A federal judge has ruled that MGM must release unaired footage from “The Celebrity Apprentice” tied to a multilevel marketing scam allegedly endorsed by Donald Trump and his children, Bloomberg News reports.
The ruling came after several entrepreneurs claimed in a lawsuit that they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after President Trump and his children endorsed a multilevel marketing company on the reality show prior to the president’s election.
U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield of the Southern District of New York on Thursday told MGM to find a way for the plaintiffs to access hundreds of hours of recordings from two episodes of the show, when principals of the marketing company ACN Opportunity LLC were guests on the set, according to multiple reports.
Trump and three of his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, were sued in 2018 over their promotion of the marketing company from 2005 to 2015, during which Trump allegedly suggested that people could invest in a video phone from the company with little to no risk, Bloomberg News first reported. The Trumps have been accused of not disclosing that they were paid to endorse the company.
The plaintiffs, who are four unidentified individuals, claim that the Trumps urged people to become independent business owners for ACN Opportunity. The Trumps promoted the move on episodes of “Celebrity Apprentice,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Plaintiffs claim that they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars by trusting the promotion
“It seems appropriate the tapes be made available,” Schofield said at the end of a teleconference heating. The judge called on the plaintiffs and MGM to negotiate a release of the tapes.
Schofield Wednesday denied the Trumps’ attempt to move the case to arbitration and knocked them for seeking the move after gaining access to documents from the plaintiffs, Bloomberg News reported.
“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 plaintiffs’ attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement.
The president and his children have previously denied wrongdoing. Trump has called his past endorsements of ACN “puffery,” Bloomberg reported.
Joanna Hendon, the attorney representing the Trumps, declined to comment on the video footage to the outlet. However, she said she plans to appeal the judge’s Wednesday decision denying the move into arbitration.