A federals appeals court has rejected an appeal for the $25 million President Trump was ordered to pay to former students of his now defunct Trump University.
The settlement was challenged by former TU student Sherri Simpson, who wanted to take Trump to trial over the $19,000 she paid for the school’s programs. But according to POLITICO, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against her.
Simpson, who is a Florida bankruptcy lawyer, argued that TU guaranteed students would be able to opt out of class action lawsuits, but the court ruled that only one opportunity to opt out was promised. Now that the challenge was rejected, some 4,000 former TU students could begin receiving payments, which could amount to up to 90 percent of what they originally shelled out to the university.
Simpson could delay the settlement further through an appeal to a larger set of 9th Circuit judges or to the Supreme Court, but one of her lawyers said Tuesday she is giving up the fight.
“I’m not surprised, but we are disappointed that there will never be a public trial on Trump University and that all of the lurid facts about the fraud won’t receive the public hearing they deserve,” attorney Gary Friedman said.
Friedman said Simpson’s team decided to forego a further appeal so that class members can receive their payments. Lawyers for Trump and his companies had said they would back out of the settlement if Simpson was allowed to proceed with a trial.
Simpson said a Supreme Court petition would have taken months to resolve and en banc review was unlikely to be granted given the unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel. “It was never something we took lightly, holding up everybody’s payment,” the attorney added.
“For years, President Trump refused to compensate the victims of his sham university. His reversal in 2016—and the large-scale settlement that resulted—opened the door for student victims to finally obtain the restitution they deserve,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “My office will continue to hold those who commit fraud accountable, no matter how rich or powerful they may be.”
Featured image via Times Higher Education