Trump Lawyers Sanctioned Again For Stupid Lawsuit Claiming Clinton Rigged The Election She Lost

from the still-bleeding-from-self-inflicted-wounds dept

Once again, the federal court that had the misfortune of dealing with Donald Trump’s pile of conspiracy theory he and his lawyers generously called a “lawsuit” is handing out sanctions to Trump’s legal team.

The lawsuit — which claimed Hillary Clinton (and a couple dozen others) conspired to rig the election Trump actually won — was dismissed with prejudice last September. The dismissal began with a paragraph that summed up the impossibility of summarizing Trump’s clusterfuck of a lawsuit:

Plaintiff’s theory of this case, set forth over 527 paragraphs in the first 118 pages of the Amended Complaint, is difficult to summarize in a concise and cohesive manner. It was certainly not presented that way.

There were more numbers cited by the clearly annoyed judge: 193 pages, 819 paragraphs, 14 counts, 31 named defendants, 10 “Doe” defendants, 10 “ABC Corporations,” and a few lawyers trying to shepherd this mess through court while spending their downtime badmouthing the defendants and the judge (!!!) during TV appearances.

Two months later, having declared everyone but Trump the victor, the court began issuing sanctions, starting with defendant Charles Dolan’s request for costs and fees. The judge was even more harsh in his assessment of the lawsuit this time around.

Not just initiated by a shotgun pleading, this was a shotgun lawsuit. Thirty-one individuals and organizations were summoned to court, forced to hire lawyers to defend against frivolous claims. The only common thread against them was Mr. Trump’s animus.

Plaintiff deliberately misrepresented public documents by selectively using some portions while omitting other information including findings and conclusions that contradicted his narrative. This occurred with the Danchenko Indictment, the Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report for Operation Hurricane, and the Mueller Report. It was too frequent to be accidental.

Every claim was frivolous, most barred by settled, well-established existing law. These were political grievances masquerading as legal claims. This cannot be attributed to incompetent lawyering. It was a deliberate use of the judicial system to pursue a political agenda.

The end result: $16,274 in legal fees. $50,000 in sanctions.

The bleeding continues. Another 18 defendants are being handled by the court, all seeking legal fees and sanctions. And they’re going to get what they’ve asked for. The latest sanctions order [PDF] opens with yet another caustic summary of Trump’s stupid lawsuit.

This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim.

Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative. A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans, and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm.

After some attempts to summarize the sprawling mess Trump and his lawyers inflicted on the court, the judge says both Trump and his lead counsel are financially culpable for this debacle. And the court is unwilling to let Trump pretend the blame lays solely at the feet of his legal team.

Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries. He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew full well the impact of his actions. As such, I find that sanctions should be imposed upon Mr. Trump and his lead counsel, Ms. Habba.

The defendants asked for a little more than a $1 million in legal fees and costs. Over several, mostly incoherent objections from Trump and his legal team, the court awards nearly the entire amount requested.

Plaintiff Donald J. Trump and Plaintiff’s lead attorney—Alina Habba and Habba Madaio & Associates—are jointly and severally liable for $937,989.39.

Of course, there’s a good chance the defendants will never see a cent of this. Trump doesn’t seem to like paying even his own lawyers. It seems unlikely he’ll rush to cut a check for lawyers that work against him.

And this won’t be the last we hear about this. The fee awards and sanctions will keep coming. There’s still another dozen or so defendants yet to be dealt with. By the end of this, Trump and his legal reps will be out even more cash.

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Comments on “Trump Lawyers Sanctioned Again For Stupid Lawsuit Claiming Clinton Rigged The Election She Lost”

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31 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re:

At this point I suspect that the majority of lawyers who work for him do so under the expectation that he’ll screw them over and choose to do so in order to be able to say that they did work for him in order to drum up business/attention from the sort of people who find having America’s Biggest Loser(tm) on their former client list something to brag about rather than be embarrassed by.

