Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been ordered to stand trial in an investigation over fraud and racketeering charges related to Trump University.
Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel — the same judge whom Trump said was biased against him due to the Indiana native’s Mexican ancestry and Trump’s controversial positions on border security — is ordering Trump to stand trial immediately after the election in November as part of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) investigation surrounding Trump University. Judge Curiel denied Trump’s motion for summary judgment in the Cohen v. Trump case, which alleges Trump University was part of a massive racketeering scheme.
Former Trump University students who paid $1,500 for a three-day seminar and $35,000 for mentorship programs are accusing the GOP nominee of defrauding them out of thousands of dollars in a class-action lawsuit. The latest ruling from Judge Curiel means their case will now be heard by a jury.
Should the billionaire New York real estate magnate lose the case, he stands to lose tens of millions of dollars in civil penalties, as RICO charges require the defendant to pay out triple the amount in damages to plaintiffs in addition to paying for plaintiffs’ legal fees. However, the silver lining for Trump in Curiel’s judgment is that the videos of his deposition won’t be made public before the election, though the transcripts have already been unsealed as of May 27.
While RICO was originally written to fight against organized crime, it is also used to target corporations allegedly engaging in fraudulent behavior. RICO has also been used on anti-abortion groups who obstruct access to abortion clinics. Judge Curiel has previous judicial experience in dealing with organized crime, having taken on Mexican drug cartels and earning praise from former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Source: U.S. Uncut