President-elect Donald Trump has reached a reported $25 million settlement with disgruntled former Trump University students - just 10 days before he was set to face a fraud trial, according to Reuters.
Reports that a settlement was near, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation, began circulating early Friday morning.
The legal fight began in 2010, with thousands of former students claiming they were tricked in to taking on debt to pay for a worthless education, under the guise that Trump had hand-picked instructors and the program would help them have successful real estate careers.
Shortly after Trump won the election, his attorney Daniel Petrocelli asked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel to delay the trial, which was set to begin Nov. 28, until after the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 - arguing that preparing for the office is "all consuming." The plaintiffs, who have spent six years fighting for a resolution, opposed the motion. A hearing on the issue is set to begin at 1:30 p.m., but it now appears to be moot.
It's not a surprise that Trump would settle the suit to take it off his plate before taking office, especially given his apparently contentious relationship with Curiel. Following a primary debate in which Marco Rubio took a shot at Trump and the lawsuit over his "fake school," the billionaire then pointed the finger at the court, saying he believed he was being unfairly treated by a Hispanic judge because of his stance on immigration. Curiel, of course, will have to approve any proposed settlement before it is official.
Also not surprising, it has been widely reported that in agreeing to the settlement Trump has admitted no wrongdoing. According to Reuters, $4 million of the payout will go to the New York attorney general to settle a parallel suit there and the firms representing the students will not seek attorney's fees, only costs.
Petrocelli has not yet confirmed the settlement.