Trump Lawyers Fined in Clinton Conspiracy Suit Dismissed in September

On Thursday, a federal court in Florida slapped penalties on former President Donald J. Trump’s legal team for their work on a massive lawsuit that claimed Hillary Clinton and many of Mr. Trump’s perceived opponents were engaged in a broad conspiracy against him.

Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida threw out the lawsuit in September after accusing Mr. Trump’s attorneys of manipulating the legal system for political reasons by filing a case full of disinformation. His opinion was 19 pages long. He said that “every claim was frivolous,” adding that the majority of them were invalid under preexisting, well-established law.

Trump Lawyers Fined in Clinton Conspiracy Suit Dismissed in September
Trump Lawyers Fined in Clinton Conspiracy Suit Dismissed in September

This decision comes as the ethics and behavior of a number of Trump’s lawyers have come under scrutiny for things like making frivolous challenges to the legitimacy of the 2020 election and giving the Justice Department false assurances that Trump had returned all classified documents in his possession.

Clinton appointee Judge Middlebrooks said that Mr. Trump‘s “political complaints masquerading as legal claims” in the racketeering action were inappropriate because “the courts are not created for performative litigation for purposes of fund-raising and political pronouncements.”

Alina Habba, Michael T. Madaio, Peter Ticktin, and Jamie Alan Sasson are the Trump attorneys who have been fined $50,000. Ms. Habba has released a statement saying that she would be appealing the ruling. A statement from the remaining attorneys was not received right away.

One of the defendants, Democratic public relations professional Charles Dolan, was also awarded reimbursement for his legal bills (about $16,000) by Mr. Trump’s legal team. Potentially ominous were the sanctions handed down on Thursday.

The complaint was dismissed, and Mr. Dolan promptly asked the court to impose fines. On the other hand, there is a sizable number of defendants in the action, and they include both Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. independently asked the court for penalties, which is still ongoing.

Attorney George Doumar, who represented Mr. Dolan, hailed the ruling, arguing that cases like Mr. Trump’s weakened the judicial system.

He said that despite repeated warnings, Trump’s legal team “doubled down on baseless charges” instead of acting as “gatekeepers of the integrity of the judicial system.”

In the lawsuit that he filed back in March, Mr. Trump identified 31 individuals and businesses as defendants. Mr. Trump used this lawsuit as a platform to further express his frustrations and conspiracy theories about the Russia probe.

After Igor Danchenko, a Russia expert who compiled many of the charges in the so-called Steele dossier, was indicted by special counsel John Durham during the Trump administration, Mr. Dolan became the target of conspiracy theories pushed by Trump supporters. (Last month, Mr. Danchenko’s case was dismissed.)

The dossier was bogus opposition research that the Democrats had paid to spread false rumors about ties between Mr. Trump and Russia. Within this was the now-famous allegation that Russian intelligence had a blackmail footage of Mr. Trump with prostitutes.

According to the accusation, Mr. Danchenko met with Mr. Dolan at the hotel where the alleged recording was made during Mr. Danchenko’s vacation to Moscow in the summer of 2016. He allegedly also visited Mr. Trump’s apartment during his trip.

The indictment against Mr. Durham may be seen as suggesting that Mr. Dolan was complicit in spreading the tape myth. However, Mr. Dolan said he was unaware of the rumor until BuzzFeed released the dossier in January 2017, and the indictment did not contradict this.

However, Mr. Trump’s legal team has pointed the finger of blame at Mr. Dolan, saying that he was the one who started the story. They falsely called Mr. Dolan the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a prominent leader in the Clinton campaign, and they accused him of conspiring with Mr. Danchenko to construct a dossier to “smear” Mr. Trump.

Lawyers for Mr. Dolan sought that he be removed from the lawsuit, claiming that their client was unaware of the sex video story, had never worked with Mr. Danchenko to compile a dossier, and was never the DNC chairman. They said his involvement with the Clinton campaign was confined to door-knocking.

However, Mr. Trump continued to insist. In response to Mr. Dolan’s request for penalties and Judge Middlebrooks’ dismissal of the complaint, the Trump team claimed that “virtually all” of the claims brought against him in the lawsuit originated from the Danchenko indictment.


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