Trump University is embroiled in a lawsuit for allegedly defrauding its students. Last week the U.S. District Court Judge in the case, Gonzalo Curiel, has allowed the unsealing of documents that the defense claimed were trade secrets. Obviously the judge did not agree.
So Trump has gone on the offensive. At a rally this weekend he said of the case that “there should be no trial. This should have been dismissed on summary judgment easily, everybody says it. But I have judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater.” He went on to say that “the judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine.” You can almost hear the hesitation in his voice as he knows what he is about to say is offensive and irrelevant, but he just can’t help himself so he back pedals with “which is great.” Judge Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana and his parents immigrated from Mexico.
Trump also took issue with the fact that Curiel was appointed by President Obama, saying “we’re in front of a very hostile judge. The judge was appointed by Barack Obama.” Presumably Donald Trump would like to pick his own judges in the fraud cases where he is a defendant.
Of course Donald Trump took to Twitter to air his grievances, and he doubled down on his vitriol on Monday towards the respected U.S. District Court Judge:
Charles Geyh, a legal ethics expert at the Indiana University stated in a Reuters article that “Mr. Trump’s conduct could be subject to sanction for indirect criminal contempt of court…He has impugned the honesty of the judge in a pending case, and has done so in the context of a political rally that seems calculated to intimidate by inciting anger among his supporters.” A contempt of court summons would put a crimp in a Presidential campaign, though that Reuters article said it was unlikely that Trump would be formally sanctioned.
Judge Curiel has stayed largely silent on the matter, though he did admit that Trump’s candidacy played into his decision to publicize the documents, saying that Trump is “the front-runner in the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue.”