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Judge sanctions Trump lawyers over failed Hillary Clinton lawsuit

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A judge sanctioned a number of members of former President Donald Trump’s legal team on Thursday, over their role in a now-dismissed lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, court documents show. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
A judge sanctioned a number of members of former President Donald Trump’s legal team on Thursday, over their role in a now-dismissed lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, court documents show. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A judge sanctioned a number of members of former President Donald Trump's legal team on Thursday over their role in a now-dismissed lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, court documents show.

"These were political grievances masquerading as legal claims," U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks said in his ruling.

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"This cannot be attributed to incompetent lawyering. It was a deliberate use of the judicial system to pursue a political agenda."

The judge ordered the firms employing Trump's lawyers to pay $50,000 in court costs. He then sanctioned attorneys Peter Ticktin and Alina Habba, ordering them to pay $16,274.23 in legal fees to Charles Dolan, one of those named as a defendant in the dismissed lawsuit.

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Middlebrooks accused the attorneys of knowingly misrepresenting facts in the lawsuit that he referred to as a "two-hundred-page political manifesto" containing "factual allegations that were either knowingly false or made in reckless disregard for the truth."

It was Middlebrooks who in September, threw out Trump's federal lawsuit against Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and others, including Dolan.

The suit alleged that Clinton and Democrats harmed him by falsely linking Trump's 2016 campaign to Russia.

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At the time, Middlebrooks ruled the suit had no merit and had "fatal substantive defects that preclude Plaintiff from proceeding under any of the theories he has presented."

Trump attorney Habba said at the time that her client would appeal that decision. She also said Thursday the lawyers would appeal the sanction ruling.

"Mr. Trump's lawyers were warned about the lack of foundation for their factual contentions [and] turned a blind eye towards information in their possession," Middlebrooks wrote in his admonishment on Thursday.

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"The lawyers failed to conduct a pre-filing inquiry into the allegations against Mr. Dolan and have continued to advance Plaintiff's false claims based upon nothing but conjecture, speculation, and guesswork."

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