In his ruling, the judge asserted that Trump’s legal team had tried to abuse the court system by filing a lawsuit for purely political purposes.
A federal judge has ordered sanctions against the attorneys who helped former President Donald Trump file a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and other left-leaning political organizations.
According to CNN, Judge Donald Middlebrooks directed Trump attorneys Alina Habba, Michael Madaio, Peter Ticktin, Jamie Alan Sasson, and their respective law firms to pay an estimated $50,000 in penalties to the court as well as an additional $16,274.23 in legal fees to Charles Dolan.
Dolan, notes CNN, was among the several dozen individuals and entities named as defendants in the complaint.
In his ruling, Middlebrooks derided the lawsuit as a “two-hundred page political manifesto.”
Middlebrooks also observed that Trump’s legal team ignored repeated warnings from Dolan’s counsel, who stated that the complaint contained numerous factual inaccuracies, including basic information such as Dolan’s residential address.
“The pleadings in this case contained factual allegations that were either knowingly false or made in reckless disregard for the truth,” Middlebrooks wrote in a court submission.
“Not just initiated by a shotgun pleading, this was a shotgun lawsuit. Thirty-one individuals and organizations were summoned to court, forced to hire lawyers to defend against frivolous claims,” Middlebrooks wrote. “The only common thread against them was Mr. Trump’s animus.”
“Plaintiff deliberately misrepresented public documents by selectively using some portions while omitting other information including findings and conclusions that contradicted his narrative. […] It was too frequent to be accidental,” he said. “Every claim was frivolous, most barred by settled, well-established existing law. These were political grievances masquerading as legal claims.”
“This cannot be attributed to incompetent lawyering,” he wrote. “It was a deliberate use of the judicial system to pursue a political agenda.”
George Doumar, an attorney for Dolan, praised the ruling.
“Trying to use the courts for political purposes undermines the foundations of our court system,” Doumar said. “I think that’s the message being sent. That message applies to lawyers and to clients.”
“We gave Trump’s lawyers multiple warnings, and rather than heed the warnings and serve as gatekeepers of the integrity of the court system as lawyers are supposed to do, they doubled down on unsupported allegations and apparently chose not to tell their client that he was so wrong that they couldn’t go forward,” Doumar said.
Alina Habba, who has represented Trump in various cases and claims, indicated that the former president’s team will appeal the ruling.
“It should be no surprise that we will be appealing this decision,” she said of the sanctions.
Donald Trump has already appealed the dismissal of the initial lawsuit.