Donald Trump’s targeting of judge in class action against Trump University draws ABA president’s ire

justiceAmerican Bar Association President Paulette Brown responded to Donald Trump’s statements about the federal judge in California overseeing the class action against Trump University by saying that levying personal criticism at a judge “crosses the line of propriety.”

Trump has accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of being a “hater,” because he is Mexican, and Trump wants to build a wall.  Actually, the Judge was born in Indiana.  Trump called the judge a “disgrace” and said he’s been railroaded by the legal system.  Judge Curiel is presiding over a false advertising class action in California federal court that alleges the now-defunct Trump University was just a fraudulent scheme that charged high fees for seminars but didn’t actually impart useful real estate investment information to its pupils.

Brown said that “while publicly criticizing judicial decisions is every person’s constitutional right, levying personal criticism at an individual judge and suggesting punitive action against that judge for lawfully made decisions crosses the line of propriety and risks undermining judicial independence.”

Brown did not name Trump in her statement.

Judge Curiel has ordered records in the case unsealed, including piles of documents used by the school to encourage the way live events are set up and recruitment is handled,  In granting the request to unseal the records, Judge Curiel called attention to Trump’s criticism of the proceedings in the case, saying that Trump’s public comments about the fairness of the suit weighed in favor of making the records public.

The case is Art Cohen et al. v. Donald J. Trump, case number 3:13-cv-02519, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.


Steve Larson
An experienced trial lawyer who handles both hourly and contingent fee cases, Steve has expertise in class actions, antitrust litigation, securities litigation, corporate disputes, intellectual property disputes, unfair competition claims, and disputes involving family wealth. Steve regularly represents individuals and businesses in federal and state court and has obtained class-wide recovery in multiple class actions. A veteran practitioner, Steve's clients value his creative approach to resolving complex litigation matters.


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