A federal judge in Florida fined Donald Trump and his legal team almost $1 million for filing a frivolous lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
In the suit, Trump alleged that Clinton, the DNC and former Justice Department officials tried to rig the 2016 presidential election by “orchestrating a malicious conspiracy to disseminate patently false and injurious information” about his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
“This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim,” U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks wrote in his order.
“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,” Middlebrooks added.
“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,” Middlebrooks wrote on Thursday
“Frivolous lawsuits should not be used as a vehicle for fundraising or fodder for rallies or social media,” the judge added.
Middlebrooks ruled that Trump and his lawyers, including lead attorney Alina Habba, would be liable for $937,989 in sanctions.
“It should be no surprise that we will be appealing this decision,” Habba said after the ruling.
Peter Ticktin, another member of Trump’s legal team told CNN, “we are disappointed by the decision by Judge Middlebrooks. We attempted to right a wrong, and our reward is a kick in the teeth. Ultimately, this will be decided by a panel of three judges of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, as we believe that the dismissal and the sanctions which followed will ultimately be reversed.”