Donald Trump and one of his lawyers have been fined nearly $1m, for what a Florida judge called a bogus legal claim against Hillary Clinton and her top advisers.
The ruling ordered the former US president and his lawyer Alina Habba to pay nearly $938,000 (£758,626) to the defendants in the case, after claiming they conspired to sway the outcome of his winning presidential campaign by working with Russia.
In the wake of the sanction, Mr Trump withdrew his lawsuit against New York attorney general Letitia James, which was first filed in 2021.
US district judge Donald M Middlebrooks, who first dismissed the case in September, called the lawsuit against Mr Trump’s 2016 rival Mrs Clinton, former top FBI officials and the Democratic Party, “completely frivolous, both factually and legally” and one which “amounts to obstruction of justice”.
Citing other legal action that Mr Trump is embroiled within, Mr Middlebrooks described the former president as a “prolific and sophisticated litigant” who uses the courts “to seek revenge on political adversaries”.
“He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process,” Mr Middlebrooks added.
A spokesman for Mr Trump and Ms Habba did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump vs New York’s attorney general
Mr Middlebrooks was also the judge who heard the lawsuit Mr Trump filed against Ms James.
The attorney general’s office was investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to get loans and receive tax and economic benefits.
After first being sued by Ms James, Mr Trump claimed the attorney general had violated the Trump Organization’s constitutional right, by pursuing a politically motivated investigation, branding it a “witch hunt”.
Irritated, Mr Middlebrooks wrote of the lawsuit: “This litigation has all the tell-tale signs of being both vexatious and frivolous.”
Trump vs CNN
In another legal case, Mr Trump sued media conglomerate CNN for defamation in October last year.
He is seeking $475m (£420m) in punitive damages, claiming the network had carried out a “campaign of libel and slander” against him.
In the 29-page lawsuit, Mr Trump claimed that CNN had a long track record of criticising him but had ramped up its attacks in recent months because the network feared that he would run again for the presidency in 2024.