By Dan Levine and Karen Freifeld

SAN DIEGO A U.S. judge on Thursday tentatively rejected a bid by Donald Trump to keep a wide range of statements from the presidential campaign out of an upcoming fraud trial over his Trump University venture.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego said Trump’s lawyers can renew objections to specific campaign statements and evidence during trial. The tentative ruling came in advance of a pretrial hearing later on Thursday.

The 2010 lawsuit, one of three over the defunct Trump University venture, was filed on behalf of students who say they were lured by false promises to pay up to $35,000 to learn Trump’s real estate investing “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors. Trump owned 92 percent of Trump University and had control over all major decisions, the students’ court papers say.

The president-elect denies the allegations and has argued that he relied on others to manage the business. Trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 28.

Trump’s attorneys argued that jurors should not hear about statements Trump made during the campaign, including about Curiel himself.

Trump attacked the judge as biased against him. He claimed Curiel, who was born in Indiana but is of Mexican descent, could not be impartial because of Trump’s pledge to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Trump’s lawyers argued that Curiel should bar accusations about Trump’s personal conduct, including alleged sexual misconduct and comments about the case or court, from the trial, along with speeches, tweets, tax issues, the Donald J. Trump Foundation controversies, beauty pageants and bankruptcies.

In addition, the celebrity-businessman’s lawyers wanted to exclude evidence of instructors involved in bankruptcy proceedings and the Better Business Bureau’s ratings of Trump University, along with complaints it received.

Trump’s lawyers argued the information is irrelevant to the jury and prejudicial to the case.

Lawyers for the students disagreed. In court papers, they claimed that statements by the former Republican nominee would help jurors as they weigh Trump’s credibility and whether he and his venture were deceptive.

“Defendants have not identified specific evidence that they wish to exclude,” Curiel wrote on Thursday. “Accordingly, the court declines to issue a blanket ruling at this time.”

California judges often issue tentative rulings, which are then finalized after a hearing with few major changes.

Curiel is presiding over two cases against Trump and the university. A separate lawsuit by New York’s attorney general is pending in that state.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York and Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Andrew Hay and Cynthia Osterman)

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