Trump defends decision to settle Trump University lawsuits

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(Reuters) - Donald Trump on Saturday defended his decision to settle lawsuits over his Trump University real estate seminars for $25 million, saying he does not have time to fight the fraud cases in court now that he is headed to the White House.

The lawsuits cast a shadow over the Republican's presidential campaign and led to one of the more controversial moments of his run for the White House when he claimed the judge overseeing two of the cases was biased because he was of Mexican ancestry.

While denying any wrongdoing, Trump agreed on Friday to pay $25 million to settle the lawsuits.

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Trump name taken down from NYC buildings
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Trump name taken down from NYC buildings
Workers remove signage on the Trump Place apartment buildings on Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, U.S., November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Workers remove signage on the Trump Place apartment buildings on Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, U.S., November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Workers remove signage on the Trump Place apartment buildings on Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, U.S., November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
TOPSHOT - Letters lie on the sidewalk after workers removed Trump signage from 160 Riverside Blvd. on Manhattan's upper west side, Wednesday, November 16, 2016. President-elect Donald Trump's name will be taken off the three luxury buildings at Trump Place after tenants signed a petition saying they did not want their home associated with the president-elect. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers remove Trump signage from 180 Riverside Blvd. on Manhattan's upper west side November 16, 2016 in New York. President-elect Donald Trump's name will be taken off the three luxury buildings at Trump Place after tenants signed a petition saying they did not want their home associated with the president-elect. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
The facade of a building after workers remove Trump the signage on Manhattan's upper west sideNovember 16, 2016 in New York. President-elect Donald Trump's name will be taken off the three luxury buildings at Trump Place after tenants signed a petition saying they did not want their home associated with the president-elect. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump signage at 180 Riverside Blvd. on Manhattan's upper west side November 16, 2016 in New York. President-elect Donald Trump's name will be taken off the three luxury buildings at Trump Place after tenants signed a petition saying they did not want their home associated with the president-elect. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
A man removes letters from the awning of a building formerly known as Trump Place in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Donald Trump's name is being stripped off three luxury apartment buildings after hundreds of tenants signed a petition saying they were embarrassed to live in a place associated with the Republican president-elect. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A man removes letters from the awning of a building formerly known as Trump Place in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Donald Trump's name is being stripped off three luxury apartment buildings after hundreds of tenants signed a petition saying they were embarrassed to live in a place associated with the Republican president-elect. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A man scrubs off the impressions of letters on a building formerly known as Trump Place in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Donald Trump's name is being stripped off three luxury apartment buildings after hundreds of tenants signed a petition saying they were embarrassed to live in a place associated with the Republican president-elect. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A man uses a power washer to remove the impressions of letters on a building formerly known as Trump Place in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Donald Trump's name is being stripped off three luxury apartment buildings after hundreds of tenants signed a petition saying they were embarrassed to live in a place associated with the Republican president-elect. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Workers remove signage on the Trump Place apartment buildings on Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, U.S., November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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"I settled the Trump University lawsuit for a small fraction of the potential award because as President I have to focus on our country," Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning.

"The ONLY bad thing about winning the Presidency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U. Too bad!" He said in a second tweet.

In announcing the settlement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the deal followed repeated refusals by Trump "to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university."

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

Students had claimed they were they were lured by false promises into paying up to $35,000 to learn Trump's real estate investing secrets from his hand-picked instructors. Trump's lawyers denied this.

The deal covers three lawsuits relating to Trump University: two class actions suits in California and a New York case brought by Schneiderman. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego must still approved the settlement.

During his election campaign, Trump said that Curiel, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrant parents, could not be impartial because of Trump's campaign pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to control illegal immigration.

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