Trump appeals nearly $1 million in sanctions for ‘frivolous’ suit he filed against Hillary Clinton
presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton attend campaign rallies in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, October 10, 2016 and Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., October 24, 2016 in a combination of file photos.
Mike Segar | Carlos Barria | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump and one of his lawyers said Monday they are appealing nearly $1 million in sanctions imposed on them for what a federal judge called their “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and more than two dozen other defendants.
The court filing about the appeal came days after a lawyer for Trump and his attorney Alina Habba told the judge in the case they were willing to put up a bond of $1,031,788 to cover the costs of the sanctions while the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit considered the matter.
The appeal will join another one at that court of appeals, which seeks both to reverse the dismissal of Trump’s lawsuit and to overturn an earlier, $50,000 sanctions order imposed against only against Trump’s lawyers.
“The Florida federal lawsuit filed on behalf of President Trump was factually correct and legally sound,” said Jesse Binnall, a lawyer for Trump and Habba, who is handling the appeal.
“We look forward to making our case to the Eleventh Circuit as each and every one of the decisions by the district court should be decisively reversed,” Binnall said.
Trump’s suit, which sought $70 million in damages, had accused Clinton, former FBI officials, the Democratic National Committee and others of conspiring to create a “false narrative” that Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign against Clinton were colluding with Russia to try to win the election that year.
Judge John Middlebrooks in September dismissed the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and barred Trump from refiling the complaint. Trump then appealed that dismissal.
Middlebrooks later imposed $50,000 in sanctions on Habba and other lawyers at the request of one of the defendants, former DNC chairman Charles Dolan. Habba is appealing that order.
On Jan. 19, Middlebrooks slapped more than $937,000 in sanctions on Trump and Habba for suing the other defendants.
“We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” Middlebrooks wrote in his sanctions order.
Middlebrooks in that order called Trump “a mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process,” and a “prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries.”
A day after that order, Trump voluntarily dropped another lawsuit he had pending before the same judge against New York Attorney General Letitia James. That suit was related to James’ pending $250 million fraud lawsuit against Trump and his company in Manhattan state court.
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