Trump University fraud settlement approved

  • 01/04/2017
Trump University textbooks

A US judge has approved a US$25 million (NZ$35m) settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit that claimed fraud against President Donald Trump and his Trump University real estate seminars.

The Friday ruling from US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego concluded a lengthy and contentious lawsuit that played a prominent role in the presidential campaign last year.

The Trump University students, who paid as much as US$35,000 (NZ$49,000) for the seminars, claimed they were lured by false promises that they would learn Mr Trump's investing "secrets" from his "hand-picked" instructors.

During the campaign, Mr Trump vowed to continue fighting the fraud claims but agreed to the settlement soon after he was elected. He has admitted he did not personally select the instructors, but his lawyers have described the claim as sales "puffery".

Last year, Mr Trump accused Judge Curiel of bias based on the Indiana-born judge's Mexican ancestry.

In his ruling on Friday, Judge Curiel called the US$25m (NZ$35m) settlement "extraordinary" in that it represented an estimated 80 percent recovery for the students.

"The amount offered in settlement provides significant and immediate recovery," Judge Curiel wrote.