A Florida federal judge has dismissed former President Donald Trump’s sprawling racketeering lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other perceived political enemies such as former FBI Director James Comey and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, the calling it a 200-page “political manifesto”. outlining his grievances against those who opposed him.
What the lawsuit “lacks in substance and legal backing it seeks to replace with length, hyperbole and settling of scores and grievances,” Judge Donald Middlebrooks said in a scathing 65-page decision released Thursday evening. .
Trump has filed a massive conspiracy lawsuit involving Clinton, who was the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, the Democratic National Committee and numerous others he says conspired against him to orchestrate what he calls the “death hoax.” Russia” – an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and the efforts of the Russian government to support his campaign.
Defendants, “blinded by political ambition, orchestrated a malicious conspiracy to disseminate patently false and offensive information about Donald J. Trump and his campaign, all in the hopes of destroying his life, his political career and rigging the 2016 presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton,” the lawsuit alleged.
The judge said “Trump’s theory on this matter, set forth in 527 paragraphs in the first 118 pages of the Amended Complaint, is difficult to summarize concisely and cohesively. It was certainly not presented that way. Nonetheless, I’ll try to distill it here. The short version: Plaintiff alleges that Defendants'[a]acting in concert … conspired maliciously to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with hostile foreign sovereignty.
The judge said the defendants characterized Trump’s allegations as “a series of disconnected political disputes which the plaintiff turned into a vast conspiracy among the many people who the plaintiff alleges harmed him.” They argued that whatever its use “”as a fundraising tool, a press release or a list of political grievances, it has no merit as a lawsuit “. I agree”, wrote Middlebrooks.
“A complaint filed in federal court must contain ‘a short and clear statement of the claim showing that the litigant is entitled to relief,'” Middlebrooks added, and Trump’s complaint “is neither short nor clear, and it certainly does not establish that the plaintiff is entitled to any remedy. More troubling, the claims presented in the amended complaint are not justified by existing law. In fact, they are excluded by existing precedents, including the decisions of the Supreme Court.
Trump lawyer Alina Habba said in a statement, “We vehemently disagree” with the ruling, which is “plagued by misapplications of the law.”
“We will immediately appeal this decision,” Habba said.
A Clinton lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit was filed at the Southern District of Florida Courthouse where Judge Aileen Cannon sits. Cannon is the Trump appointee overseeing the former president’s action against the Justice Department demanding a special review of documents that were seized during an FBI search of his Florida compound last month.
Trump apparently hoped the lawsuit would go to Cannon, but it ended up being awarded to Middlebrooks, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton. Trump argued that Middlebrooks should recuse himself because of the Clinton connection, but Middlebrooks denied that request in April.
“I have never met or spoken with Bill or Hillary Clinton. Other than my appointment by Bill Clinton, I have and never had a relationship with the Clintons,” he wrote.
Middlebrooks noted that Trump “filed this complaint in the Fort Pierce division of this district, where only one federal judge sits: Judge Aileen Cannon, whom the plaintiff appointed in 2020. Despite the odds, this case landed with me in place. He also pointed out that Trump had a number of cases before the judges he appointed.
“[W]When the plaintiff is a litigant before a self-appointed judge, he does not tend to advance these same types of bias concerns,” Middlebrooks wrote.
In his order Thursday, the judge found that Trump waited too long to press charges for his racketeering allegations and that, regardless, there was no evidence to support the claim. Other allegations made by Trump made no sense, the judge said, including one involving the FBI’s initial investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, which was called Crossfire Hurricane.
“Perplexingly, Plaintiff appears to argue that Defendants obstructed the Crossfire Hurricane investigation by aiding in the initiation of Crossfire Hurricane. That Defendants could have obstructed a proceeding by initiating it defies logic,” Middlebrooks wrote. .
The lawsuit also accused former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and various FBI employees, including frequent Trump targets Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, of ‘malicious prosecutions’. .
“But the plaintiff was never prosecuted,” the judge noted, and the only civil action is for “malicious prosecution, not malicious investigation.”
Nor does Trump “plausibly allege that alleged lies actually harmed his political career: as the plaintiff knows, it was he – not defendant Clinton – who won the presidential election of 2016”.