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Critics mocked former President Donald Trump after the Republican abandoned his lawsuit against New York Attorney General Laeticia James on Friday, hours after a Florida federal judge fined him for the “strategic abuse of the judicial process” for political purposes.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks ordered Trump and his attorney Alina Habba to pay nearly $1 million in defendants’ legal fees for frivolously suing 2016 political opponent Hillary Clinton and others over an alleged effort to rig that election by accusing his campaign of colluding with Russia.
Citing the ex-president’s lawsuits against CNN, Twitter, the Pulitzer Prize board, and New York Attorney General Letitia James, Middlebrooks branded Trump a “prolific and sophisticated litigant” adept at “using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries” in a searing 46-page sanctions order that came months after the same judge threw out the Clinton lawsuit.
On Friday morning, hours after the sanctions, Trump’s legal team filed a single-page notice of voluntary dismissal in court, dropping the former president’s lawsuit accusing the New York top cop of masterminding a "war of intimidation and harassment" against him — the very litigation mentioned in Middlebrook’s sanction order — per Bloomberg.
“Plaintiff, PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP, by and through his undersigned counsel and pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i), hereby voluntarily dismisses his claims in this action against Defendant, LETITIA JAMES, without prejudice,” the letter read, according to The Independent.
Trump filed the lawsuit in November, accusing James — who had in September sued him, his three children, and the family’s company for $250 million for “years of financial fraud — of orchestrating "a relentless, pernicious, public and unapologetic crusade" against him.
Trump’s effort to dismiss James’ fraud lawsuit was rejected in early January by Justice Arthur F. Engoron of the New York State Supreme Court, who excoriated the ex-president for making “borderline frivolous” arguments in an “[attempt] to evade the law.”
According to the Daily Mail, Trump’s lawsuit against James, widely considered an effort to strong-arm the attorney general into dropping her civil suit, had been assigned to Middlebrooks — the very judge who had dismissed his suit against Clinton and penalized him for it.
“We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” Middlebrooks opined.
Trump’s critics dragged him on Twitter throughout Friday for the humiliating legal sanction and his quiet absconding of the moribund lawsuit against James.
\u201cBREAKING: Habba and trump have DROPPED their lawsuit against Tish James after being hit with $1,000,000 in sanctions for their lawsuit against Hillary Clinton yesterday. Florida Judge Middlebrooks had both cases because Donald was trying to get Aileen Cannon. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!\u201d— Mueller, She Wrote (@Mueller, She Wrote) 1674227445
\u201cHow much you wanna bet Ms. Habba & Mr. Trump won't be posing for photos now that they've been fined nearly $1 million dollars for the revenge lawsuit against Hillary Clinton!\n\nBonus fact: following that bigly fine, the revenge lawsuit against Letitia James has been DROPPED!\u201d— Lulu \ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa \ud83d\udcab \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83d\udc9e (@Lulu \ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa \ud83d\udcab \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83d\udc9e) 1674234104
\u201c*Opens twitter*\n\n\u2018Mr. Trump fined one million dollars for his frivolous revenge lawsuit against Hillary Clinton\u2019\n\n*Closes Twitter because it can\u2019t get better than this!*\u201d— \u029d\u025b\u014b\ud83e\udeb7 (@\u029d\u025b\u014b\ud83e\udeb7) 1674236398
\u201cAnd the frivolous lawsuit for which Trump and his attorney were sanctioned was a suit against Hillary Clinton for how she ran against him in 2016! We knew Trump was the sorest of sore losers. Now we know he\u2019s a sore winner too!\u201d— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe) 1674215335
Arrests continue to be made as more information is revealed and investigations continue into the U.S. Capitol riot that occurred on January 6, 2021. Most recently, on Wednesday, three active-duty Marines were arrested for their participation in the insurrection, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. Identified as Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate, and Dodge Dale Hellonen, the three men were arrested on four charges each in relation to their participation in the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol two years ago, Military.com reported.
Since Marine Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, who was taken into custody in May 2021 on nine charges, the three men are the first active-duty military members to be arrested in connection with the failed insurrection. Records provided to Military.com indicate that all three work in jobs connected to the intelligence community, have been enlisted for more than four years, and have been awarded good conduct medals in the past.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, FBI agents arrested Coomer and Abate on Tuesday and the other defendant, Hellonen, on Wednesday.
The men were arrested after a search warrant was issued for one of their social media accounts in 2021, as a result of photos taken and posted from inside the Capitol—indicating they had partaken in the riot. One was captioned, "Glad to be apart [sic] of history,” the arrest complaint said.
According to court documents, the trio spent a little under an hour around the Capitol, when they placed "a red MAGA hat on one of the statues to take photos with it."
Court records indicate that after going through their social media, more evidence was found, including Coomer telling an unidentified person, "everything in this country is corrupt. We honestly need a fresh restart. I'm waiting for the boogaloo." When the other person asked what a "boogaloo" was, Coomer replied, "Civil war 2.”
According to Military.com, the term “boogaloo" is slang for a future race war. Experts, like the Anti-Defamation League, have noted though "most boogalooers are not white supremacists, though one can find white supremacists within the movement.”
In another conversation several days after the election, Coomer also said, “I just love how after years of trying to get trump out of office by any means the left all of a sudden is going to have a ‘fair’ election. They’re an absolute joke,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
In addition to finding evidence on social media that the marines attended the riot, court documents say that Abate admitted to being in the Capitol in a June 2022 interview that was part of his work security clearance process.
"During the interview, Abate discussed entering the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, with two 'buddies,'" the documents said. He added that they "walked around and tried not to get hit with tear gas."
"Abate also admitted he heard how the event was being portrayed negatively and decided that he should not tell anybody about going into the U.S. Capitol Building," the court document said.
The three arrests come as a shock because while others enlisted have been arrested, most have been lower rankings than these Marines, Military.com said.
But while their arrests come as a shock, they aren’t the only members of the intelligence community to be arrested for their alleged part in the insurrection. Others include Petty Officer 1st Class Hatchet Speed, a sailor assigned to the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office, was arrested last year.
In total, including the three Marines, about 12 service members—active, reserve, and National Guard—have been arrested for alleged crimes in connection to Jan. 6, 2021. According to the George Washington University's Project on Extremism, out of the 940 defendants charged with crimes related to the Capitol riot, 118 — or 12 percent — have some form of military background.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.