A federal judge has ordered it Donald Trump and one of his attorneys to jointly pay nearly $1 million in fines for pursuing a futile lawsuit. accuse Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and other known enemies the former president of participating in defamation and making a big conspiracy against him.
The suit was dismissed in September and Trump was ordered to pay tens of thousands in November after one of the defendants sought punitive damages. The latest order came after a group of remaining defendants, including Clinton, filed another request for sanctions.
The court decision marks the latest legal setback for Trump as he battles multiple civil and criminal investigations, including the investigation into its retention of sensitive documentswhile some of his lawyers are investigating themselves for behavior in these cases.
In a shocking decision, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks criticized Trump and his lead attorney, Alina Habba, for undermining the law by expanding a lawsuit that escalated his political criticism to The 2017 Russian investigation uses arguments full of misinformation and errors.
“We are dealing with a lawsuit that should not have been filed, which is very frivolous, both factually and legally, and was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” wrote Middlebrooks in inside. the 46-page sentencing order of $937,989.39 against Trump and Habba.
The lawsuit, first filed by Trump in March 2022, accused Clinton and the Democratic National Committee of colluding with senior FBI officials and others before the 2016 election to build ties between the Trump campaign and Russia in order to destroy him in politics.
But Middlebrooks dismissed the case when he found that Trump was involved in a conspiracy that resulted in obstruction of justice, and included allegations that were known to be false. His legal arguments, including defamation and conspiracy, were found to be baseless.
The judge said, for example, that Trump’s allegations that former FBI director James Comey conspired with Clinton to impeach him were false — because Trump was never indicted — but that such a conspiracy was Unbelievable since Comey damaged Clinton’s 2016 campaign by reopening the investigation into her emails.
“I know that the requests here are abuses of the courts. The complaint and the amended complaint were written to promote a political story; do not address the legal harm caused by any defendant,” Middlebrooks wrote about Trump’s lawsuit.
The judge also found that Trump’s claim and conspiracy appeared to be part of a pattern by the former president to abuse the courts by filing frivolous lawsuits in order to to serve a political purpose.
“The abuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, exposes judges as partial, and diverts resources from those who are truly victims of the law,” he wrote.
Middlebrooks examined other political campaign lawsuits filed by Trump and wrote that they all followed a pattern that included inflammatory statements, political language carried over from advertisements, attacks on political opponents and, generally, a lack of legal investigation. .
“Trump is a campaigner and professional who always uses the court to take revenge on political enemies. He is the master of the use of the use of justice,” the judge wrote. “He was well aware of the impact of his actions.”
It was not clear how quickly the sanctions regime would fail. Trump wanted to overturn the lawsuit after assigning the case to Middlebrooks, a Bill Clinton appointee, but Habba told Fox News in a section mentioned at the end he advised her to go ahead.
Trump and Habba – as well as his law firm Habba, Madaio and Associates – are jointly liable for $1m in damages, although the former president has indicated to his colleagues that he believes his lawyer should pay more he, according to the information. familiar with the subject.
A spokesman for Trump could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for Habba did not comment.
The sentence handed down by the judge, designed to deter future misdemeanors, is in addition to a $50,000 fine imposed in November and $16,000 in legal fees for Charles Dolan, who the Democratic Public Relations executive, who filed the original lawsuit.