U.S. Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the Southern District of California approved the $25 million settlement in the Trump University lawsuit Friday, restoring most of the money that 3,700 litigants in the case had paid for real estate classes.
The settlement includes “no admission of liability or wrongdoing by Trump or Trump University,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The case, and the judge, were briefly notorious during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s opponents seized on the case to counter his claims to business success, as well as to paint him as untrustworthy, given allegations by former students that they had paid for real estate instruction that they never properly received.
Then, in early 2016, then-candidate Trump suggested that Judge Curiel could be biased against him because of his Mexican heritage. Critics argued that his remark was bigoted — though some who defended his remark noted the left’s double standard in embracing the idea that a liberal judge might rule on the basis of ethnic identity. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had previously said: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
During the campaign, Trump had suggested that he would not settle the case, arguing that it was without merit, but after winning the election he agreed to the terms of the settlement just before the trial phase of the litigation was to begin.
Lawyers for the plaintiff appeared pleased at a press conference. They had worked pro bono — for free — in taking the case.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.