EXCLUSIVE: In the middle of playing wartime president against the coronavirus pandemic and facing re-election, Donald Trump took to the courts again Monday to make sure no one ever sees what really went on behind the scenes on The Apprentice.
“The Court should stay all proceedings before it pending Defendants’ appeal from the Court’s denial of their Motion to Compel Arbitration, because fundamental fairness requires it,” says a letter (read it here) sent from Trump family lawyer Joanna Hendon to U.S. District Court Judge Lorna Schofield seeking to wrap a legal shield around unseen footage from the NBC competition series, to which MGM owns the rights.
“Plaintiffs are now eight months into a third-party discovery campaign forbidden by the arbitration provisions to which they agreed – and to which Defendants have continually objected since August. The resulting prejudice to Defendants is obvious and incalculable” the Spears & Imas attorney adds, less than a week after the federal judge ordered the long-sought Apprentice video made public and rejected Trump and MGM’s desire to move the class action behind closed doors.
“The public interest also favors a stay,” Hendon argues for the former Apprentice host and his fellow defendants, along with offspring Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric. “This litigation concerns a private dispute that does not directly implicate any public entity or public interest that might counsel against a stay.”
The Trumps and the Trump Corporation were sued in October 2018 by four anonymous individuals on claims that they allegedly falsely encouraged people to invest in ACN’s video phone service over the 2005-2015 run of The Apprentice. As well as being dubious unto itself, ACN turned out to be lining the pockets of the Trumps to endorse their product – something that all parties concerned left unsaid all those years.
The main lawyer for Jane Doe, Mary Moe, Richard Roe and Luke Loe, as they are known, was quickly to wave off this new effort to stop and halt the lawsuit.
“Today’s appeal and stay request is at least the fifth attempt by the Defendants to stop this case in its tracks,” plaintiffs’ lead lawyer Roberta Kaplan told Deadline today after Team Trump made their latest moves. “But as the Court has already explained in its well-reasoned decision last week, there is no basis to compel arbitration in this case,” the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund co-founder added. “As a result, like the others from the past, we believe that this effort too will fail. Following the Court’s important rulings next week, we look forward to continuing with document discovery and depositions, as we gather the evidence to deliver justice for our clients and thousands of others like them who were defrauded by the Trumps.”
Over the years, rumors have persisted that Trump can be seen and heard on Apprentice footage using highly inappropriate language, to put it very politely. Despite several attempts to have the behind-the-scenes material from the Mark Burnett-EP’d series released, this court action has proven the closest to successful so far – though this appeal could see that hit a legal cul-de-sac soon if permitted.