NEW YORK – A New York court ruled Tuesday to bring to trial the lawsuit for fraud presented by the attorney general’s office against businessman and Republican presidential contender Donald Trump for operating a university without a license.
The ruling by Judge Cynthia Kern, who serves on the Manhattan Supreme Court, comes after last month the court rejected the lawsuit against Trump University, which according to the AG’s Office had no operating license and defrauded more than 5,000 consumers out of millions of dollars.
The magnate, who is the favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination, could be required to testify at the trial in the middle of the campaign, according to the office of New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has said the school used “bait-and-switch” tactics to get students to sign up for increasingly expensive seminars.
Trump, who stands accused along with the center’s former director, Michael Sexton, has defended himself by saying the institution has a 98 percent approval rating among its students, or customers, and that he could have settled the lawsuit out of court but chose not to do so for reasons of “principle.”
Schneiderman said in a statement that he was pleased the judge decided to move the case forward quickly given that thousands of people allegedly defrauded by Trump have waited years to have their day in court.
The controversial GOP frontrunner launched the university in 2005 and closed it down in 2010, changing its name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, given that the institution had no license to operate as a university.
The center offered courses in real estate and financial negotiating and charged up to $35,000 to students for tuition. It has been the target of other lawsuits in California, which also claims that it made empty promises to students in its advertising and promotional materials.
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