A U.S. judge has rejected Republican nominee Donald Trump’s bid to drop a lawsuit by former students of Trump University that claim they were defrauded. San Diego U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said he would consider arguments from both sides of the case, and would issue a written ruling in the coming weeks.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2013 and is one amongst many filed against the university, was initiated by students who paid in excess of $35,000 to learn the New York billionaire’s secrets to investing from “hand-picked” instructors.
Trump was criticized in May for accusing Judge Curiel, who is of Mexican heritage, of being biased against him because of his pledge to construct a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Curiel, a U.S. citizen born in Indiana, is presiding over the two open cases against the university. One case is set to go to trial in November. A lawsuit by the New York attorney general is also pending.
The Republican nominee’s lawyers argue that the judge should toss out the lawsuit on grounds that Trump relied on executives to manage the university.
“By 2007, his involvement was fairly minimal,” said Daniel Petrocelli, Trump’s attorney, during the hearing. “He founded it, he established it, and he went off and let other people run it.” Petrocelli compared it to a “celebrity endorsement.”