Angry Entrepreneurs Will Finally See Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ Outtakes

After more than a year of delays, a team of attorneys will finally make a trip to Los Angeles next month to review previously unseen and highly cautious outtakes. Celebrity apprentice—Looking for any evidence that the Trump family knew they were misleading people into investing in a scam.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York City ordered the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio to make the footage available in a secure location, which could end a long-running battle that is still shrouded in secrecy. .

MGM will not say what is on the tapes or why it might be so damaging to make them public. It’s not even clear why the movie studio is fighting so hard to keep the unaired footage of Trump’s old show a secret. And in court filings last week, the Beverly Hills studio only described what’s on the tapes in a document that remains sealed in public view.

But the attorneys for these four despised entrepreneurs know what they’re looking for: anything that shows Donald Trump and his sons knew they were misleading would-be investors by bringing them to ACN, a North Carolina-based multilevel marketing firm.

Trump and his sons, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric, were the main recurring characters of The newbie, playing the role of business judges. During the show, the family presented ACN as a promising investment, including with celebrities competing to produce a commercial for the company’s new high-tech video chat phone, the “Iris 5000.” In reality, the technology was a failure and the company was facing a financial crisis, but viewers were not told that.

The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by four businessmen who say they were tricked into joining ACN’s multi-level marketing scheme, and wasted time and money doing so, as a result of Trump’s endorsement. Lynn Chadwick from Pennsylvania says she was cheated on the show in 2013, while Catherine McKoy and Millard Williams from California started in 2014. Markus Frazier from Maryland says she signed up in 2016. Neither of them stayed for the second last year.

Reviewing the footage can take weeks, even if it’s just discarded shots from two episodes of Celebrity apprentice which aired in the spring of 2011. In those episodes, opposing teams led by rapper Lil John and television personality “NeNe” Leakes competed to produce ridiculous commercials for ACN’s new video phone.

In her order Tuesday, United States District Judge Lorna G. Schofield wrote that attorneys representing these entrepreneurs will “review the requested images on the spot” and may copy the relevant clips.

The case is scheduled for a jury trial, so if the legal fight goes that far, the public might as well watch the video.

Roberta A. Kaplan, whose firm represents the employers, declined to speak about the case. Attorneys for MGM, ACN and the Trump family did not respond to requests for comment.

The businessmen sued Trump Corporation and family members Donald, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric, who starred in the NBC show, claiming they presented ACN as a decent investment without revealing that they were secretly paying them millions to do so. that. The New York Times, citing Trump’s tax returns that reporters had managed to obtain, he would later reveal that the multi-level marketing company had paid him $ 8.8 million over 10 years.

“Trump repeatedly misrepresented ACN’s risk profile to consumers, falsely claiming that investing in ACN was a low-risk business venture,” the lawsuit states. “Trump repeatedly told his audience that he backed ACN because he believed it offered a reasonable chance of commercial success. He highlighted ACN’s business prospects and his respect for its founders. And he did not disclose that, in fact, they were paying him millions of dollars for his endorsement of ACN. “

But the legal fight inevitably involved the entities with the real evidence: MGM and JMBP, which stands for J. Mark Burnett Productions. Burnett, the British producer behind The newbie and a longtime Trump ally, he is now the chairman of MGM’s World Television Group.

The lawsuit, originally filed in October 2018, has dragged on for years because it has encountered stiff resistance every step of the way. At first, the family tried to remove the case from federal court and take it to arbitration behind closed doors. That failed when Judge Schofield and an appeals court ruled against it.

Then in April 2020, when the judge told MGM to hand over the tapes, any efforts to review the recordings were sidetracked with the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. MGM refused to allow the businessmen’s attorneys to view the footage remotely, and the attorneys wouldn’t risk getting sick by taking the six-hour flight from New York City to Los Angeles and crammed into movie theaters. . That disagreement was finally resolved by court order Tuesday.

The complaint was also initially filed by businessmen using pseudonyms, but in August the judge ordered them to resubmit their claim using their real names.

The amended version of the lawsuit describes how McKoy, for example, only realized that ACN was a scam during his second year with the company. He remembers bringing recruits to company meetings for more than a year and had only made $ 38, he says.

“She realized that she had been scammed. Trump was selling a dream to people like her, people who were struggling financially, were really desperate and would rush to fulfill a promise of the kind of success that Trump embodied, ”the lawsuit says.

Wait for a slow combustion. The judge has scheduled a trial for after March 2023.

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