Judge fines Trump, lawyer nearly $1 million over 'frivolous' and 'bad faith' Hillary Clinton lawsuit
A federal judge in Florida on Thursday ordered former President Donald Trump and his lawyer Alina Habba to pay $938,000 in sanctions to 31 defendants in a lawsuit they filed last year alleging a vast conspiracy against Trump in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks had thrown out the lawsuit in September then fined Habba $50,000 to pay the legal fees of one of the defendants, Charles Dolan. This nearly $1 million penalty will be divided among the other defendants, including Trump's 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
The 46-page ruling Middlebrooks handed down Thursday was described as blistering and scathing.
"Here, 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," Middlebrooks wrote. "No reasonable lawyer would have filed it," but "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, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, listed several other similarly frivolous lawsuits Trump has filed, going back decades, and he cited Habba's baseless attacks against him on Fox News. "The ruling was a significant rebuke of Mr. Trump, who has rarely faced such consequences in his long history of using the courts as a weapon against business rivals and partners, as well as former employees and reporters," The New York Times reports. It's also "the latest setback" for Trump and his divided legal team as the former president "faces a broad range of legal problems and criminal investigations."