Judge Rejects Trump's Bid to Exclude Campaign Controversy From Trump University Trial

The trial begins Nov. 28 in San Diego.
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Donald Trump

On Donald Trump's path to the White House, he'll have to make a detour on Nov. 28 to San Diego to face claims in a civil lawsuit of duping Trump University students. At the coming trial, a reprisal of many of the most incendiary elements of his presidential campaign may occur.

In advance of a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel put out a tentative ruling that denied a motion by Trump's lawyer to exclude all evidence and arguments relating to the events of the presidential primaries and general election.

In an Oct. 20 motion, Daniel Petrocelli wrote, "The media have reported on every aspect of Mr. Trump’s life from his long background and history in business and his work in television, to his wife, daughters and sons, charitable foundation, taxes, and even the Miss Universe pageant."

The attorney went on to argue that matters concerning the candidate's character and controversial behavior carry a danger of "extreme and irremediable prejudice," potentially tainting Trump's right to a fair trial.

Brian Cochran, the attorney who will be arguing the case that Trump made misrepresentations by among other things vouching that Trump University teachers were personally "handpicked," objected and even compared the logic to Alec Baldwin's imitation of Trump on Saturday Night Live.

"Trump cannot be allowed to bar from trial, without reference to a single specific statement or grounding in precedent, his own well-documented melange of misrepresentations, falsehoods and flip-flops, as such statements are textbook impeachment evidence appropriate for trial," wrote Cochran.

Judge Curiel seems to agree.

"Defendants have not identified specific evidence that they wish to exclude," states the tentative order. "Accordingly, the Court declines to issue a blanket ruling at this time and is prepared to DENY Defendants’ motion without prejudice. Defendants may renew their objection to specific testimony at trial."

During the campaign, Curiel's own rulings were subject to venom by Trump, who argued that a Hispanic judge was being hostile to him. The comment about Curiel's supposed roots (he's actually from Indiana) generated widespread criticism even in Republican quarters.

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