NAFUSA President Greg Vega has known United States District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel since the ninth grade and was the best man at Judge Curiel’s wedding. So when The New York Times researched the judges life, Vega was a natural interview.
Judge Curiel is the presiding judge in the lawsuit filed by former students of Trump University. Trump, upset with some of the court’s rulings, has made public comments critical of the judge, saying the judge “happens to be, we believe, Mexican” and suggesting the judge is biased because of Trump’s calls to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants from coming into the U.S. through Mexico.
Judge Curiel was born in Indiana, to parents who immigrated from Mexico. Vega, who father also was Mexican, is also from Indiana. They worked together when Judge Curiel served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of California where Vega became the U.S. Attorney. Judge Curiel had a reputation as a “hard-charging prosecutor” in fighting Mexican drug lords. When a plot was exposed in which the Mexican drug cartel planned to assassinate Curiel, he spent much of a year in hiding under the protection of U.S. marshals. When Vega was asked by The Times how the judge is handling the “unfriendly glare of the Trump case, Vega replied, “He’s cool. I don’t think he’s giving it a second thought.”
Click here to read the NYT article “Judge Faulted by Trump Has Faced a Lot Worse”
Vega was also interviewed on NPR by Nina Totenberg. Listen here.