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Donald Trump Says Hispanic Judge in Trump University Case is Biased Against Him

On Fox News Sunday, Donald Trump argued that the judge overseeing a case filed by former students of Trump University is biased against him because of his comments about illegal immigrants and Mexico.

Trump said, "I think it has to do with perhaps the fact that I'm very, very strong on the border. Now he is Hispanic, I believe. He is a very hostile judge to me." U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego is presiding over a lawsuit filed against Trump University by former students who claim it deliver on its advertised promises such as professors selected by Trump.

Curiel was nominated by President Barack Obama and has been a U.S. judge since 2012. Curiel did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages to his courtroom seeking comment on Trump's arguments.

Tarla Makaeff is one of four named plaintiffs, two from California and one each from Florida and New York. The former students sued in 2010 saying they were cheated when they paid for real-estate seminars to receive "one-on-one mentorship, practical and fail-safe real estate techniques, a 'power team' consisting of real estate agents, lenders, personal finance managers, property managers and contractors."

On Sunday, Trump defended the school saying that 98 percent of students "approved the course, they thought they were terrific." In a Friday filing, Trump University's lawyers said that Makaeff had praised the school before she had financial incentive to change her story.

Trump also said that he could have settled the case but decided against it because he will win. A hearing on Makaeff's request to step down as lead plaintiff is set for March 11. Then, a final pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 6.

Photo: Max Goldberg

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