Trump Agrees to $25 Million Settlement of Lawsuits Against Trump University
The president-elect had previously refused to consider the possibility of a settlement
President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to settle lawsuits filed against Trump University accusing him of defrauding former students.
He will pay $25 million to settle the cases, writes Reuters, which he had previously requested be delayed until after his inauguration.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the settlement a "stunning reversal" due to Trump's repeated prior commitment to litigate the cases rather than settle. The lawsuits were a continuous sore point throughout his presidential campaign, which eventually resulted in one of the more controversial moments of his run: the claim that the judge in two of the cases was biased due to his Mexican descent.
Schneiderman's comments recalled the president-elect's history of fighting the allegations, reports NPR. "Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeals and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university," he said. "Today, that all changes."
According to Reuters, Trump's lawyers contested the claims made by former Trump University students that false promises had lured them into paying up to $35,000 to learn the real estate mogul's investing "secrets" from instructors he claimed to have chosen himself.
The settlement will cover three cases: two California class-action suits and one New York case filed by Schneiderman. The judge whom Trump had accused of bias, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, must still approve the deal.
Trump does not admit to any wrongdoing under the terms of the agreement. Daniel Petrocelli, Trump's attorney, acknowledged his client's previous intention of fighting the cases.
Petrocelli claims that the deal reflects the president-elect's desire to set aside his personal feelings to work on the issues that his country is facing.
"President-elect Trump has laser focus on moving forward. It's time to move on," he said.
Schneiderman and attorneys representing the former students praised the settlement.
"Today's $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university," Schneiderman stated.
Jason Forge, one of the attorneys representing the students, said that $4 million out of the proposed $25 million will be earmarked for students whom Schneiderman represented but who did not participate in the class actions in California, as well as for administrative costs.
He also said that class action lawyers representing the students would seek reimbursement for costs but not attorneys' fees.
Curiel had been encouraging both parties in the case to settle rather than litigate. He said that he hoped the deal could be part of a healing process "that this country very sorely needs" after the election.