Donald Trump dealt further setbacks as legal woes mount

Former US president and lawyer required to pay nearly $1m in costs in Hillary Clinton case

Donald Trump withdrew a lawsuit against New York's attorney general after a Florida judge tossed out a separate case the former president had filed against Hillary Clinton. AP
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Donald Trump saw further legal setbacks this week, as the litigious Republican continues to spend much of his post-presidency mired in court battles.

Mr Trump on Friday ended a Florida lawsuit he had brought against New York Attorney General Letitia James in which he sought to block her office from obtaining materials from his trust.

The action came a day after he and his lawyer were fined nearly $1 million in a separate case.

A frequent target of the former president's anger, Ms James has been conducting an investigation into Mr Trump and his business dealings, with the former president, his business and three of his children accused of financial fraud.

The one-page filing did not provide a reason as to why Mr Trump was dismissing the lawsuit.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused the New York attorney general of a “relentless, pernicious, public and unapologetic crusade against” him.

The withdrawal came after Mr Trump and his lawyer on Thursday were fined nearly $1 million for what a Florida judge called a “frivolous” lawsuit against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump alleged Ms Clinton and others had conspired against him during the 2016 presidential election by tying his campaign to Russia.

“No reasonable lawyer would have filed it,” Federal Judge Donald Middlebrook wrote.

“Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognisable legal claim.”

Among the other defendants in the case were former FBI director James Comey, other FBI officials and some advisers to Ms Clinton.

Mr Trump sought $24 million in damages.

Mr Middlebrooks had previously dismissed the lawsuit filed by Mr Trump.

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“Here, we are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” he wrote.

“Mr Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries”.

Mr Middlebrooks said the characterisations of events in the lawsuit were “implausible” and “categorically absurd”.

The former president and his lawyer, Alina Habba, were required to pay nearly $938,000 to the defendants.

“Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative,” Mr Middlebrooks wrote.

Ms Habba told CNN in a statement that the former president plans to appeal the decision.

Updated: January 20, 2023, 6:21 PM