By Dan Levine
(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday approved a $ 25 million settlement to settle a class action lawsuit alleging fraud against President Donald Trump and his Trump University real estate seminars.
Federal District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ruling in San Diego ended a lengthy and contentious lawsuit that played a prominent role in the presidential campaign last year.
The Trump University students, who paid up to $ 35,000 for the seminars, said they were lured by false promises that they would learn Trump’s investment “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors.
A Trump University student objected to the deal, particularly a provision that bars students from opting out. He said in court documents that he would like to seek a full recovery from Trump, in addition to punitive damages and other relief.
An attorney for that student could not be immediately reached for comment.
During the campaign, Trump promised to continue fighting fraud allegations, but accepted the deal shortly after his election. He has admitted that he did not personally select the instructors, but his attorneys have described the claim as “puffering” from sales.
Last year, Trump accused Judge Curiel of bias based on the Indiana-born judge’s Mexican ancestry.
In its ruling on Friday, Curiel called the $ 25 million settlement “extraordinary” as it represented an estimated 80 percent recovery for students.
“The amount offered in the deal provides a significant and immediate recovery,” Curiel wrote.
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