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Judge Unseals, Reseals Docs in Trump University Class Action Lawsuit

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 01, 2016 2:02 PM

In response to requests from The Washington Post, the federal judge in a class action lawsuit against Donald Trump's Trump University ordered several documents in the case to be unsealed, and then tried to claw some of those documents back from public view. At issue were the university's "playbooks," or guides for salespeople on how to aggressively market Trump's real estate and investment training courses.

So what do these documents reveal, and what is their current status? You can see the judge's full order here.

Fraudulent For-Profit

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled that Trump "failed to articulate 'compelling reasons' for the material to remain sealed" and that the Post made a strong argument that public interest in the case was sufficient to make the documents public. Those documents were Trump University's 2009 Playbook, 2010 Playbook, Field Team Playbook, and Sales Playbook, as well as depositions from Trump University managers and executives.

According to NPR, the playbooks include sales tips, expense report guidelines, and even notes on dealing with the media. University sales representatives were told, "You don't have to deliver what the reporter wants," and, "Money is never a reason for not enrolling in Trump University ... if they really believe in you and your product, they will find the money." And a former Trump U sales manager allegedly admitted, "I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money."

Too Much Information

While Judge Curiel initially ruled that the Post's motion to unseal the docs should be granted, he later said some documents were "mistakenly" released, and ordered them resealed and resubmitted with sections blacked out. At this time, it is unclear which documents the judge has attempted to claw back, and which sections will be obscured.

Here is the judge's initial order:

Art Cohen v. Donald J. Trump by FindLaw

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