Trump’s defense of Trump University fails the straight-face test

June 3, 2016

Donald Trump appears to be going down on his Trump University scam. He’s made two arguments this week in support of his claim of innocence. Both arguments fail to pass the straight-face test. As you all know, good lawyers can come up with all sorts of arguments in support of their client’s position in litigation. Tha’ts what good lawyers are paid to do. The straight-face test is a simple litmus test for determining whether to make a particular argument. Rule of thumb: Don’t make an argument if you can’t keep a straight face when you make it. These arguments are ridiculous.

The first argument is that Trump University was legitimate because 98% of the students gave the program the highest rating possible. That’s true, however, they filled out the evaluations in front of their instructors who asked them for the highest rating and this happened before the students were given their certificates and permitted to leave the main meeting room. In other words, the forms were not filled out anonymously and they filled them out with the expectation that they would soon learn Trump’s secrets to buying and selling real estate. That didn’t happen.

Instead instructors, many of whom knew little or nothing about real estate, have provided sworn statements that the school was a scam and they were told to focus on persuading people to spend more money for the advanced courses. They were also told to pressure the students into giving the favorable ratings before they took the actual courses.

The second argument is that Trump has produced three people who claim to have taken the courses and prospered. They do not qualify as independent witnesses, however, because they are in business with Donald Trump.

Trump announced today at a rally in San Jose that the school was so successful that he plans to reopen Trump University. I wouldn’t bet the ranch that will happen since New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and California Attorney General Kamala Harris are suing Trump for committing fraud with Trump University. They will shut him down if he tries to reopen it.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan finally endorsed Trump today despite the Trump University fiasco and this brings me to my final point. How can any Republican politician endorse Trump. He has dropped the mask with his overtly racist comments about United States District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who happens to have a Hispanic name, but was born and raised in Indiana. The Trump University case was assigned to him and the Donald hates him because he is doing his job.

As the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Trump is now the face of the party. That means the Republican Party now stands for racism, xenophobia, misogyny and hatred and conspiracy thinking. There is no way to separate Trump from his avid supporters. They are the Republican party.

If I were a Republican serving in the House or Senate, I would hold a press conference and announce that I was resigning from the Republican Party. It is, after all, the party of Abraham Lincoln. It’s the ethical thing to do.

Saying that you are going to vote for Trump because you can’t vote for Hillary is a cop out because it’s still a vote for Trump, who may well be the most vile, disgusting and least qualified human being to ever run for president.


Jose Baez should not comment about Zimmerman case

March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I do not believe it is appropriate for Jose Baez to comment publicly on the Zimmerman case for Channel 6 or any other form of media.

Since Baez represents Chris Serino, who was in charge of the investigation of Trayvon Martin’s death, he has a duty to vigorously represent Serino’s best interests at all times, even after he no longer actively represents him.

Baez also has a duty to maintain client confidentiality which precludes him from sharing inside information that he obtained from Serino.

I do not see any way that Baez can honestly and reasonable comply with his duties to his client while commenting as an independent expert regarding the investigation and the defendant’s likely guilt or innocence.

There will be times when his duties to his client prevent him from commenting honestly and independently about certain aspects of the case and he will have to cheat one way or the other when he expresses an opinion.

That situation creates a conflict of interest that violates the rules of professional responsibility.

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