A federal US judge has sanctioned former US president Donald Trump and his lawyers nearly $1 million for a “frivolous” lawsuit claiming Hillary Clinton had tried to rig the 2016 election.
District Judge John Middlebrooks said on Thursday, January 19 that the Republican, who is seeking to return to the White House in 2024, exhibited a “continuing pattern of misuse of the courts” and had filed the suit “in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative.”
The lawsuit claimed that Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election to Trump, and others had created a false narrative that his campaign had colluded with Russia.
Trump in the lawsuit had sought $70 million in damages.
But the suit “should never have been brought,” Middlebrooks said in the 45-page written court order.
“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,” the judge wrote.
The order also sanctions Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba.
Trump and Habba are jointly and severally liable for the total amount of sanctions imposed to cover the defendants’ legal fees and costs: $937,989.39.
Middlebrooks in the suit judgement wrote that 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.”