President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to pay $25 million to former students of his for-profit Trump University as part of a settlement that resolves three outstanding lawsuits against him, including one in which he was set to testify in a trial that was due to begin in San Diego later this month.
As part of the agreement, Trump will pay $1 million in penalties to the state of New York for violating state education laws by labeling his nonaccredited school a “university” without registering as an educational institution with New York state officials, according to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who announced the settlement Friday afternoon. The deal includes no admission of wrongdoing.
“In 2013, my office sued Donald Trump for swindling thousands of innocent Americans out of millions of dollars through a scheme known as Trump University,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “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. Today, that all changes. 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.”
The announcement came after days of frantic negotiations among the parties that began last week, after Trump was elected president and U.S. Judge Gonzalo Curiel — the U.S.-born judge whom Trump repeatedly attacked during the campaign as biased due to his “Mexican” heritage — began prodding the parties to resolve the cases. The first of three lawsuits was scheduled to start in Curiel’s courtroom Nov. 28. Trump’s lawyers had filed motions urging that the trial date be postponed, arguing that their client was too busy assembling his new administration to testify in a civil trial.