Following a judge’s accusation that he was exploiting the legal system to exact revenge, Donald Trump withdrew his case against Letitia James, the attorney general of New York. The former president was the target of Ms. James’ “war of intimidation,” according to the lawsuit. The Trump Organization, a family business owned by Mr. Trump, is accused of defrauding investors for more than ten years in a $250 million (£202 million) lawsuit filed by Ms. James. Mr. Trump’s legal counsel has been approached by the BBC for response.
On Friday, less than a day after US District Judge Donald Middlebrooks criticised Mr. Trump and said his case had the appearance of being “frivolous,” Mr. Trump withdrew it. The judge went on to say that the previous president had frequently used the legal system to “seek vengeance on his rivals.” He ruled that Mr. Trump must pay about $1 million (£809,190) for a different case brought against Hillary Clinton that claimed she and others plotted to “weave a false narrative” about his campaign’s cooperation with Russia during the 2016 election.
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In September, the lawsuit was thrown out, and Mr. Trump later paid a fine after one defendant asked for penalties. A number of defendants, including Mrs. Clinton, submitted a fresh request for sanctions, which led to the most recent order. Judge Middlebrooks ruled that Mr. Trump was a “mastermind of strategic misuse of the legal system” and that the complaint was filed with “political intent” and was “inadequate as a legal claim.” No sensible attorney, he claimed, would have submitted it. “This case shouldn’t have even been filed.”
The judgement mandated that Mr. Trump, his attorney Alina Habba, and Habba Madaio & Associates together pay a fine of $937,989.39. Judge Middlebrooks also forewarned Mr. Trump at the time that his litigation against Ms. James could result in more penalties. Ms. James was accused of waging “a relentless, malicious, public and unapologetic crusade” against him and the Trump Organization, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in November.
Mrs. James hasn’t responded.