Former President Donald Trump stands on the 18th green during the Pro-Am tournament before the LIV Golf series at Trump National Doral, Oct. 27, 2022.
Jason Vinlove | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump on Friday morning voluntarily dropped a longshot federal lawsuit in Florida against New York’s attorney general — a day after the same judge in the case sanctioned him and his lawyer nearly $1 million for filing another, “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and many other defendants.
The judge, John Middlebrooks, pointedly noted in a scathing sanction order Thursday evening in the Clinton case that he was also handling Trump’s complaint against Attorney General Letitia James in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Middlebrooks ordered Trump, who is seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, and his attorney Alina Habba to pay Clinton and other defendants around $938,0000 for filing the suit that the judge previously dismissed.
Trump’s suit had accused Clinton and the others of conspiring to create a false narrative during the 2016 presidential election that his campaign was colluding with Russia.
Middlebrooks in that order cited how Trump has responded in court in New York to James’ years-long civil investigation of his company, the Trump Organization, as one of the multiple examples of “a pattern of abuse of the courts” by the Republican former president.
New York Attorney General Letitia James pauses during a press conference at the Office of the Attorney General in New York on May 9, 2022, to make an announcement about protecting access to abortion.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
James in September filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Trump, his company, three of his adult children and others, alleging widespread fraud involving false financial statements related to the company’s business.
In November, Trump sued James in Florida state court, alleging she was engaged in a “war of intimidation and harassment” against him. That suit sought to block James from getting records from a revocable trust he set up in Florida that is owned by the Trump Organization.
James shortly thereafter removed that lawsuit to federal court in Florida, where Middelbrooks was assigned the case.
Middlebrooks in his order in the Clinton case Thursday noted that last month he had ruled that Trump’s “attempt to sidestep rulings by the New York court by suing AG James individually rather than in her official capacity was plainly frivolous.”
The judge had also found that Trump had “no likelihood of success on the merits” of the case, and that he had urged Trump to consider dropping his opposition to James’s bid to get the case.
“This litigation [against James] has all the telltale signs of being both vexatious and frivolous,” Middlebrooks had written last month.
But the judge later wrote, “a decision in Mr. Trump’s Florida lawsuit against the New York Attorney General, a case now pending before me, is premature.”
A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a question about why the lawsuit against James was voluntarily dismissed.
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