Lawyer seeks to delay Trump University trial until after inauguration

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Real estate mogul Donald Trump (R) speaks as university president Michael Sexton (L) looks on during a news conference announcing the establishment of Trump University May 23, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — A lawyer for President-elect Donald Trump told a federal judge Thursday that he plans to file a motion to postpone trial of a class-action lawsuit involving the now-defunct Trump University from Nov. 28 until months after the inauguration.

The six-year-old lawsuit alleges that Trump University falsely gave the impression that it was accredited, that students would be taught by experts hand-picked by Trump and that they would receive a year of mentoring.

The suit alleges that some students were duped into paying as much as $35,000 to learn real estate secrets, while Trump’s lawyers have countered that many students gave the real estate program positive ratings and those who failed to succeed had only themselves to blame.

Trump attorney Daniel Petrocelli told U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel that Trump has only 70 days to prepare to run the country and make key appointments to his cabinet.

Petrocelli said it was unclear whether Trump would be able to attend the trial in person.

“If he’s not here, I think it’s a big disadvantage,” Petrocelli said after the hearing.

The attorney said he needs to speak to Trump about resolving the case before trial.

Curiel said District Judge Jeffrey Miller has offered to meet with both sides to try to settle the suit, and attorneys said they would meet with Miller and try to reach a resolution.

Plaintiff attorney Patrick Coughlin said Trump is a named defendant in the case, but they cannot force him to appear in person.

“That’s up to him,” Coughlin said after the hearing.

Curiel, for his part, said he plans to begin jury selection on Nov. 28 and start with evidence two days later.

Coughlin said the trial should take about two weeks.

“We’re ready to go now,” Coughlin said.

Curiel heard arguments on motions to exclude certain evidence from the trial, including who will be allowed to testify.

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