Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held at the Hilton Anatole on August 6, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday voluntarily dropped a second federal civil suit against the New York attorney general who tried to thwart his own $250 million fraud lawsuit against his Manhattan-based real estate company.
Trump’s latest legal capitulation came less than a week after he was slapped by a federal judge in Florida with nearly $1 million in penalties for filing what that judge called a frivolous lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.
Lawyers for Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a filing on Tuesday that they had jointly agreed to dismiss an appeal in federal appeals court in Manhattan.
Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, had filed the appeal after a federal judge in the Northern District of New York dismissed his suit against James.
In a statement, the attorney general said, “I am pleased that Donald Trump has withdrawn his two pending actions against my office.”
“As we have shown throughout, we have a legitimate legal action against him and his organization, and we cannot be intimidated or deterred from pursuing it,” James said.
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said in a statement, “This appeal has been voluntarily withdrawn for strategic purposes.”
In September, James filed his $250 million lawsuit against Trump, the Trump Organization and three of his adult children in connection with the use of allegedly fraudulent financial statements related to the company.
James’ lawsuit was filed in New York state court after his investigators spent several years looking into allegations that the Trump Organization mishandled reported valuations of various real estate assets for financial gain.
Trump in December 2021 sued James in federal court for the Northern District of New York, seeking to block him from continuing his investigation. That lawsuit alleged that the attorney general violated Trump’s constitutional rights and was asking a judge to issue an injunction that would end or hinder the investigation.
“James’ mission is driven solely by political animosity and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen whom she views as a political opponent,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in that lawsuit.
That case was thrown out by a judge at James’s request in May.
Two months after James sued him in Manhattan, Trump sued James in Florida state court in November, claiming his investigation was part of a “war of intimidation and harassment.”
His second lawsuit, which James quickly moved to federal court in Florida, sought to block him from obtaining documents from a revocable trust he set up in Florida that owns the Trump Organization.
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As Trump waged a legal war against James, he also targeted another political foe in Florida federal court: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he defeated in the 2016 presidential election.
Last year, Trump sued Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, former FBI officials and more than two dozen other defendants in the case, claiming they tried to rig the 2016 election by pushing a “ false narrative” that he had colluded with Russia.
Judge John Middlebrooks dismissed that lawsuit in September, calling it a “political manifesto outlining his grievances against those who opposed him”.
Last Thursday, Middlebrooks ordered Trump and his attorney, Habba, to pay $937,989 in penalties for filing what the judge was a “completely frivolous, both factually and legally” lawsuit.
Middlebrooks’ order noted how Trump engaged in “a pattern of court abuse” and repeatedly used the courts “to exact revenge on political adversaries.”
The next morning, Trump voluntarily dropped his lawsuit in Florida federal court against James, which Middlebrooks had also handled.
A few days later, Trump dropped his appeal of the dismissal of the lawsuit against James in New York federal court for the Northern District.
. Trump drops his second lawsuit v attorney general York