Trump lawyer Alina Habba appeals $1 million sanctions order
One of former President Donald Trump’s top lawyers has launched the process to appeal a nearly $1 million penalty order against herself and the ex-president over a set of disputes” frivolous” and “vexatious”.
In a scathing order late last month, U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks fined Trump and Alina Habba $937,989.39 in their lawsuit charging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and dozens of others from a massive racketeering scheme (RICO). to sully it with associations with Russia.
This lawsuit should never have been filed, Middlebrooks wrote at the start of his January 19, 2023 decision.
The 46-page order cited Trump’s ongoing pattern of court abuse, in a playbook that Middlebrooks says undermines the rule of law, paints judges as partisans and diverts resources from those who suffered actual legal harm.
Sanctions generally punish lawyers who abuse the court system, but Middlebrooks found that Trump’s litigation tactics deserved an exception.
Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigator who repeatedly uses the courts to exact revenge on political adversaries, Middlebrooks wrote. He is the mastermind of the strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be considered a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew very well the impact of his actions.
On Monday, Trump, Habba and his law firm all filed notices of appeal.
They are now represented by the law firm of Jesse Binnall, a 2020 election denier lawyer behind a failed attempt to undo President Joe Biden’s victory by more than 33,000 votes in Nevada.
The sanctions order appeared to land with a decisive impact on Trump’s legal team.
The day after the order, Trump withdrew a separate lawsuit he had filed against New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) in Florida. The former president had asked a Florida federal judge to intervene in the attorney general’s lawsuit pending in New York state court. This matter also landed before Middlebrooks, who declined to intervene.
The Trump Organization has already been convicted by a New York jury of multiple counts of tax evasion, Middlebrooks noted in that December 2022 order.
Middlebrooks referenced Trump’s lawsuit against James and other perceived political opponents, establishing what he called a “frivolous” litigation pattern.
I found that the plaintiffs’ attempt to circumvent the New York court rulings by suing AG James individually rather than in his official capacity was patently frivolous, the judge wrote. I have found that there is no likelihood of success on the merits, no irreparable harm, and preventing a civil action for execution by the Attorney General of New York would be unprecedented and contrary to the interests of the people of New York.
A few days later, Trump withdrew an appeal for the dismissal of a separate lawsuit against James, which was pending before the Second Circuit.
On Tuesday, Habba is scheduled to appear in a court in the Southern District of New York for a hearing in the trial of E. Jean Carroll accusing Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s. Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in a court filing that Habba decided to step aside from the case, but Habba denied this in an interview. with Law&Crime.
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