A few months ago, Donald Trump boasted via his social networks of his team’s successes in court. “These vicious Communists, Marxists, Fascists, and Radical Left Democrats have attacked my lawyers at a level never seen before,” the former president wrote, “and yet I continue to win.”
In reality, Team Trump continues to lose, even suffering another embarrassing setback late last week. Newsweek reported:
A Florida judge on Friday harshly reprimanded Donald Trump and one of his lawyers, accusing the former president of trying to use the courts to “get revenge on political adversaries.”
I’ve been keeping an eye on this case for a long time — even by Republican standards, it’s a little crazy — so let’s look back at our recent coverage and go over the basics.
It was in March 2022 that Trump had the brilliant idea of suing Hillary Clinton and several other Democrats, alleging they tried to rig the 2016 presidential election by drawing attention to his Russia scandal. Believe it or not, the case alleged, among other things, “racketeering” and “conspiracy to commit damaging falsehoods.”
By any reasonable measure, the lawsuit was completely bonkers, even if it had a serious purpose: Trump claimed the Russia scandal cost him more than $24 million — and he wanted his legal targets to pay much more than that.
The judge in the case not only dismissed the underlying allegations, Middlebrooks could barely contain her disgust at the inanity of the legal complaint. “These were political grievances disguised as legal demands,” Middlebrooks concluded. “This cannot be attributed to an incompetent lawyer. This was a deliberate use of the justice system to pursue a political agenda. He then cited the lawyers’ “cavalier attitude toward the facts.”
With that in mind, the judge fined former president and attorney Alina Habba nearly $1 million for filing a lawsuit that “should never have been filed.” The lawyer added: “Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it.
Last month, as the Newsweek report explained, Habba nonetheless refiled the lawsuit, incorporating assertions from special counsel John Durham’s report on the Russia scandal investigation. This didn’t go well.
“Even if the Durham Report revealed the kind of broad conspiracy alleged by Plaintiff (which it clearly did not), it would not change the many legal conclusions I made in the order dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit. plaintiff,” Middlebrooks wrote. “And whatever the Durham Report may be said to have uncovered, for the purposes of this case it does not change my conclusions that Movants acted in bad faith in bringing this lawsuit and that this case illustrates the Mr. Trump’s history of abuse of the legal process. Therefore, for the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff’s and his attorneys’ motion for an indicative ruling based on new evidence is denied.
Habba told Fox News she may appeal. This seems like a ridiculously bad idea, but so was filing this complaint in the first place.
This article updates our related prior coverage.