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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 11, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 46
Trump on trial

President-elect faces fraud charges, possible ACLU actions
Section One
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Trump on trial

President-elect faces fraud charges, possible ACLU actions

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Donald Trump will go on trial for fraud before his inauguration on January 20.

Trump is facing both federal charges and a New York state action in connection with Trump University, which former students charge was a scam designed to bilk enrollees of thousands of dollars apiece.

While US presidents are immune from prosecution for their official acts, they may be hauled into court to answer criminal or civil complaints arising from private conduct or business disputes. If they are found guilty, they are not automatically removed from office, but convictions might trigger impeachment proceedings.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on November 9 that he will press ahead with his action against Trump in spite of the election results.

'The Trump University litigation continues to move through the appellate process,' Schneiderman spokesperson Amy Spitalnick said in a statement.

The case in New York is running in parallel to a federal case in California. The continued litigation of both means that for the first time in the modern era, a president will likely take the oath of office facing ongoing prosecution.

Donald Trump failed to persuade a federal judge to postpone a Nov. 28 trial in which he'll face former enrollees in his real-estate seminars who claim they were cheated.

In the federal case, US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said in September that the trial date of November 28 would go ahead as scheduled.

Trump's lawyer, Dan Petrocelli, had asked for a delay until January because he has another case going to trial at the same time.

'Defense counsel had multiple opportunities to raise the issue with the court prior to August 26, 2016, but did not do so,' the judge said.

Curiel scheduled the Trump University trial for November 28 so the case could be decided after the presidential election but before a possible Trump inauguration.

The Trump University case scheduled for trial is one of two class actions filed by former students who claim they were cheated into paying as much as $35,000 for real-estate investment seminars.

The students say they were lured by false promises that the seminars would be taught by instructors who were hand-picked by Trump and that they would learn the billionaire's investment secrets.

Meanwhile, the ACLU warned Trump they will 'see him in court' with its 'full firepower' if he tries to follow through on controversial campaign promises on mass deportations, torture, and other human rights violations

'These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional,' Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in a statement Wednesday.

'They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step.'

The ACLU specifically called out Trump's promises to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, ban Muslims from entering the country, surveil Muslim communities, punish women for getting abortions, reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture, and change the country's libel laws.

If Trump pursues any of those policies, Romero said, the ACLU's lawyers, activists, volunteers, and supporters 'are ready to fight.'

'One thing is certain: we will be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency, and when you leave the Oval Office, we will do the same with your successor,' Romero said.

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