A Florida judge on Thursday ordered former President Donald Trump and his lawyer to pay nearly $1 million in punitive damages to cover legal costs for Hillary Clinton and dozens of other defendants involved in one of the former commander-in-chief’s botched trials.
“This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was apparent from the outset,” U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks wrote in his scathing 46-page order.
“No reasonable attorney would have filed that. Intended for political purpose, none of the counts in the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim,” Middlebrooks said.
“Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly injured to dishonestly advance a political narrative. A continuing pattern of abuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisan, and diverts resources from those who have suffered real legal harm.”
The 76-year-old former president and his lawyer, Alina Haba, filed a lawsuit against Clinton and dozens of former Justice Department and FBI officials, alleging a conspiracy to target Trump for criminal prosecution.
Trump alleged in the lawsuit that the former secretary of state and New York senator, in coordination with the Justice Department, tried to undermine the 2016 presidential election.
The case was dismissed last year.
Judge Middlebrooks found Trump and Hamba jointly and severally liable for $937,989.39 in legal fees.
Under Thursday’s sanctions order, Clinton will receive the largest payout from Trump and Haba of all the defendants, nearly $172,000.
“The Amended Complaint is a jumble of disconnected, often intangible facts, followed by an improbable conclusion. This is a deliberate attempt to harass. to tell a story without regard to the facts,” Middlebrooks, who was an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote in his order.