaign.
“Here, in the absence of a jury trial, any concerns of undue prejudice arising from selection of jurors are baseless,” the judge wrote, according to the report.
A Trump hotel group filed a lawsuit against the company affiliated with celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian in August 2015, after Zakarian backed out from opening a restaurant in Trump’s hotel at the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, D.C. Trump is engaged in a separate legal battle with culinary star José Andrés, who also nixed his restaurant plans for the new Trump property due the tenor of his presidential campaign.