Trump, attorneys sanctioned over $937,000 for allegedly abusing court
A federal judge in Florida ordered former President Trump and his attorneys to pay over $937,000 in sanctions on Thursday,
Driving the news: District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks ruled that they perpetrated a "continuing pattern of misuse of the courts" in order to "dishonestly advance a political narrative" in his lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.
Why it matters: Trump's suit baselessly accused Clinton, her campaign and other Democrats of working to paint a false narrative about Trump's alleged collusion with Russia in order to win the 2016 presidential election.
- Middlebrooks dismissed the case last September, however, calling it a "two-hundred-page political manifesto" and ruling that Trump exceeded the legal statute of limitations.
Details: Under Thursday's order, Trump and his lead attorney, Alina Habba of Habba Madaio & Associates, are "jointly and severally liable for $937,989.39."
- This is in addition to the $50,000 fine Middlebrooks issued in November.
What they're saying: "This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start," Middlebrooks, a Clinton appointee, wrote in the blistering 46-page filing.
- "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."
- "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," he said.
- "Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries," Middlebrooks added, calling his "use of a frivolous lawsuit" the cornerstone in a larger "plan, or at least a playbook."
What we're watching: Trump's legal team previously said it would appeal the ruling after Middlebrooks tossed out the lawsuit.
- Representatives for Trump and Habba did not immediately return requests for comment.
Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.