A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida Thursday ordered sanctions against former President Donald Trump’s legal team for a “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other defendants. Judge Donald Middlebrooks ordered Trump’s attorneys to pay $50,000 to the court and more than $16,000 in legal fees to defendant Charles Dolan.
Middlebrooks found that Trump’s attorneys knowingly misconstrued facts despite being given warnings beforehand. The judge highlighted that the specific claim that Dolan was part of the conspiracy to connect Trump and Russian operations was erroneous. Middlebrooks also suggested that this was a continuation of a pattern of using the court system for political purposes, writing:
The rule of law is undermined by the toxic combination of political fundraising with legal fees paid by political action committees, reckless and factually untrue statements by lawyers at rallies and in the media, and efforts to advance a political narrative through lawsuits without factual basis or any cognizable legal theory.
Dolan moved for sanctions in July pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. His memorandum claimed that the original complaints contained numerous false statements and were being used to “seek political scores in the judicial system.” The complaint included false statements related to Dolan’s job and his role in spreading a rumor about Trump and alleged that he reported false information about Trump to the FBI.
Trump sued Clinton and other defendants in March, claiming they intentionally sabotaged Trump’s presidential bid by raising false claims of Russian influence over his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump’s suit was dismissed by Middlebrooks in September.