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Re: surely you jest

majority of lawyers who work for him do so under the expectation that he’ll screw them over and choose to do so in order to be able to say that they did work for him in order to drum up business/attention

That might make sense if there were not already more than enough work out there for lawyers. More clients strikes me as about as necessary as a tax increase.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Or, maybe nobody does:

“Everyone says he is crazy – which maybe he is – but the scarier thing about him is that he is stupid. You do not know anyone as stupid as Donald Trump. You just don’t.” – Fran Lebowitz

But, because he’s so stupid he’s easily conned into hiring other grifters. The track record doesn’t seem to imply it’s particularly difficult to fool him, you just have to lack morals and say the right words to him, and he’ll sign whatever you want.

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'Oh noes, 10% of what I got' vs 'Oh crap, my ability to be a lawyer'

While financial penalties to cover the legal fees incurred by the victims and all the joys of having to defend themselves in court are a good start if judges really want to crack down on lawyers abusing the system for personal gain notifying the state bars to look into disbarment alongside those fees would probably be more effective.

It’s one thing to face a one-time financial penalty, something else entirely to risk having your ability to practice as a lawyer suspended or removed entirely and as such I imagine the threat of that would be much more effective a deterrent against those that would weaponize the system for personal gain.

David says:

Re:

It will take probably decades before anybody gets money here, with the usual bounce through all the instances. In the end, 40% of the bills will get marked up 100%, 30% will get settled to about 50%, 30% will get dropped eventually because suing Trump is like dealing with Nigerian princes: the amounts get marked up time and again but never arrive.

Still a net win, and over time the amount of people dropping out rises, making it even more of a net win.

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Re: joint and several

suing Trump is like dealing with Nigerian princes: the amounts get marked up time and again but never arrive

Right you are. However, getting a judgment against Trump and [lawyer], jointly and severally, is more likely to be remunerative. The judgement creditor does not care who pays, and certainly the record of Trump payments is not encouraging. The lawyer, on the other hand, probably has houses, cars, stocks, bonds, and personalty against which a levy may be had.

Collect from the lawyer who is jointly and severally liable, and then he can seek contribution from Trump. Not your problem.

Also, record a certified copy of the judgment down in PB. No sensible bank will loan money until it is satisfied.

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Thad (profile) says:

This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim.

The judge continued, “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
discussitlive (profile) says:

Vexatious litigant

Seems that Judge Middlebrooks has concluded, as has the rest of the world, that Donald John Trump Senior simply brings suit to punish people when there is no hope of winning on the merits of his cases.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, I’m a computer guy, I don’t tell lawyers how to law (though they do tell me how to computer, and it’s irritatin’ as all hell) but isn’t that the definition of “Vexatious Litigant”, and shouldn’t someone named in this suit be asking His Honor fer a finding of “You’re too stupid to be allowed to file any more suits without a Judge saying you can” and posting a bond?

At minimum, a Amicus from any of the plethora of persons in the past pounded by this puppets purveyors of pompous, preposterous, psychopathic Paulfoolery? (Tomfoolery being too smart to be involved).

discussitlive (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, I did bestir myself enough to see if there is a federal statute on vexatious litigants before I posted, and while I didn’t find the USC (perhaps encoded in the court rules?), I did find plenty of cases. As was pointed out though, they were all pro-se I seem to recall so maybe that isn’t a “thing” if you have a licensed lawcritter on a leash. Guess I’ll ask a family member that’s in federal court.

Violet Aubergine says:

Trump is a loud mouth narcissist looking for the loudest megaphone to amplify his hateful gibberish. His pathology would prevent him from staying on Troof Soshull when he is allowed back onto the much wider reaching platform. And no matter how many times Trump calls for a coup or suspending the Constitution on it Eeyore Musk will never ban him.

JMT (profile) says:

Don't call him that!

Plaintiff deliberately misrepresented public documents by selectively using some portions while omitting other information including findings and conclusions that contradicted his narrative.

So knowing that, why on earth would the judge go on to say…

Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant…

Because you know the only thing he will take from this is “The judge knows I’m sophisticated, probably more sophisticated than anyone’s ever been!”

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