‘List of Political Grievances’: Judge Delivers Damning Rebuke as He Tosses Trump RICO-Like Lawsuit Against Clinton
A federal judge in Florida delivered a sharp, strong, and devastating 65-page rebuke as he dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and more than two dozen others including the Democratic National Committee and, initially, five former FBI officials who were later dropped from the $24 million suit. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks said the lawsuit was so weak he agreed with the defendants who described it as “a fundraising tool, a press release, or a list of political grievances,” and added, “it has no merit as a lawsuit.”
The lawsuit was filed by Alina Habba, who “previously worked as general counsel at a parking garage company.”
It “blamed Hillary Clinton and others for conspiring to malign his character,” Bloomberg reports, and “accused more than two dozen defendants of orchestrating ‘a malicious conspiracy to disseminate patently false and injurious information about Donald J. Trump and his campaign, all in the hopes of destroying his life, his political career and rigging the 2016 Presidential Election in favor of Hillary Clinton.’ It was filed in March under the civil version of a racketeering law normally used against organized crime.”
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Judge Middlebrooks, in tossing Trump’s suit, wrote: “At its core, the problem with plaintiff’s amended complaint is that plaintiff is not attempting to seek redress for any legal harm; instead, he is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this court is not the appropriate forum.”
The lawsuit claimed Trump suffered “injurious falsehood,” “malicious prosecution,” “violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,” “theft of trade secrets under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016,” and “violations of the Stored Communications Act,” along with “various conspiracy charges and theories of agency and vicarious liability.”
Calling it “a scathing dismissal,” Politico’s Kyle Cheney notes Judge Middlebrooks “says the Alina Habba-led suit was devoid of facts, premised on nonsense legal claims, and late.”
Middlebrooks blasted Trump’s attorney, writing, “Plaintiff’s theory of this case, set forth over 527 paragraphs in the first 118 pages of the Amended Complaint, is difficult to summarize in a concise and cohesive manner. It was certainly not presented that way.”
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At one point Middlebrooks writes, “the claims presented in the Amended Complaint are not warranted under existing law. In fact, they are foreclosed by existing precedent, including decisions of the Supreme Court. To illustrate, I highlight here just two glaring problems with the Amended Complaint. There are many others. But these are emblematic of the audacity of Plaintiff’s legal theories and the manner in which they clearly contravene binding case law.”
“What the Amended Complaint lacks in substance and legal support it seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, and the settling of scores and grievances,” Middlebrooks added.
Former FBI officials James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith, and Bruce Ohr were named as defendant in the original lawsuit but later dismissed.
Judge Middlebrooks was so angered by the fact the lawsuit was even filed he noted, “I reserve jurisdiction to adjudicate issues pertaining to sanctions” against Trump’s attorneys.
Image by Matt Johnson/Right Cheer via Flickr and a CC license
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Trump’s Newly Released Tax Returns Reveal Cheating & Years of Paying Zero Taxes, Reporter Says
Former President Donald Trump cheated on his taxes, according to investigative financial journalist David Cay Johnston.
Today, the House House Ways and Means Committee released Trump’s tax returns from 2015 through 2020. In three of the six years, Trump’s taxable income was zero. This means he paid no income tax in three of the years, and just $750 in 2016.
“Over the six years, he paid $776,126 in net federal income tax,” Johnston wrote. “That’s just half of one percent of his positive income,” he added, noting, “The typical tax rate for Trump’s income class is more than 25%.”
Johnston says that Trump lowered his income taxes by claiming “huge business expenses despite having zero revenue.” Put another way, Trump said his businesses spent a lot of money just to make no profit.
“Trump received more than $154.2 million in wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, and pensions over the six years when he ran for president or lived in the White House,” Johnston wrote. “Despite this huge revenue stream, Trump reported minus $53.2 million in Adjusted Gross Income, the last number on the front page of your Form 1040 income tax return.”
Trump also did this in his 1984 tax return, resulting in two judges ruling that he had committed civil tax fraud, Johnston added.
“That Trump persisted in using the same fraudulent technique in six years of recent tax returns is powerful evidence of mens rea or criminal intent,” the reporter wrote. “This device is not Trump’s most lucrative tax cheating technique, but it is the easiest for jurors to understand should Trump be indicted on tax charges.”
Johnston acknowledges that tax law regularly allows rich business people and landlords to pay little to no tax while requiring everyday workers and pensioners to pay higher rates. Wealthy people pay tax preparers to use every loophole possible to avoid paying.
However, greater scrutiny of Trump’s taxes could find that he committed other shady dealings “including charitable deductions that may be bogus or overstated; treating personal expenses as business expenses; loans to his three older children that may be to escape gift taxes; and reporting almost $5 million of capital contributions as tax-deductible business expenses,” Johnston noted.
Because there’s no statute of limitations on civil tax fraud, Trump could eventually be pursued for back-owed taxes even if he’s never indicted for fraud.
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