A federal judge on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and seven other pro-Trump lawyers in a strongly worded denouncement of what the court called a frivolous election fraud lawsuit.
U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker found that Powell and her colleagues involved in the case, which sought to make former President Donald Trump Michigan’s official 2020 presidential pick, “filed this lawsuit in bad faith and for improper purpose.”
The lawsuit to decertify President Joe Biden’s victory in the state should have never been filed, Parker said in her opinion.
“Further, they presented pleadings that were not ‘warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or establishing new law’ and contained factual contentions lacking evidentiary support or likely to have evidentiary support,” Parker said.
Parker, an appointee of President Barack Obama who is based in Detroit, held a six-hour sanctions hearing in July in which plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in the lawsuit, such as Wood, downplayed their role in the process.
Emily Newman and Julia Haller, who both served in multiple roles in the Trump administration, were included in the sanctions announced on Wednesday. Another seven attorneys involved in the litigation, including Scott Hagerstrom and Stefanie Lynn Junttila, were also subject to sanctions.
Along with mandatory continued education on election law, the pro-Trump attorneys were ordered to “pay the fees and costs incurred by the State Defendant and the City of Detroit to defend this action.” It is unclear how much that will be, and the defendants have two weeks to submit their time and expense records.
“Further, given the deficiencies in the pleadings, which claim violations of Michigan election law without a thorough understanding of what the law requires, and the number of failed election-challenge lawsuits that Plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed, the Court concludes that the sanctions imposed should include mandatory continuing legal education in the subjects of pleading standards and election law,” the opinion reads.
On top of that, the judge recommended that the bar associations for each respective attorney investigate them for potential suspension or disbarment, noting that their involvement in the litigation showed they were unfit to practice law.
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