It has taken years of fighting the Donald Trump in court and coping with his special version of intimidation for victims of his scams to get their day in court. Throughout this campaign, one of Trump’s tactics has been to bully the competition away be it with below the belt attacks during debates or taunting tweets. He is using similar tactics, perhaps hoping he can intimidate the lawsuits away.
However, if former students of Trump University have their way, they might accomplish what Republicans wouldn’t. They might derail Trump’s political campaign.
The first suit was filed by New York’s Attorney-General, Eric Schneiderman in 2013. Schneiderman accuses the “university” of deceptive business practices, alleges false advertising including a claim that Trump handpicked instructors and consumers would receive access to provide financial sources i.e. “hard money lenders.”
Earlier this month, a New York Appeals court ruled that suit can proceed after rejecting Trump’s claim that the statute of limitations had run out.
Tarla Makaeff is a primary plaintiff in the second lawsuit, a federal class action, filed by former students of Trump’s so-called university.
The plaintiffs allege that Trump didn’t handpick instructors as suggested in the “University’s” advertising. Rather, they were independent contractors who were paid a commission to sell seminars and products. The plaintiffs goes on to accuse Trump University of “brainwashing schemes, outright fraud, grand larceny, identity theft, unsolicited taking of personal credit and trickery into (sic) opening credit cards.”
Makaeff’s begins in 2010 when she filed a lawsuit against Trump University for defrauding students and making false promises. That suit was dismissed.
However, her story reveals that Trump’s now familiar tactic of bullying and trolling is not restricted to politics. He used similar tactics to “discourage” Makaeff from holding him legally accountable for his “business practices.”
Trump sued her and, in a 2012 deposition, said he would sue “your law firm for as much as we can possibly do.”
In a court filing where Makaeff filed to be removed from the case she wrote:
“I am very concerned about the toll that the trial would take on my emotional and physical health and well-being.”
There is a basis for Makaeff’s concern. As reported in the Huffington Post, Trump used video to threaten potential future plaintiffs to the students’ lawsuit.
“The new Trump video sends a message to anyone else who may consider speaking out against the businessman or his shady endeavors: He will not hesitate to name you and tacitly encourage his millions of Twitter followers to find you.”
Of course, that doesn’t stop Trump-ets on Twitter from doing the same to current plaintiffs.
Meanwhile, Politico reports a lawyer for the plaintiffs asked the court to begin trying the case this summer, potentially forcing Trump to be in court when he’d rather be inciting riots at the Republican Convention.