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Judge sanctions Donald Trump and his lawyers for Hillary Clinton lawsuit

The former President and his legal team have been hit with a fine of nearly $1 million for launching “completely frivolous” litigation.

Trump sanctioned for failed Clinton litigation

Former President Donald Trump and his legal team have been ordered to pay sanctions totalling more than $937,000 for their attempt to sue his former presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

Last September US District Judge John Middlebrooks threw out Trump’s lawsuit, which centred on the false claim that the 2016 election was manipulated in Clinton’s favour. However the judge did not stop there and he moved to issue financial penalties for what he saw as a pattern of misusing the courts for his own political ends.

In a 45-page ruling released on Thursday, Middlebrooks wrote: “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.”

Why did Donald Trump sue Hillary Clinton?

Since leaving the White House - and even, to a lesser extent, before - Trump has forwarded baseless claims of election fraud. He maintains that that was why he lost the 2020 presidential election and why he lost the popular vote four years earlier, although he gained enough seats in the Electoral College to win the presidency in 2016.

The lawsuit for which Trump has been sanctioned alleged that Clinton and around 30 other members of the Democratic National Commission (DNC) conspired to “weave a false narrative” about Russian collusion.

The suit, filed last March, also named former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta and former FBI officials James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

“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”

US District Judge John Middlebrooks

Trump filed for $70 million in Clinton lawsuit

The original lawsuit sought $70 million in damages from the defendants named as part of the supposed plot. But once that was dismissed by a court, Trump’s team were left open to penalties.

In response to the lawsuit, Judge Middlebrooks granted a request from one of the defendants which demanded sanction be levied against Trump. The Judge slammed Trump’s lawsuit as “frivolous” and noted that it was part of a pattern of bad faith litigation.

“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,” Judge Middlebrooks wrote.

“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.”