Florida lawyer's lawsuit claims Hillary Clinton sought to ‘cripple’ Donald Trump’s White House bid
The Florida lawyer representing former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit filed last week against Hillary Clinton writes poems that he puts on his law firm’s website, touts his past as a farmer, is an evangelist against global warming and authored a book about Trump that draws on their time in military school together.
Boca Raton attorney Peter Ticktin thrust himself into the spotlight last week after helping to pen a meandering 108-page lawsuit against Clinton, alleging that she and dozens of others conspired in an “unthinkable plot” to "cripple Trump’s bid for the presidency" by pushing the “spurious allegation that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida names 26 other people and entities, including Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta, the Democratic National Committee, former FBI official Peter Strzok and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Weston, who then headed the DNC.
“There are serious wrongs here that need to be redressed," Ticktin said of the allegations in the lawsuit.
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Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told USA TODAY the lawsuit is “Nonsense."
"Do you think Trump filed this case with the hope of calling Vladimir Putin as a character witness? Trump deposition ought to be a hoot," Podesta tweeted in response to the lawsuit.
Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman told CNN that “knowing the former President, there's probably very little in (the lawsuit) that's true.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated the allegations of Trump colluding with the Russian government following the 2016 presidential election. The lawsuit described the FBI's investigation as "unfounded."
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Trump, speaking at his “Save America” rally in Georgia on Saturday night, said “crooked Hillary Clinton" and former FBI director James Comey "spied" on his 2016 presidential campaign and that he was “suing for millions of dollars in damages.”
But Trump told the crowd he didn’t think he get a fair trial because the judge assigned to the case was appointed by former President Bill Cinton, saying “how do you think that's gonna go?”
Ticktin said he hopes to reap damages in the tens of millions "or perhaps more."
Ticktin said he drafted the lawsuit with New Jersey attorney Alina Habba, who has represented Trump on other legal issues. He said Habba is the lead attorney on the case and he is the "lead local counsel."
Habba needed to partner with a Florida lawyer to file the lawsuit in Florida. She sat next to Ticktin's daughter at a social event, who recommended her dad for the case.
“He never retained me to be a legal counsel even though we’ve been friendly for all these years," Ticktin said of Trump, adding that the fact that he is representing Trump and also has a long-standing relationship with him is just "a matter of coincidence."
Who is Peter Ticktin?
Ticktin's history with Trump goes back to their days attending military school together.
Not only does Ticktin — who leads The Ticktin Law Group in Deerfield Beach — share an alma mater with Trump, but he also seems to share some of his colorful personality traits, including a penchant for self-promotion. On his law firm’s website, Ticktin boasts that he “skipped his first and last years of college” and entered medical school after two years, before switching to law.
Born in the Bronx, Ticktin, 76, practiced law in Canada and moved to Florida in 1985. His website says that his early legal work in the state involved representing AIDS patients.
“The movie Philadelphia, was initially going to be called Miami, except that Mr. Ticktin’s first AIDS client died just before his trial,” the website states, adding: “Nevertheless, Mr. Ticktin changed the landscape… In the years that followed, Mr. Ticktin was on the cutting edge of the law.”
More recently, Ticktin defended thousands of homeowners involved in foreclosure cases during the Great Recession, and attracted attention for highlighting the practice of bank “robo-signers” who signed off on foreclosure documents without reviewing them. Federal regulators investigated the practice, resulting in multi-billion-dollar settlements with major banks.
Ticktin faced foreclosure on his own 3,920-square-foot Boca Raton home during that time period, but said "we worked that all out, settled the whole thing."
The Clinton lawsuit could raise Ticktin’s profile. News of the legal action was reported by major media outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, Politico and The Guardian in London.
Ticktin said he discussed the lawsuit with Trump on Thursday at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
“He was happy with the job that we did," Ticktin said of Trump's response. "There’s an awful lot of material that we had to go through. You can’t just write 108 pages out of your head, and we wanted this to be a complaint that would be respected."
Ticktin has been a loyal Trump supporter. His Twitter bio states that he is “Captain Donald Trump's High School Platoon Sergeant and supporter!”
In 2020, Ticktin published the book “What Makes Trump Tick: My Years with Donald Trump from New York Military Academy to the Present.” The description of the book on Amazon says it “outlines why he always has and always will stand behind 45.”
"One of the things I heard (Trump) say once is everybody wants to write a book about me and they’re all lying, so I thought let me write one that doesn’t," Ticktin said, adding that his view on Trump from their school days is "he had that level of leadership all the way back then.”
Trump is known for his love of golf, but Ticktin’s interests seem more eclectic, as evidenced by the bio sent out by a public relations company representing him.
“Mr. Ticktin has been a farmer, a builder, and at one time owned and operated small heavy equipment,” the bio states, adding: “Of all this, his passion is in running The Global Warming Foundation. He maintains that global warming is real, and that there is a need for America to now prosper, so that we can deal with this problem, not just by reducing use of fossil fuels, but by geo-engineering, hence a need for a space force.”
Then there are the poems. Ticktin’s bio on his law firm’s website includes a link to them under the title "Peter's Poems." Among the poem titles are "waiting to love you" and "a sense of belonging."
"Tomorrow is coming and I’ll be the news and people will watch it and see," Ticktin writes in one poem. "They’ll hear but not hear and kneel in their pews / As inside I’m screaming 'It’s me'."
USA Today contributed to this story.
Follow Herald-Tribune Political Editor Zac Anderson on Twitter at @zacjanderson. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Trump files lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, DNC in Florida court