Trump lawyers channel Obama in court filing

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a news conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York

By Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When lawyers for Donald Trump asked a court to throw out one of the proposed class actions over Trump University, they backed it up with a financial disclosure meant to bolster the Republican presidential candidate’s credentials as a global businessman.

But the form they filed with the court was actually that of the man Trump hopes to succeed in the White House, Democratic President Barack Obama.

The president’s nine-page disclosure filed before his 2012 re-election was erroneously included as an exhibit to a motion Trump filed in April asking U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel for the Southern District of California to toss the case before trial, according to a person familiar with the case. A corrected exhibit was filed on Tuesday.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Jason Forge seized on the goof in a court document filed late on Friday opposing Trump’s motion. Forge said the candidate’s filing was meant for a court in “Bizarro world.”

“This is just one example of Trump’s statement’s complete lack of credibility,” Forge said.

Julie Fei, a spokeswoman for O’Melveny & Myers, the firm that has been representing Trump in the case, declined to comment.

In court filings, Trump’s lawyers said the form supported the “undisputed fact” that Trump is chairman, president and chief executive of the Trump Organization, which conducts business around the world and is affiliated with over 500 companies.

Instead, it showed Obama’s royalties from his memoir “Dreams from My Father” and disclosed the first family’s 2011 assets of between $2.6 million and $8.3 million.

Trump is facing two lawsuits in California and one in New York over Trump University that allege the series of real estate seminars taught students nothing and defrauded them of as much as $35,000 each in fees.

The presumptive Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election has raised the litigation on the campaign trail, calling the lawsuits baseless and politically motivated, and accusing the Indiana-born Curiel of being biased against him because of his Mexican ancestry.

Trump’s lawyers intended to file the 92-page financial disclosure form he made public last summer at the time he announced he was running for president. That lists some $1.4 billion in assets, including real estate and other holdings, and $265 million in liabilities. The disclosure does not note his net worth, which he has said is over $10 billion.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Anthony Lin and Peter Cooney)