Judge Threatens Trump Lawyers With Possible Sanctions Over Clinton Lawsuit

In dismissing former President Donald Trump's lawsuit against his 2016 presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, a Florida judge said on Friday that Trump's lawyers could face consequences for the claims and legal contentions they made in the suit.

On Friday, Florida District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks dismissed Trump's lawsuit against Clinton that was filed in March alleging that Clinton accused him of colluding with Russia prior to the 2016 presidential election.

The ruling dismissing the suit said that Trump's complaint "is neither short nor plain, and it certainly does not establish that [Trump] is entitled to any relief."

"The amended complaint alleges that the defendants 'engaged in a calculated scheme to defraud the news media, law enforcement, and counterintelligence officials for the purpose of proliferating a false narrative of collusion between Trump and Russia,'" Middlebrooks said in the ruling.

Donald Trump
Former president Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates at the Mohegan Sun Arena on September 3, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. On Friday, a Florida judge dismissed Trump's lawsuit filed against Hillary Clinton alleging that Clinton accused the former president of colluding with Russia before the 2016 election. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In the ruling, Middlebrooks said he felt the claims brought by Trump and his lawyers were not "warranted under the law."

"In presenting a pleading, an attorney certifies that it is not being presented for any improper purpose; that the claims are warranted under the law; and that the factual contentions have evidentiary support...By filing the amended complaint, plaintiff's lawyers certified to the court that, to the best of their knowledge, 'the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law," and that "the factual contentions have evidentiary support.'"

"I have serious doubts about whether that standard is met here," Middlebrooks added.

In a statement sent to Newsweek following the ruling, Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, said, "We vehemently disagree with the opinion issued by the Court today. Not only is it rife with erroneous applications of the law, it disregards the numerous independent governmental investigations which substantiate our claim that the defendants conspired to falsely implicate our client and undermine the 2016 Presidential election. We will immediately move to appeal this decision."

Throughout his ruling, Middlebrooks disputed numerous claims made by Trump and his lawyers, saying that many are "implausible because they lack any specific allegations which might provide factual support for the conclusions reached."

"What the Amended Complaint lacks in substance and legal support it seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, and the settling of scores and grievances," Middlebrooks added.

Trump first filed the lawsuit in March accusing Clinton and other Democrats of conspiring "to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty," according to a report from the BBC.

In addition to the ruling on Friday, Trump is also facing other legal issues after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago residence last month in search of classified documents he reportedly took after his presidency. On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that it would appeal seeking to block Trump's request to have a special master oversee the documents that were seized from his Florida residence, prompting a critical response from the former president.

"So now the FBI & Biden Department of 'Justice' leakers are going to spend Millions of Dollars, & vast amounts of Time & Energy, to appeal the Order on the 'Raid of Mar-a-Lago Document Hoax,' by a brilliant and courageous Judge whose words of wisdom rang true throughout our Nation, instead of fighting the record setting corruption and crime that is taking place right before their very eyes," Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social website.

Update 9/9/22, 4:12 p.m. ET: This story was updated with a statement from Trump's lawyer.