OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A federal judge has imposed nearly $1 million in sanctions on former President Donald Trump and his lawyer for filing a lawsuit against twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and others. The lawsuit, which was thrown out back in September, claimed Clinton and others tried to sway 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 U.S. District Court Judge John Middlebrooks in his order sanctioning Trump and his attorney Alina Habba.
Middlebrooks, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1997 by then-President Bill Clinton, wrote in his order: “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. 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 jointly and severally liable for the total amount of sanctions the judge imposed to cover the defendants’ legal fees and costs: $937,989.39. That amount is about $120,000 less than what the defendants jointly requested for sanctions. Clinton was awarded $171,631 in sanctions to be paid by Trump and Habba, with most of that money earmarked for Clinton’s attorneys’ fee,” CNBC reported.
“That was the second largest amount awarded in Middlebrooks’ order, which gave the Democratic National Committee, its former chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and a related corporation $179,685,” the outlet added.
Back in November, Clinton filed a motion asking the court to force Trump and his attorney to pay some $1 million in legal fees after he unsuccessfully sued her and others.
“The surprising request came on Monday when lawyers for the former first lady-turned-2016 presidential candidate filed a motion in federal court demanding sanctions be imposed upon ex-President Trump,” the report said.
Her attorneys also called the lawsuit, which was tossed out in September, nothing more than a “political stunt.”
“A reasonable attorney would never have filed this suit, let alone continued to prosecute it after multiple Defendants’ motions to dismiss highlighted its fundamental and incurable defects,” Clinton’s lawyers wrote, according to the New York Post.
The Post notes further:
The Clinton legal team is asking for $1.06 million from Trump to cover the legal expenses incurred by all the defendants named in his civil suit.
The former president filed the civil suit in March, accusing Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, British ex-spy Christopher Steele, and others of a conspiracy to undermine his 2016 presidential campaign with allegations of Russia collusion. Trump claimed in filings that he had suffered over $24 million in losses as a result of the rumors about collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia.
Judge Middlebrooks at the time cited “deficiencies in the plaintiff’s argument” when he tossed the suit earlier this fall. Afterward, Trump’s legal team filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court.
Habba, one of Trump’s attorneys, accused Clinton of political motivations for filing her claim.
“This motion, conveniently filed one week prior to election day, is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to score political points,” Habba told The Hill. “This motion is particularly inappropriate, given that our client’s case will soon be reviewed by the Eleventh Circuit. We will oppose this motion and trust that the Court will see through this ruse.”
Earlier this year, Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee were fined by the Federal Election Commission for lying about the funding of the discredited “dossier.”
The unverified and salacious anti-Trump dossier was used in a smear attempt against Donald Trump before the 2016 presidential election.