U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said on Wednesday he would take more time to decide whether video excerpts of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answering questions under oath about his Trump University seminars should be made public.
Curiel is overseeing two class-action lawsuits in San Diego over the real estate seminar venture. A separate fraud case by New York state’s attorney general is pending.
Trump has suggested Curiel is biased against him because of his campaign rhetoric about illegal immigration. Curiel was born in Indiana but is of Mexican descent.
On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers fought for release of the videos, arguing that they would be exploited during the presidential campaign.
“There’s all kinds of potential for mischief,” Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer for Trump, told Curiel.
Jason Forge, a lawyer for the students who claim they were misled and defrauded by Trump University, said Petrocelli could not point to any particular harm if the videos are released since transcripts are already public.
The lawsuits accuse Trump of bilking students who paid as much as $35,000 each to learn his real estate investment strategies. The students claim they learned little. Trump has claimed a majority of students were satisfied with the seminars.
If Curiel decides to make the video excerpts public, it may anger Republican lawmakers who have blasted the FBI over its handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation. FBI director James Comey told the House that his three-and-a-half-hour meeting with Clinton earlier this month was not recorded, per FBI policy.
“It’s pretty clear … that the American people would like to see what Hillary Clinton said to the FBI,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters last week.
Reporting by Marty Graham. Writing by Karen Freifeld and Jim Christie. Editing by Leslie Adler.