US judge fines Donald Trump nearly $1m for Clinton lawsuit

Jan 20 (BBC/GNA) – A US judge has ordered Donald Trump and one of his lawyers to jointly pay nearly $1m (£809,190) in fines for a “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and others.

The lawsuit accused Mrs Clinton and others of trying to rig the 2016 US presidential election by linking his campaign to Russia.

“This case should never have been brought,” wrote US District Judge Donald M Middlebrooks in his order.

Mr Trump has not immediately responded.

The former president’s lawsuit, filed last March, accused Mrs Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and others of conspiring to “weave a false narrative” during the 2016 election that his campaign was colluding with Russia to win the race.

Mr Trump had sought $70m in damages.

The suit was dismissed in September, and Mr Trump was fined over $65,000 in fees and penalties in November after one defendant sought sanctions.

Thursday’s order came after a group of defendants, including Mrs Clinton, filed a new request for sanctions.

In the ruling, Judge Middlebrooks called Mr Trump a “mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process”, and said the lawsuit showed “inadequacy as a legal claim” and that it was intended for a “political purpose”.

“No reasonable lawyer would have filed it,” he said.

The judge ordered Mr Trump and his lawyer, Alina Habba, and her firm, Habba Madaio & Associates, to jointly pay $937,989.39 in fines.

The BBC has reached out to Ms Habba for comment.

“Mr Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries,” the judge wrote in a 46-page order.

Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former FBI Director James Comey and Democratic political consultant John Podesta were among others named in the complaint.

Russia’s alleged election interference in 2016 resulted in a two-year-long investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Mueller did not determine that Mr Trump or his campaign had colluded with Russia, but the special counsel said his report did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice.

GNA/ Credit: BBC