A federal judge on Thursday imposed practically $1 million in sanctions on former President Donald Trump and his lawyer for submitting a since-dismissed “frivolous” lawsuit in opposition to Hillary Clinton and plenty of others, which had claimed they tried to rig the 2016 presidential election in her favor by smearing Trump.
“We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” wrote Judge John Middlebrooks in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in his order sanctioning Trump and his lawyer Alina Habba.
Trump’s swimsuit, which sought $70 million in damages, accused Clinton and 30 different defendants of conspiring to “weave a false narrative” throughout the 2016 election that Trump and his marketing campaign had been colluding with Russia of their efforts to win the race.
Middlebrooks in his order Thursday famous that “Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries.”
“He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer,” Middlebrooks wrote.
“He knew full well the impact of his actions … As such, I find that sanctions should be imposed upon Mr. Trump and his lead counsel, Ms. Habba.”
Under the order, the Republican Trump and Habba, are collectively and severally liable for the entire quantity of sanctions the choose imposed to cowl the defendants’ attorneys’ charges and prices: $937,989.39. That quantity is about $120,000 lower than what the defendants collectively requested for sanctions.
“The amount of fees awarded in this case, while reasonable, is substantial,” Middlebrooks famous.
He referred to as the authorized pleadings filed within the case by Habba “abusive litigation tactics,” and stated the unique lawsuit and a later, 186-page amended grievance “were drafted to advance political narrative; not to address legal harm caused by any Defendant.”
“The Amended Complaint is a hodgepodge of disconnected, often immaterial events, followed by an implausible conclusion,” Middlebrooks wrote.
“This is a deliberate attempt to harass; to tell a story without regard to facts.”
Habba didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon the order.
Trump, who’s searching for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, filed his swimsuit in March in opposition to Clinton, who was the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
The different defendants included the Democratic National Commission, former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Clinton marketing campaign chief John Podesta, the regulation agency Perkins Coie, the analysis agency Fusion GPS, the previous FBI officers James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, in addition to Christopher Steele, the ex-British intelligence agent who authored the infamous “Trump-Russia dossier” opposition analysis report earlier than the election.
The swimsuit claimed that Clinton and different defendants falsified proof, deceived law-enforcement companies and engaged in different skulduggery that made “even the events of Watergate pale in comparison.”
Middlebrooks earlier dismissed the lawsuit in opposition to Clinton and all different defendants “with prejudice,” which bars Trump from refiling the grievance.
Middlebrooks’ order is the newest in a collection of embarrassing authorized setbacks for Trump, which have included the criminal conviction final month in New York state court docket of his Manhattan-based actual property firm, The Trump Organization, for a years-long tax avoidance scheme.
Trump and his firm additionally face a significant civil lawsuit by New York’s lawyer basic for an alleged scheme to misstate the valuation of actual property belongings for monetary achieve, and Trump is also being sued by the author E. Jean Carroll, who accuses him of raping her within the mid-Nineties in New York.
A state grand jury in Georgia lately accomplished gathering proof and listening to testimony as a part of an ongoing legal probe into whether or not Trump illegally tried to overturn the outcomes of the state’s 2020 election, which he misplaced.
And federal prosecutors are investigating Trump for his bid to reverse his loss within the nationwide election to President Joe Biden, and his taking authorities paperwork to his Florida residence when he left workplace.