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Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and former FBI officials over Russia probe

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks dismissed the lawsuit Thursday, saying “most of the plaintiff’s claims are not only not supported by any legal authority, but are simply precluded by binding precedent.”

“What (Trump’s lawsuit) lacks substance and legal backing, he seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, and reckoning and grievances,” Middlebrooks, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote.

Trump filed his sprawling lawsuit in March, naming a wide cast of characters Trump has been accused of for years of orchestrating a “deep state” conspiracy against him, including former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI officials, retired British spy Christopher Steele and his associates; and a handful of Clinton campaign advisers.

Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida said there were “obvious problems” with Trump’s “bold” interpretations of the law, and that many of Trump’s specific factual claims were “implausible” or unsubstantiated.

Trump “is not attempting to seek redress for any legal harm,” Middlebrooks said. “(I)nstead, he is trying to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those who have opposed him, and this Court is not the proper forum.”

The ruling is a legal victory for the figures Trump sued, many of whom were involved in the Clinton campaign in 2016 or were involved in the US government’s efforts to investigate Russian interference in that election.

This includes Clinton, several of her top 2016 campaign officials, the Democratic National Committee, Comey, her former MP Andrew McCabe, former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. It also includes Steele, author of the Trump-Russia dossier, and the opposition group Steele worked with, Fusion GPS.

The suit accused a large group of former US government officials and Democratic operatives of orchestrating a “deep state” conspiracy against him and perpetuating a massive hoax in the form of the Russia investigation. Trump, who has pushed these baseless claims for years and included them in the lawsuit, had asked for $24 million in damages.

Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, said Trump “will immediately appeal this decision.”

“We do not vehemently agree with the opinion issued by the Court today,” Habba told CNN in a statement. “Not only is it riddled with misapplications of the law, it ignores the numerous independent government investigations that corroborate our claim that the defendants conspired to falsely implicate our client and undermine the 2016 presidential election.”

In April, Clinton’s lawyers asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that it was “meritless.”

Clinton’s team had argued that she should not be charged in federal court in South Florida because too many years have passed to allow a lawsuit centered on the events of 2016.

This story has been updated with additional details.


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