Former Trump University student refuses settlement because she wants to hold President 'accountable for this fraud'

Mythili Sampathkumar
Donald trump may have to go to trial on fraud charges over fees charged by his for-profit Trump University

A former student at Trump University is refusing to accept a legal settlement from the US President, because she "wants to hold Donald Trump accountable".

Sherri Simpson paid almost $19,000 (£15,000) for seminars and mentorship programmes in 2010 from the now defunct education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until 2010.

She was one of a number of people included in a series of class action lawsuits against the US leader, seeking refunds as well as punitive damages for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and bad faith.

Before he was sworn in as President, Mr Trump's legal team offered $25m (£20m) to settle the long-running lawsuits.

But while many former students plan to accept payments of around 80 per cent of what they spent for his seminar programmes, Ms Simpson, a Florida-based bankruptcy attorney, is refusing to accept the offer.

“She wants to hold Donald Trump accountable for this fraud—this racketeering activity is really what it is,” her attorney, Gary Friedman told Politico.

Mr Trump’s lawyers say Ms Simpson is politically motivated.

She is known to have appeared in an anti-Trump advertisement paid for by conservative group American Future Fund, which described her as a “Trump University victim.”

US District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel will decide on whether the proposed settlement is fair to the thousands of people who spent anywhere between $1,500 (£1,200) for a three-day seminar and around $35,000 (£28,000) for the “gold elite” mentorship.

Mr Trump called the judge a “hater” in June 2016, before going on to claim that his “Hispanic” and “Mexican” heritage made him biased. Mr Curiel was born and raised in Indiana.

Even if he turns down Ms Simpson’s request for an independent trial which is separate from the class action lawsuit, she could still delay it by filing an appeal.