Two weeks after a federal judge, for the second time, refused to step aside from Donald Trump’s “bad faith” racketeering (RICO) civil lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the former president’s legal team is escalating their efforts by appealing the judge’s decisions.
The notice of appeal, filed on Wednesday, highlights a growing list of appealable issues that Trump’s lawyers are taking to the federal appellate court according to CNBC on Thursday, September 28, 2023.
Trump’s legal team, comprising Alina Habba, Michael T. Madaio, Peter Ticktin, and Jamie A. Sasson, is already appealing the dismissal of the case and a $1 million sanctions award in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Now, they are adding two recent setbacks from U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks to their appeal.
On September 15, Judge Middlebrooks, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote that Trump had divested the district court of control over certain aspects of the case by bringing the appeal to the 11th Circuit back in February.
However, the judge pointed out that Trump did not seek a stay of appeal for the motion to disqualify, a crucial procedural step.
Middlebrooks argued that even if he had jurisdiction, he would have still denied the request to remove himself from the case, stating that the case was frivolous and part of a pattern of behavior harmful to the Rule of Law.
In July, Trump’s lawyers had filed a motion for an indicative ruling, contending that the release of the Durham Report significantly changed the legal landscape of the case.
They argued that the report corroborated many facts and allegations relevant to the lawsuit.
However, Judge Middlebrooks, on the same day he denied the renewed disqualification bid, maintained that the initial RICO lawsuit had been filed in “bad faith” to exact revenge on Trump’s political foes over the Russia investigation.
Middlebrooks emphasized that he had imposed nearly $1 million in sanctions on the legal team for filing a “shotgun pleading” that was an abusive litigation tactic designed to advance a political narrative.
He accused Trump’s lawyers of consistently misrepresenting and cherry-picking portions of public reports and filings to support a false factual narrative.
After Middlebrooks denied both motions, Trump’s attorneys indicated their intent to promptly file a notice of appeal for both denial orders and combine these issues with the existing dismissal and sanctions appeals they are already pursuing.
It appears that the forthcoming appeal will argue that the Durham Report provided sufficient grounds to revive the RICO lawsuit, rendering sanctions inappropriate and the case dismissal erroneous.
Additionally, Trump’s legal team may use this opportunity to reiterate their concerns about Judge Middlebrooks’ alleged biases against the plaintiff and the need for his disqualification.
The legal battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton continues to unfold, with each side vigorously pursuing their respective positions in what has become a complex and contentious case.
As the appeals process moves forward, it remains to be seen how the federal appellate court will respond to the latest developments and whether they will impact the outcome of this high-profile lawsuit.
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