A day after a federal judge ordered Donald Trump and his attorney to pay nearly $1 million in sanctions for filing a quickly dismissed lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and 30 others, the former president dropped a case against New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Trump’s legal team withdrew a lawsuit against James on Friday. The lawsuit was filed in November after she filed a $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump and his family. Trump’s lawsuit had accused her of intimidation and harassment and sought to prevent her from obtaining documents about his private trust.
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On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks’ sanctions order blasted Trump and attorney Alina Habba for what he called “widespread and persistent conduct” in filing a spate of lawsuits that then are quickly dismissed.
Middlebrooks had earlier dismissed Trump’s suit against Clinton, et. al., in which the former Celebrity Apprentice host claimed that the Democrats’ 2016 presidential nominee conspired with figures like then-FBI Director James Comey to prosecute Trump. The judge wrote that “the implausible claim that Mr. Comey conspired with Ms. Clinton, given the impact of his announcements on her 2016 campaign, not only lacks substance but is categorically absurd.”
“Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance
a political narrative,” Middlebrooks wrote. “A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans, and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm.”
The judge cited a list of other cases Trump has filed, including a libel suit against CNN last October that was quickly followed by a Trump fundraising email to supporters, as well as cases against Twitter and the Pulitzer board. The judge also cited the lawsuit against James.
“To be clear, the sanction in this case is not imposed against Mr. Trump for the Pulitzer, Twitter, or CNN litigation. Those cases are before other judges who will make their own determinations,” the judge wrote. But he said that the “widespread and persistent conduct points to the need for deterrence.”
The judge’s ire extended beyond what was filed in the court. He noted that after he dismissed the case, Habba went on Fox News’s Hannity to blast Middlebrooks as biased, given that he was a “Clinton judge,” or appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Habba did not immediately return a request for comment. Trump has not yet commented.
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