A MANHATTAN judge today ordered MGM and the Trump family to release hundreds of hours of unaired footage taken during the Celebrity Apprentice.
The president, The Trump Corporation, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump are being sued by four unnamed former investors.
U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan on Thursday ordered hundreds of hours of unaired footage to be shown to entrepreneurs who claim that they were ripped off by Trump and his children.
They allege that the Trumps repeatedly endorsed a troubled multilevel marketing company on the reality-TV show.
The Trumps were slammed by the judge when they attempted to move to arbitration yesterday after using the court system for months to gain access to documents from the plaintiffs.
Schofield slapped the Trumps down, telling them they couldn’t benefit from the arbitration clause in the plaintiffs’ contracts with ACN as they weren't a party to that contract.
The judge went on to say that the availability of the tapes was "appropriate" during the telephone hearing.
She asked MGM, who is not a named party in the case, to negotiate a way to hand over the tapes and let the plaintiffs see them.
This marks the first time outsiders will get a chance to view footage that was not publicly broadcast by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
There have been numerous efforts to gain access to the coveted footage, including a current attempt by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos who says the now-president sexually assaulted her in 2007 during filming.
An investigative series “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes” by Tom Arnold, who was a previous contestant on the show, alleged that Trump was known to make sexist and 'racially insensitive' comments on set, but was unsuccessful.
The tapes that are to be handed over contain hundreds of hours of recordings from two episodes in which the principals of the marketing company, ACN Opportunity LLC, were on-set guests, according to a Bloomberg report.
Donald Trump and his three oldest children were sued in 2018 for their roles in promoting ACN, which turned out to be a multi-level marketing company, from 2005 to 2015 during which the Trumps allegedly convinced investors that they would see little or no risk in the company’s desktop video phone.
However the service bombed as soon as smartphones hit the market, making the desktop video phones obsolete and costing the plaintiffs hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the Trumps' advice and encouragement.
ACN still exists, promising "more choices for consumers and a remarkable business opportunity for you" on their site.
MGM, which took ownership of the popular program before Trump was elected, has argued for months that complying with subpoenas from the plaintiffs would be painstaking because of the outdated technology and filing systems used for the episodes.
The studios argued the tapes weren't relevant to the suit because the complaint is centered on what was broadcast on the show, calling the request a "speculative fishing expedition".
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Trump and his children have denied wrongdoing, while the president rubbed salt in investors' wounds, calling his past endorsements of ACN “puffery” that no reasonable investor would have relied upon.
The plaintiff's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said: “We look forward to continuing to gather the evidence to deliver justice for our brave clients, and thousands of others like them who were defrauded by the Trumps.”
The family has not made comment on the content of the tapes however their lawyer said she plans to appeal the judge’s Wednesday refusal to force the dispute into arbitration.
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