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Trump drops Florida lawsuit against New York attorney general

The case was being heard before the same federal judge who sanctioned the former president on Thursday for having filed a different "frivolous" lawsuit.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.Mark Humphrey / AP file

Former President Donald Trump has dropped the federal lawsuit he filed in Florida against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Trump's lawyers filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in the case before U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks on Friday morning. It came a day after Middlebrooks hit the former president and his lawyer with $1 million in sanctions for pushing a different “frivolous” suit.

The suit charged James — who's filed a $250 million lawsuit against Trump and his company in New York state court — has "repeatedly abused her position as Attorney General for the State of New York to pursue a vendetta against President Trump."

Trump had made similar claims against James in state and federal court in New York, both of which were dismissed. The judge in the federal case in New York found Trump's allegations that James "conducted a ‘baseless fishing expedition’ and ‘knowingly advanced claims that were unwarranted under existing law,’ are wholly unsupported.”

Middlebrooks denied Trump's request for an injunction blocking James from getting information relating to Trump's Florida trust last month, calling it meritless and unprecedented. In that ruling, he suggested in a footnote that Trump would be wise not to fight the AG's motion to dismiss the case and instead let that matter drop.

"Plaintiff, and Plaintiff’s lawyers, are urged to reconsider their opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. This litigation has all the telltale signs of being both vexatious and frivolous," the footnote said.

The motion to dismiss was due to be filed by Friday, the AG's office said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Trump maintained James was involved in a "political witch hunt." "We will continue fighting against the rigged system and to restore justice in our country," the spokesperson said.

Middlebrooks on Thursday sanctioned Trump and his attorney Alina Habba almost $1 million for filing a sprawling lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other perceived political enemies in March, alleging a massive conspiracy involving dozens of people and corporations plotting against the former president.

The judge said that the suit, which he dismissed in September, “should never have been filed," finding that it "was completely frivolous, both factually and legally" and "brought in bad faith for an improper purpose."

"Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries. He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process," Middlebrooks said, pointing to other lawsuits Trump has filed since leaving office to bolster that position — including his lawsuit against James.

He also noted that Trump has used some of his other suits — including unsuccessful actions against Twitter and CNN — in political fundraising pitches.

"Frivolous lawsuits should not be used as a vehicle for fundraising or fodder for rallies or social media. Mr. Trump is using the courts as a stage set for political theater and grievance," Middlebrooks wrote, ordering Trump and Habba to pay $937,989.39 in sanctions for their actions in the Clinton case.