Trump “is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this Court is not the appropriate forum,” Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida wrote in a scathing 65-page ruling dated Thursday. The judge also wrote about “the audacity of Plaintiff’s legal theories and the manner in which they clearly contravene binding case law.”
Middlebrooks noted “glaring structural deficiencies in the plaintiff’s argument” and said that “such pleadings waste judicial resources and are an unacceptable form of establishing a claim for relief.”
The ruling was a victory for Clinton, who in April had asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying, “Whatever the utility of Plaintiff’s Complaint as a fundraising tool, a press release, or a list of political grievances, it has no merit as a lawsuit, and should be dismissed with prejudice.”
“Many of the Amended Complaint’s characterizations of events are implausible because they lack any specific allegations which might provide factual support for the conclusions reached,” Middlebrooks wrote.
The judge cited as an example the lawsuit’s claim that former FBI director James B. Comey, senior officials in the agency and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein “overzealously targeted” Trump and his campaign by appointing a special counsel to investigate the role Russia played in the 2016 election.
Trump’s attorneys also presented citations to bolster their argument that were simply not true, the judge wrote. The lawsuit claims Clinton and top campaign officials conceived of and carried out the plot against Trump and hid their involvement “behind a wall of third parties,” and it cites a specific page of a report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.
“I went to page 96 of the Inspector General’s Report looking for support for Plaintiff’s conclusory and argumentative statement but found none,” the judge wrote. Trump’s lawyers can disagree with the report, Middlebrooks wrote, “but they cannot misrepresent it in a pleading.”
But the lawsuit failed to note that Sussmann had been acquitted of wrongdoing in a separate case, Middlebrooks wrote. In filing their lawsuit, Middlebrooks said, Trump’s attorneys “certified to the court” that to the best of their knowledge their arguments were legally sound and not frivolous. “I have serious doubts about whether that standard is met here,” the judge wrote.
Middlebrooks also highlighted the difference between being in conflict with Trump and causing him harm: “Opposing Plaintiff’s presidential campaign does not amount to a realized pecuniary loss. Statements to law enforcement or comments made in a political campaign are not intended to induce others not to deal with Plaintiff or his business, or to cause direct or immediate financial loss.”
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