Trump may have to leave campaign trail for court appearance

By Ann Marie Awad  |  Feb. 23, 2016 at 7:08 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A class-action lawsuit against Donald Trump over the now defunct Trump University is headed to trial, and Trump is among those slated to testify.

The suit, filed in 2013, claims Trump's school -- now called The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative -- scammed students out of thousands of dollars and never delivered on promises to make them wealthy real estate investors.

Yahoo News reported Tuesday that the last pretrial conference is scheduled for May 6, two months before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

There is no trial date yet, but court filings show Trump is scheduled to testify.

Trump has had to sneak away from the campaign trail once already because of the case. On Dec. 10, the day he caused a firestorm for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, he also gave a deposition in the case, according to court records. The deposition remains sealed.

Tarla Makaeff, the lead plaintiff in the case, is attempting to withdraw from the suit because she claims Trump has threatened to destroy her financially for bringing it in the first place.

Politico reported that a separate suit brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman involving Trump University is still pending.

Schneiderman brought the suit the same year Makaeff did after an investigation into the unaccredited, for-profit school that found "persistent fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct." Trump slammed the investigation at the time, even creating a website to combat Schneiderman's allegations.

The civil suit is seeking $40 million in damages from Trump on behalf of 5,000 people across the country who were persuaded to pay exorbitant fees "for a series of expensive courses that did not deliver on their promises."

The New York Times reported the investigation was prompted by several complaints from people who enrolled in Trump University.

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