Attorney’s for billionaire Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump filed paperwork on Friday, aimed at blocking the release of part of Trump’s video deposition related to the ongoing Trump University class-action lawsuit.
Should the videos be made public, they could become a powerful anti-Trump campaign tool this fall.
A partial transcript of Trump’s deposition, which took place throughout December and January, was already released by order of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Trump has been on the defensive in recent weeks over comments he made regarding Judge Curiel’s fitness to preside over the case due to his Mexican heritage.
Larry J. Sabato, director of the University Center for Politics believes that the videos will illuminate Trump’s statements in a way that printed testimony cannot:
We all know Trump well enough now to imagine what he said and what his nonverbal cues were,” Sabato said. “Some people are controlled and calculated in their speech patterns, and you can’t tell that much more from watching them. It’s the opposite with Trump.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case argue that the videos are important because they reveal the “many spontaneous and ad hominem remarks” made by Trump that’s not accurately reflected in the transcripts.
The attorney’s argued in a written motion that the video will also reveal Trump’s facial expressions, tone, gestures, and body language which will serve to accentuate his “complete and utter unfamiliarity” with the University instructors, who Trump claimed he “hand-picked.”
If Curiel rules for the plaintiffs, the videos will become public record.
Attorney’s for CNN, The New York Times, Tribune Publishing, and other media companies, filed a motion seeking the public release of the complete transcript and all of Trump’s deposition videos.
However, Fred Smoller, an associate professor of political science at Chapman University believes it’s futile for Trump to fight the release of the videos:
If he opposes it, he looks like Richard Nixon during Watergate,” Smoller said. “When they come out, and they inevitably will, they will certainly be used by Hillary Clinton as examples of him lacking the temperament for the job.
The plaintiffs in the Trump University suit allege that they lost thousands of dollars in what many categorize as a sophisticated Ponzi scheme. The former students say they paid large sums of money for specialized real estate knowledge that turned out to be less than it’s advertised value.
Within the partial transcript released in recent days, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jason Forge, pressured Trump to identify his “hand-picked” university instructors. When Forge read off a list of names, Trump said again and again that he couldn’t remember because it had been “too many years.”
Forge also nailed Trump concerning statements he made on his blog a few years ago in which he wrote Bill Clinton was a “great president, and Hillary Clinton would “make a great president or vice president.”
Trump explained that it was just good business for a businessman to curry favor with powerful politicians. However he claimed that he’d since had a chance to think more deeply about politics and doesn’t believe Clinton was “a great president anymore because all of the scandal and the turmoil that he had.” Trump also said that he now feels Hillary lacks “the gravitas” to be the next president.
You would rather have them on your side, politicians,” Trump said, according to the transcript. “When you’re in business, you would like to have the politicians on your side…. You don’t want to say bad about them, ideally you don’t want to say badly.
It’s clear that the Trump campaign will have a lot of spinning to do should Judge Curiel rule in the plaintiff’s favor.
Featured image via Isaac Brekken/Stringer Getty.