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Federal Judge Pauses Sanctions Payments to Defendant in Donald Trump’s Dismissed Racketeering Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.)

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.)

At the request of attorneys for Donald Trump, a federal judge in Florida has agreed to pause sanctions payments directly to a defendant named in a sprawling but heretofore failed racketeering lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and a plethora of other real or perceived political foes connected to the 2016 election cycle.

Trump filed the sprawling case back in March and amended it in June. Still, U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks ruled that it stated little more than a litany of political grievances that didn’t come close to stating a colorable claim recognized under federal law.  Middlebrooks booted the case, but Trump’s attorneys have filed the early stages of an appeal before the 11th Circuit.  The district court is retaining limited jurisdiction to assess whether sanctions are appropriate.

The first of the many named defendants to seek sanctions in the matter was Charles Halliday Dolan Jr.  Middlebrooks ruled that sanctions were, indeed, warranted and provided Dolan an award that comes out to roughly $66,274.23.

Clinton and several other defendants filed their own sanctions request; it remains outstanding.

But Trump’s attorneys moved to stay the sanctions award to Dolan during the appeal.  To do so, Trump’s attorneys requested a “supersedeas bond” — Latin for “you shall desist” — to be paid to the district court in something akin to an escrow account. The bond will sit in the district court’s possession, according to Monday’s request by Trump’s attorneys, until the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals determines what it wants to do with the underlying case.

Under local court rules, the supersedeas bond must equal 110% of the underlying amount.  Here, according to Monday’s filings, the total comes out to $72,901.67.

As Monday’s filing by Trump’s attorneys explains:

The Plaintiff asks that this Court permit the deposit of a sum total of $72,901.67 into the Court Registry as a Supersedeas Bond in accordance with Local Rule 62.1 requiring a Supersedeas Bond to be in the amount of 110% of the judgment. The Final Judgment [D.E. 284] entered the amount of final judgment at $66,274.23. An Order is required in order to post the amount for the Supersedeas Bond into the Court Registry.

[ . . . ]

The duration of the stay should be until the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issues a mandate or the equivalent. The stay shall only be effective in regard to collections the Final Judgment, and shall not apply to any subsequent orders for fees and/or costs.

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff requests that this Honorable Court enter an Order Granting a Stay of the Final Judgment upon the depositing of $72,901.67 into the registry of this Court until the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issues a mandate or the equivalent and such further and other relief as this Honorable Court may deem just and proper.

Middlebrooks acquiesced to that rather talismanic request on Wednesday afternoon.  Citing Local Rule 62.1, Middlebrooks said the request was “properly” drawn up under the rule and was “consistent with the purpose of a supersedeas bond.”

“Upon Plaintiffs attorneys’ deposit of $72,901.67 into the Court’s Registry, enforcement of this Court’s Order Granting Defendant Dolan’s Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions is STAYED pending a mandate or the equivalent from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals,” Middlebrooks wrote.

Dolan cited a $16,274.23 bill for attorneys fees while seeking sanctions against Trump’s attorneys. He had paid slightly more than $2,000 toward that balance as of September, according to paperwork filed then. He further complained of trouble obtaining credit and a “significant loss of consulting business” after Trump accused him of being the source of “salacious” sexual rumors involving Trump and a Moscow hotel room. Dolan’s attorneys asserted that Dolan was not the source of those rumors and that Trump didn’t even properly lay out the conspiracy claims asserted against Dolan.

Dolan’s attorneys said they billed at a significantly discounted rate of $100 an hour “both as a favor to Mr. Dolan and in recognition that the lawsuit against him was unmerited.”

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.