Updates to include statement from the Trump Organization.
Donald Trump will pay $25 million to settle fraud cases brought against his Trump University, said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Friday, who called the agreement a "stunning reversal" by the president-elect.
"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," Schneiderman said. "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."
Under the terms of the settlement, every victim will receive restitution, and Trump will pay up to $1 million in penalties to the state for violating its education laws.
The agreement brings to a close the $40 million civil suit Schneiderman filed against Trump University in 2013 as well as two federal class-action cases in San Diego if approved, reports The New York Times. According to reports from multiple media outlets, Trump will not admit to wrongdoing.
"We are pleased to announce the complete resolution of all litigation involving Trump University. While we have no doubt that Trump University would have prevailed at trial based on the merits of this case, resolution of these matters allows President-Elect Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation," according to a statement by a spokesperson for the Trump Organization.
Trump University operated as a real estate training program from 2005 to 2010 and raised red flags from the start. The New York State Education Department notified the business as early as 2005 that its practices violated state law by calling itself a "university" even though it lacked the necessary charter to do so.
According to court documents cited by The Washington Post, about 80,000 people attended Trump University's free introductory seminars, 9,200 of which went on to pay $1,495 for three-day seminars, and 800 of whom paid up to $35,000 for packages including mentorships and workshops.
The announcement of the settlement comes just 10 days before a trial for one of the cases was set to be heard by a jury. Trump's lawyers had already asked for it to be delayed until after his inauguration, arguing that preparations for the White House are too "critical and all-consuming" for the president-elect to also be taking part in a fraud trial.
That case is being presided over by Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who over the summer Trump complained was incapable of treating him fairly because of his Mexican heritage. Curiel was born in Indiana.
Friday's announcement brings to an end an issue that dogged Trump on the campaign trail and stood to continue to weigh on him post-election. It also marks an important reversal from the president-elect, who has previously been defiant in his defense of Trump University.
He falsely claimed on the campaign trail that the entity had an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. In February, Trump declared on Twitter his refusal to settle the case.
Trump University has a 98% approval rating. I could have settled but won't out of principle!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 29, 2016
The ever-evolving Trump appears to have now changed his mind.