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Donald Trump Is Just A Walking Legal Dumpster Fire

Donald Trump. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Donald Trump. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Donald Trump is well known for liking to file lawsuits, and that was the case before he even got into politics. In a recent case, that has come back to bite him. 

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A federal judge in Florida this week came down hard on Trump and his attorneys over a 2022 lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, in which he alleged that his 2016 opponent had orchestrated “a malicious conspiracy” to imply that Donald Trump had colluded with Russia during that campaign. 

U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks had tossed the lawsuit last September, and this week the same judge unloaded on the former president as well as his attorney, Alina Habba.

Fines of $937,989.39 were assessed against Trump, Habba, and her law firm Habba Madaio & Associates.

“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,” the 46-page ruling said

“Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative. 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.” 

Those individuals and entities, per the Washington Post, included former FBI director James Comey, former deputy F.B.I. director Andrew G. McCabe, and Christopher Steele, the author of the notorious Steele Dossier, and the Democratic National Committee. 

“Here, 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,” the ruling said. “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, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew full well the impact of his actions.”

He went on to call the actions “abusive litigation tactics.” 

Included in the ruling was an incredulous response to the idea that Hillary Clinton and James Comey had conspired together, with others, against Trump. 

“Consider the incendiary charge that Mr. Comey, the Director of the FBI, conspired with Ms. Clinton to maliciously prosecute him. Leaving aside the fact that Mr. Trump was never prosecuted, examine the allegations in the Amended Complaint pertaining to Mr. Comey… 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.”

The New York Times described the ruling as a “significant rebuke” of Trump, noting that the ex-president has “rarely faced such consequences in his long history of using the courts as a weapon against business rivals and partners, as well as former employees and reporters.” 

Donald Trump Should Have Known Better 

This is not the first time Trump lawyers have been sanctioned. As of the end of December, per Business Insider, 16 different attorneys representing the former president had been sanctioned for their part in election lawsuits on behalf of Trump.

This included Habba herself, who was sanctioned last year, also by Judge Middlebrooks, for a lawsuit in which she erroneously described Charles Dolan as “a Clinton campaign official and a chairman of a national Democratic party organization.” Rudy Giuliani, as a result of his representation of Trump, has had his law license suspended in both New York and Washington, D.C. 

“For Donald, the only option is victory at any cost,” Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, who went to prison for acts on behalf of the former president, told Insider. “This even includes having counsel act in ways detrimental to their reputation and career.”

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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.