Ex-Trump U Students Have Reason to Celebrate

Judge just OKed a $25M settlement, ending 7 years in court
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 31, 2017 1:40 PM CDT
Judge OKs $25M Trump University Settlement
President Donald Trump speaks at a women's empowerment panel Wednesday in the East Room of the White House in Washington.   (Andrew Harnik)

A judge on Friday approved an agreement for President Donald Trump to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University, ending nearly seven years of legal battles with customers who claimed they were misled by failed promises to teach success in real estate. US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel's ruling settles two class-action lawsuits and a civil lawsuit by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, the AP reports. Trump had vowed never to settle but said after the election he didn't have time for a trial, even though he believed he would've prevailed. Under terms of the settlement, he admits no wrongdoing. The lawsuits alleged that Trump University gave nationwide seminars that were like infomercials, constantly pressuring people to spend more and, in the end, failing to deliver.

Attorneys for ex-customers have said their clients will get at least 90% of their money back, based on the roughly 3,730 claims submitted. The Trump U case dogged the GOP businessman throughout the campaign as rivals used it to portray him as dishonest and deceitful. Trump brought more attention by repeatedly assailing Curiel, insinuating the Indiana-born judge's Mexican heritage exposed a bias. The judge rejected requests by two ex-students who objected to the settlement. Court docs unsealed last year revealed strategies for enticing people to enroll even if they couldn't afford it, outlining how employees should guide people through "the roller coaster of emotions" and telling employees to be "very aggressive." Trump acknowledged in depositions that he played on people's fantasies and couldn't recall names of employees, despite saying he'd hand-picked them. The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling. (Read more Trump University stories.)

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