A California judge on Friday approved a $25 million deal between US President Donald Trump and former students who accused his now-defunct Trump University of fraud.
The ruling from Judge Gonzalo Curiel, seen by AFP, ends three lawsuits relating to Trump University, affecting around 4,000 claimants.
Two class-action suits were launched in California in 2010 by former students who claimed they had been deceived by false marketing, and a suit was brought by New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman in 2013.
Students paid as much as $35,000 to enroll at Trump University — in operation from 2005 to 2011 — wrongly believing they would make it big in real estate after being taught by the Manhattan property tycoon’s hand-picked experts.
After months of insisting he was ready to go court to establish his innocence, Trump made an about-face after his November election and agreed to pay up to save him the embarrassment of further legal wrangling.
Schneiderman said in a statement that Friday’s deal approval “will provide relief -– and hopefully much-needed closure –- to the victims of Donald Trump’s fraudulent university.”
Schneiderman said the victims “waited years for compensation, while President Trump refused to settle and fought us every step of the way — until his stunning reversal last fall.”
Of the settlement amount, $21 million will go to reimburse the plaintiffs in California and the remainder will go New York’s attorney general to reimburse plaintiffs in that case.
Curiel was criticized during the presidential campaign by Trump, who accused the Indiana-born judge of being unable to be impartial because of his Mexican heritage — comments that outraged many.