Trump’s hidden video deposition in Trump University fraud case
During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump was burdened with federal lawsuits that accused him and his Trump University of defrauding students who had paid thousands of dollars to learn the supposed secrets of Trump’s financial success. As part of the lawsuit, Trump sat for a contentious six-hour deposition in Trump Tower on December 10, 2015. He subsequently managed to get the court to seal the video recording of the session.
But Mother Jones has now obtained the full video of Trump’s deposition. The written transcript of the session was released in June 2016, but the video version includes several exchanges that likely would have not played well for Trump if they had become public when he was chasing votes. Had the video deposition been released during the campaign, it probably would have yielded ammo for anti-Trump ads.
The video shows Trump parrying with the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Jason Forge, over various issues, including false statements made by Trump University employees and Trump’s own memory. Trump at one point griped, “It’s the most ridiculous lawsuit I’ve ever seen.” He claimed not to remember having boasted that he possessed one of the best memories in the world and repeatedly said he could not recall matters related to the fraud case. He downplayed false and misleading statements presented by Trump University instructors as merely “hyperbole,” refusing to label them “false.” He even disavowed a passage from one of his own books in which he had assailed educational institutions for committing “fraud.”
Mother Jones was provided the video by a source who asked not to be identified. Art Cohen, who was a lead plaintiff in one of the lawsuits against Trump University and Trump, confirmed that this was the actual video of the deposition. (Last month, Mother Jones posted a video of a conversation that occurred during a break in these proceedings between Trump and Dan Petrocelli, Trump’s attorney, in which Trump boasted of threatening the Better Business Bureau to change the D grade it awarded Trump University to an A.)
Trump University shut down in 2010. Though Trump vowed during the 2016 campaign that he would never settle the Trump U lawsuits, days after the 2016 election, he did just that. He paid the students $25 million, without acknowledging any wrongdoing.
00:44 Trump’s memory: best in the world?
02:07 The name game
07:00 Trump can’t name one instructor
07:27 “I’ve heard good things.”
08:27 Trump praises Hillary Clinton
14:59 Trump’s fraud flip-flop
17:58 Trump won’t call a lie a lie
21:45 Another lie Trump won’t acknowledge
25:53 Doing “well” by losing