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President-elect Trump agrees to 25 million dollar settlement with students

Published 18/11/2016

Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20
Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20

President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to a 25 million US dollar settlement to resolve three lawsuits over Trump University, his former school for real estate investors.

The deal announced on Friday by New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman would settle a lawsuit he filed three years ago, plus two class-action lawsuits in California filed on behalf of former Trump University students.

The suits allege that Trump University failed to deliver on its promise to teach success in real estate through programmes that cost up to 35,000 US dollars. They say the programme misled students by calling itself a university when it was not an accredited school and by saying that Mr Trump "hand-picked" instructors.

Messages left with several of Mr Trump's lawyers and a spokeswoman were not returned Friday.

Mr Trump has strongly denied the allegations and said during the campaign that he would not settle. He told supporters at a May rally that he would come to San Diego to give evidence after winning the presidency.

"I could have settled this case numerous times, but I don't want to settle cases when we're right. I don't believe in it. And when you start settling cases, you know what happens? Everybody sues you because you get known as a settler. One thing about me, I am not known as a settler," Mr Trump said at the time.

The deal does not require Mr Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing.

Mr Schneiderman said the 25 million dollars to be paid by Mr Trump or one of his business entities includes restitution for victims and one million US dollars in penalties to the state.

"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," Mr Schneiderman said in a statement.

He called the settlement "a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university".

A US federal judge in California had been set on Friday to consider arguments on Mr Trump's latest request to delay a trial until after Mr Trump's inauguration on January 20.

Mr Trump's lawyers said in a court filing last week that preparations for the White House were "critical and all-consuming".

Six months ago, when they unsuccessfully sought a delay until after Inauguration Day, lead lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to a trial during the campaign.

"The task is momentous, exceedingly complex, and requires careful coordination involving the respective staffs and teams of both President (Barack) Obama and President-elect Trump," Mr Trump's lawyers wrote.

"In fewer than three months, the President-elect must be prepared to manage 15 executive departments, more than 100 federal agencies, two million civilian employees, and a budget of almost four trillion US dollars."

Mr Trump's lawyers also raised the prospect of having the president-elect testify by video recording before the trial begins in the class-action lawsuit on November 28.

AP

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