Trump sues Clinton over alleged conspiracy to malign his character

Suit claims Trump racked up $24m in legal expenses as a result of allegations that he had corrupt ties to Russia and Putin

Donald Trump’s complaint names more than a dozen defendants, many of whom he has previously publicly attacked. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former US president Donald Trump on Thursday sued Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party and several others, alleging a vast conspiracy to malign his character and cast doubt on the legitimacy of his 2016 election win.

The suit, filed on Thursday in federal court in Florida, claims Mr Trump and his real-estate company have racked up at least $24 million in legal expenses and suffered losses on “existing and future business opportunities” as a result of allegations that he had corrupt ties to Russia and its president.

Mr Trump’s complaint names more than a dozen defendants, many of whom he has previously publicly attacked. They include former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, and British intelligence ex-agent Christopher Steele. Filed under the civil version of a racketeering statute normally used against organised crime, the suit largely echoes themes from the former president’s speeches and public statements.

“The defendants, blinded by political ambition, orchestrated 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 favour of Hillary Clinton,” according to the lawsuit.

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Ms Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill called the suit “nonsense.”

A declassified January 2017 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russian president Vladimir Putin directed an influence campaign that “aspired to help president-elect Trump’s election chances.”

One of the other defendants in the suit is Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who led the Russia probe and was later fired when his anti-Trump text messages were revealed. Mr Strzok has sued the FBI for wrongful termination, claiming his personal views were irrelevant and the probe was justified.

Mr Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, said in an email he hadn’t had a chance to read the complaint yet, but it’s “odd that he is bringing this lawsuit at the same time that the DOJ is attempting to quash our subpoena to Trump.” – Bloomberg