Almost immediately after Donald Trump “won” last year’s election, he settled the infamous Trump University lawsuit for $25 million. At the time, he claimed it was so he could “focus on the presidency.” However, many folks, myself included, felt this was his way to avoid a very messy legal battle that would have likely carried over long after he was sworn into office. One which could have ultimately led to him being forced to testify publicly.
Furthermore, while it’s usually not good to be in a situation where you’re forced to settle a lawsuit — especially one for $25 million where you were accused of fraud — settling was still a better alternative than a court ultimately ruling Trump guilty of defrauding people out of thousands of dollars.
That’s not exactly a good look for a “president.” Especially one who’s already swamped with a litany of scandals and controversies.
Well, Trump might have a new reason to hate the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals if it rules in favor of Sheri Simpson, a woman who objects to the Trump University settlement.
According to John F. Banzhaf, a Professor of Public Interest at George Washington Law School writing for Law Newz:
That settlement could shortly be overturned by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – the same court which ruled against Trump’s travel bans – by a challenger who has already won a preliminary scrimmage, and now has the backing of about a dozen law professors who agree with her legal arguments.
Plaintiff Sheri Simpson claimed that she was unlawfully prevented from opposing the proposed settlement when it was before the trial judge for his approval.
Simpson said she does want to be bound by the settlement so she can take Trump to court over the alleged fraud.
This would ordinarily permit her to force Trump to testify under oath as part of her pre-trial discovery, and also demand that he produce relevant but still secret documents. It was widely believed that Trump – who is known for generally refusing to ever settle – agreed to pay some $25 million to avoid just such an embarrassment.
I don’t think I have to explain to anyone why this would be an absolute nightmare for Trump. If the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules against him — again — he’s going to go absolutely ballistic.
Trump’s settlement was the “easiest” way for him to address the lawsuit in a manner that spared him the most embarrassment and headache. Obviously he figured when he settled he would pay the money and move on. And I’m almost certain he didn’t want to be forced to testify in open court about a lawsuit pertaining to his attempt to scam people out of thousands of dollars.
If Ms. Simpson gets her way, that could be exactly what he’s forced to do.
While this lawsuit doesn’t have much in the way of a specific or direct impact on his “presidency,” it could be a rather embarrassing spectacle for someone who definitely doesn’t need any other controversies to contend with. It could also pave the way for confidential documents to be made public that Trump likely doesn’t want people to know about.
Either way, Trump is certainly hoping that the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals doesn’t rule in Simpson’s favor. The last thing Trump or his administration needs is another scandal to answer for with everything else he’s currently facing.