Why Is Donald Trump So Angry at Judge Gonzalo Curiel? – The Atlantic

“Based on the foregoing, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have raised a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether Mr. Trump can be personally liable for the alleged misrepresentations and misconduct,” Curiel wrote about one of Trump’s assertions. “For example, Plaintiffs have provided evidence that Mr. Trump reviewed and approved all advertisements. These advertisements included the alleged core misrepresentations, such as that Mr. Trump ‘hand-picked’ the instructors and mentors.”

This doesn’t mean Curiel sided with the plaintiffs on the facts of the case. It  means that Curiel determined a factual dispute existed between Trump and the plaintiffs—nothing more, nothing less. He therefore denied summary judgment so a jury could weigh the evidence offered by each side and determine the facts of the case from it. Trump may not like Curiel’s decision, but it’s neither a surprising nor an egregious one.

Some Trump supporters have also criticized Curiel’s May 27 order to unseal some of the Trump University internal documents in the case. Those criticisms also seem to lack merit. Curiel’s order came in response to a public-interest motion filed in April by the Washington Post. The public is presumed to have the right to access court documents barring “compelling reasons” to keep them sealed, but Trump argued against their release by citing the existence of trade secrets within the internal “playbooks.”

After a line-by-line review, federal magistrate judge William Gallo found that “in isolation, nothing appears to be unique, proprietary, or revolutionary” about the documents. He also noted that the 2010 Trump University Playbook, which shared a large portion of its contents with the other documents, had already been made public two years ago. (The Atlantic even wrote at length about their contents in 2014.) Curiel agreed with Gallo’s findings and ordered the documents released with some redactions at around 12:40 p.m. local time. Trump launched a verbal tirade against Curiel at a rally across town later that night.

In short, if Curiel is a “hater of Donald Trump,” there is no evidence of it in this case. There’s nothing unusual or suspicious about his rulings so far in the lawsuits. While Curiel has allowed the case to proceed to trial, he has granted Trump some partial victories along the way on the size and scope of the cases. And instead of letting the trial unfold alongside Trump’s bid for the White House, Curiel delayed its start until after the election.

Indeed, what’s not in the public record is telling. Trump has publicly complained about Curiel since at least 2014, when one of his lawyers claimed Trump would ask Curiel to recuse himself based on his alleged (and unspecified) “animosity toward Mr. Trump and his views” after Curiel rejected his motion for dismissal. Almost two years later, no motion for recusal can be found on the docket of either case, then or now.


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