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Judge tells Trump University litigants they would be wise to settle

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The U.S. judge overseeing the lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump and his Trump University told both sides they would be wise to settle the case “given all else that’s involved.”

Lawyers for the president-elect are squaring off against students who claim they were they were lured by false promises to pay up to $35,000 to learn Trump’s real estate investing “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors. 

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Earlier on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel tentatively rejected a bid by Trump to keep a wide range of statements from the presidential campaign out of the fraud trial.

Trump owned 92 percent of Trump University and had control over all major decisions, the students’ court papers say. The president-elect denies the allegations and has argued that he relied on others to manage the business.

Trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 28, but in the hearing on Thursday, Trump lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said he would ask to put the trial on hold until early next year, in light of the many tasks the magnate has before his inauguration.

“It would be wise for the plaintiffs, for the defendants, to look closely at trying to resolve this case given all else that’s involved,” Curiel said. He added that he would allow Trump to testify via video given his obligations.

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In the tentative ruling Curiel, based in San Diego, said Trump’s lawyers can renew objections to specific campaign statements and evidence during trial. Trump’s attorneys had argued that jurors should not hear about statements Trump made during the campaign, including about Curiel himself.

Trump attacked the judge as biased against him. He claimed Curiel, who was born in Indiana but is of Mexican descent, could not be impartial because of Trump’s pledge to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

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Trump’s lawyers argued that Curiel should bar from the trial accusations about Trump’s personal conduct including alleged sexual misconduct, his taxes and corporate bankruptcies, along with speeches and tweets. They argued the information is irrelevant to the jury and prejudicial to the case.

In court papers, lawyers for the students claimed that Trump’s statements would help jurors as they weigh the Republican’s credibility.

“Defendants have not identified specific evidence that they wish to exclude,” Curiel wrote on Thursday. “Accordingly, the court declines to issue a blanket ruling at this time.”

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The judge also barred Trump lawyers from telling jurors that the university had a 98 percent approval rate on student evaluations. That rating is irrelevant as to whether Trump University misrepresented itself, Curiel wrote.

California judges often issue tentative rulings, which are then finalized after a hearing with few major changes.

Curiel is presiding over two cases against Trump and the university. A separate lawsuit by New York’s attorney general is pending.

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(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Diego and Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Peter Henderson and Cynthia Osterman)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump approves of North Korea missile tests: ‘I have no problem’ because they’re just ‘short-range missiles’

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On Thursday, in conversation with reporters, President Donald Trump said that he had 'no problem' with North Korea's new round of missile tests.

"Short-range missiles, we never made an agreement on that," said Trump. "I have no problem, we'll see what happens, but these are short-range missiles. They're very standard."

The thought that short-range missiles would still be capable of hitting our allies in the region, like South Korea and Japan, does not seem to have occurred to him.

Watch below:

Trump says he has "no problem" with North Korea testing missiles because they are just "short-range missiles" that are "very standard." pic.twitter.com/fdKtQ6yrBE

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Elections 2016

Russian Twitter propaganda predicted 2016 US election polls

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When Robert Mueller completed his long-awaited investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, he left many questions unanswered.

But one conclusion was unequivocal: Russia unleashed an extensive campaign of fake news and disinformation on social media with the aim of distorting U.S. public opinion, sowing discord and swinging the election in favor of the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

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Elections 2016

Beto O’Rourke calls for a ‘war tax’ in release of health care plan for veterans

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The Democratic presidential candidate uses his eighth policy announcement to focus on an area that he prioritized in Congress.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Monday morning released a plan to improve the lives of veterans, returning to an area of priority during his time in the U.S. House for his latest 2020 policy rollout.

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