Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer must hand over unaired tapes from Donald Trump’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” as part of a marketing scam lawsuit filed against the Trump family, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
The lawsuit, first filed in 2018 by four unnamed entrepreneurs, accuses Trump and his children Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka of misleading the plaintiffs into investing in ACN, a multilevel marketing company that charged investors $499 to sell its products, without disclosing that they were paid to endorse the company. Upon following the Trumps’ recommendations, the plaintiffs claim, they lost thousands of dollars as a result.
The judge’s ruling will allow the lawsuit’s plaintiffs to view hours of unaired footage from two episodes that feature executives from ACN.
Unaired footage of “Celebrity Apprentice” plays into another host of accusations against Trump. For several years, former contestants have alleged that there are tapes of Trump saying racist and sexist comments while on “Celebrity Apprentice” — tapes that had become highly sought-after by journalists and even led to an unsuccessful attempt by actor Tom Arnold to get a hold of the footage that was filmed into a docu-series. It’s unclear what the tapes to be handed over in regards to Thursday’s ruling will yield for this situation, and “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett and Trump have denied the existence of such footage.
In Thursday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield ruled that MGM — the majority owner of the show — must “make available” to the plaintiffs the video footage. The plaintiffs will have to “bear the reasonable costs of production,” but the parties will confer before the costs are incurred, Schofield wrote.
A spokesperson for MGM, which is not a defendant in the lawsuit, and an attorney for the Trumps did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.
On Wednesday, the judge also denied the Trumps’ request to move the lawsuit into arbitration and said they were trying to manipulate the rules of procedure. A lawyer for the Trumps said that they would appeal the decision.