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Federal judge fines Trump and his attorney nearly $1 million


A federal judge on Thursday fined former President Donald Trump and one of his top lawyers nearly $1 million for filing a sweeping lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other perceived political enemies “who would never have had to be filed”.

U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks said in his 46-page order that Trump, lead attorney Alina Habba and Habba Madaio & Associates were jointly liable for $937,989 in the lawsuit he dismissed in September.

“This case should never have been filed. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was obvious from the outset. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it,” Middlebrooks wrote, adding that the lawsuit was intended “for political purposes.” .

The Florida judge went on to explain why he believed Trump, and not just his lawyers, were guilty.

“Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigator who repeatedly uses the courts to exact revenge on political adversaries. He is the mastermind of the strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be considered a litigant blindly following the advice of an attorney. He knew full well the impact of his actions,” Middlebrooks wrote. “As such, I find that sanctions should be imposed on Mr. Trump and his lead counsel, Ms. Habba.”

NBC News has reached out to Habba and Trump’s spokesperson for comment.

The judge’s order comes 10 months after Trump filed a lawsuit alleging that in 2016 Clinton, who was then the Democratic presidential nominee, and the Democratic National Committee, along with others, orchestrated a “malicious conspiracy” to investigate his campaign links. in Russia, “destroying his life” and rigging the election in favor of Clinton.

The original complaint named numerous defendants, including former FBI Director James Comey and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

The penalties issued Thursday relate to 18 defendants who in October submitted a joint motion alleging that Trump knowingly filed a “factually unsubstantiated and legally unjustified lawsuit.”

The defendants had previously requested about $1 million to cover their attorneys’ fees and expenses, Middlebrooks said.

The judge’s order called Trump and his lawyers engaging in a “continuing pattern of abuse of the courts” and cited a series of lawsuits filed by the former president. Among them were last month’s libel lawsuit against the Pulitzer Board and repeated lawsuits against New York Attorney General Letitia James, who investigated and ultimately prosecuted Trump for alleged bank, tax and insurance fraud.

Such lawsuits, Middlebrooks said, undermined the rule of law, siphoned off resources “from those who suffered real legal harm” and portrayed judges as partisans.

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