Trump agrees to settle fraud case for $25 million: source

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NEW YORK/SAN DIEGO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to settle fraud lawsuits relating to his Trump University series of real estate seminars for $25 million, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

A settlement would end a dispute that dogged Trump throughout his presidential election campaign and led to one of the more controversial moments of his run when he claimed the judge overseeing two of the cases was biased because he was of Mexican ancestry.

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Lawyers for the president-elect have been arguing against students who claim 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.

There are three lawsuits relating to Trump University: two class actions suits in California and a case brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. All of the cases would be covered in the possible settlement, the person said.

The source asked not be identified because the agreement was not yet final.

Schneiderman has said over 5,000 students across the country were defrauded out of about $40 million.

The $25 million settlement agreement would include roughly $4 million to resolve Schneiderman's claims, the source said. Lawyers for the students were not planning to seek attorneys fees, but reimbursement for costs.

Trump's attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the two California cases, had urged both sides to settle.

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Bound for the rigors of business school in the future, Donald Trump received discipline at an early age by attending a military academy. There, he reportedly excelled in extracurricular activities such as being the Honor Cadet.

Donald Trump in the New York Military Academy's 1964 yearbook

Source: Classmates

As someone who loves the art of negotiation, Donald Trump was able to negotiate New York City to provide a 40-year tax abatement for the Grand Hyatt Hotel — the first ever granted to a commercial property.

(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Master renovator: Trump offered to renovate decrepit areas in need, such as a long-closed ice-skating rink, at no profit to himself, after the city's renovation effort went through five years of delays and more than double the original cost estimate.

(Photo by Michael Schwartz / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)

Trump's enterprise also stretched out into sports, where he was the original owner of the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League.

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Trump owns a fleet of luxury helicopters.

Donald Trump, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and billionare, utilizes his personal helicopter to get around on August 1987 in New York City.

(Photo by Joe McNally/Getty Images)
Trump was also notorious for befriending attractive supermodels. His first wife, Ivana, a Czech-American, was a member of the social elite.

Ivana Trump and Donald Trump are seen in December 1982 in New York City.

(Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
No expense was spared for his belongings, as Donald Trump once paid the sultan of Brunei $30 million for a nearly 300-foot yacht.

American businessman Donald Trump and his wife Ivana sit at a table on board their luxury yacht The Trump Princess, anchored outside the Water Club, New York City, July 1988.

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To test the political waters, the potential Reform Party presidential candidate traveled to several areas to address party leaders.

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(STR New / Reuters)

Trump also enjoys tennis — he even played a round, wearing his traditional suit, against the legendary Serena Williams.

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He also became the owner of the infamous Miss Universe beauty pageant for many years.

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Unbeknownst to many, Donald Trump is a formidable opponent on the green. He owns 15 golf courses.

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Sometimes, negotiating can be a tough sport. What better way to exert your dominance by taking the center stage among the world's most bombastic figures?

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As the fog of the political battlefield has cleared on the Republican side, Trump is now preparing for a likely battle with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

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Being the entertaining host, Trump also spared no expense in providing a spectacular show for friends and family.

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As a self-proclaimed family man, Trump attended many public events and television shows with his family, even before his current campaign.

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Source: Oprah

Trump first started showing signs of interest for a possible bid for the US presidency with the formation of a presidential exploratory committee ahead of the 2000 election.

Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump (R) talks with host Larry King after taping a segment of King's CNN talk show, in New York October 7. Reuters

Source: Reuters

In 2005, Donald Trump married fashion designer and model Melania Trump.

Real estate magnate Donald Trump (L) and Melania Trump leave Hollinger International's annual meeting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on May 22, 2003.

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Source: PolitiFact

As no stranger to the political process, Donald Trump was even acquainted with members of the judicial branch.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (L), serving as the grand marshal for the Daytona 500, speaks to Donald Trump  on the starting grid at the Daytona International Speedway February 14. JLS/ELD

Trump famously launched his presidential campaign in June 2015 by coming down an escalator in Trump Tower. Since then, he has weathered waves of controversy to become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

 (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

Trump made his final appeal to voters in swing-states as the contentious campaign drew to a close.

 Donald Trump speaks at a rally at SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH, on Nov. 7, 2016, the night before election day. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

President-elect Trump at his election night party at the Hilton Hotel in New York City.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd during his election night event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Trump said during his election campaign 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.

A trial in one of the cases was scheduled to begin on Nov. 28 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

"As Attorney General Schneiderman has long said, he has always been open to a settlement that fairly compensates the many victims of Trump University who have been waiting years for a resolution," Eric Soufer, a spokesman for Schneiderman, said in a statement.

Trump has said he did not "hand pick" Trump University instructors, but that marketing language used was not to be taken literally. He has said most students gave the classes high ratings.

A court hearing in the case was set for Friday afternoon in San Diego.

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