For much of the past week, Donald Trump has been on the defensive about comments he made regarding the judge in the ongoing Trump University case. Trump has alleged that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is not qualified to make a fair judgement in the case because he is of Mexican heritage. Trump has made offensive comments about Mexican people during presidential campaign and he has promised to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
So, who is Gonzalo Curiel?
As Trump’s critics, including several Republicans, have pointed out, Curiel is not from Mexico. He was born in East Chicago, Indiana in 1953. His parents, both of whom are deceased, immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico.
Curiel was appointed to the United States District Court in 2012. Prior to that, he served as a judge in the California State Court, where he was first appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 and subsequently reelected to the office. He is a double graduate of the University of Indiana, earning both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the university.
Curiel is no stranger to tough situations. In the 1990s, when Curiel was a federal prosecutor, he had to live in hiding for a year because of security risks related to a case involving a Mexican drug cartel, according to the New York Times.