Former President Donald Trump stands on the 18th green during the Pro-Am tournament ahead of the LIV Golf Series at Trump National Doral, October 27, 2022.
Jasen Vinlove | USA Today Sports | Reuters
On Friday morning, former President Donald Trump voluntarily dropped a long federal lawsuit in Florida against the New York attorney general – a day after the same judge in the case sanctioned him and his attorney nearly a million dollars for filing another “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and numerous other defendants.
The judge, John Middlebrooks, had pointedly noted in a scathing punishment order late Thursday in the Clinton case that he was also dealing with Trump’s complaint against Attorney General Letitia James in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Trump’s lawsuit against James – which Middlebrooks said last month seemed “vexatious and frivolous” – was filed in response to his office’s civil lawsuit against Trump in New York state court, alleging fraud in his business.
James’s spokeswoman, Delaney Kempner, noted that Trump’s dismissal of his lawsuit came the same day his “response to our motion to dismiss this case was due.” It also came two days after Middlebrooks scheduled a jury trial for the prosecution in mid-July.
A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a question about why the lawsuit against James was voluntarily dismissed.
In the Clinton case, Middlebrooks ordered Trump, who is seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, and his attorney Alina Habba to pay Clinton and the other defendants approximately $938,000 for filing the suit, which the judge had previously dismissed.
Trump’s lawsuit accused Clinton and others, including the Democratic National Committee and various FBI officials, of conspiring to create a false narrative during the 2016 presidential election that his campaign colluded with Russia. .
“We are faced with a legal action that should never have been brought, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” Middlebrooks wrote in his order punishing Trump and Habba with monetary penalties.
New York Attorney General Letitia James pauses during a news conference at the New York Attorney General’s office on May 9, 2022, to make an announcement on protecting access to abortion.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
Middlebrooks’ order cited Trump’s response in New York court to James’ civil investigation into his company, the Trump Organization, as one of multiple examples of a “pattern of abuse of rights.” courts” by the former Republican president.
“Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigator who repeatedly uses the courts to exact revenge against political adversaries,” the judge wrote.
“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.”
In September, James filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Trump, his company, three of his adult children and others, alleging widespread fraud involving false financial statements related to company operations.
In November, Trump sued James in Florida state court, alleging she was engaged in a “war of intimidation and harassment” against him. This lawsuit sought to prevent James from obtaining records from a revocable trust he set up in Florida that owns the Trump Organization.
Shortly after, James returned that lawsuit to federal court in Florida, where Middlebrooks was assigned the case.
Middlebrooks, in his order in the Clinton case, noted Thursday that last month he ruled that “Trump’s attempt to circumvent New York court decisions by suing AG James individually rather than in his official capacity was patently frivolous”.
The judge also found that Trump had “no likelihood of success on the merits” of the case, and urged Trump to consider dropping his opposition to James’ bid to get the case.
“This dispute [against James] has all the telltale signs of being both vexatious and frivolous,” Middlebrooks wrote last month.
But the judge later wrote, “A decision in Mr. Trump’s Florida lawsuit against the New York Attorney General, a case currently pending before me, is premature.”
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