Federal judge orders pro-Trump lawyers to pay $175,000 penalty after sanctions
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A federal judge has ordered Sidney Powell, L. Lin Wood and other lawyers aligned with former President Donald Trump to pay $175,000 in sanctions for their conduct in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Michigan election results.
In her opinion Thursday, Judge Linda Parker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held that all nine lawyers involved in the lawsuit to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in Michigan must pay Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson roughly $22,000 and the city of Detroit roughly $153,000 to cover their attorneys’ fees.
“As this court opened its sanctions decision, ‘[t]his lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process’ and an attempt to ‘deceiv[e] a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated,’” Parker said. “Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed this lawsuit without conducting the required degree of diligence as to the truth of the allegations made or the merits of the legal claims asserted.
“Unlike the typical case where sanctions are awarded, more was at risk in this matter than one or even a few defendants having to defend a meritless, repetitive, and/or nuisance lawsuit.”
Reuters, the Associated Press, the Hill and Forbes have coverage of the decision.
Parker imposed sanctions on the lawyers for the election fraud lawsuit in August, saying then their claims that Michigan public officials illegally manipulated ballots were based on “speculation, conjecture and unwarranted suspicion.” She ordered them to take 12 hours of continuing legal education courses and said she would refer them to state disciplinary authorities for possible suspension or disbarment.
In addition to Powell and Wood, the sanctioned lawyers are Howard Kleinhendler, Gregory Rohl, Julia Z. Haller, Scott Hagerstrom, Brandon Johnson, Stefanie Lynn Junttila and Emily Newman.
Wood told the Hill that he plans to appeal the order.
“I undertook no act in Michigan and I had no involvement in the Michigan lawsuit filed by Sidney Powell,” Wood said in a statement provided to the publication.
Parker’s order follows a November ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado that directed lawyers Gary Fielder and Ernest Walker to pay nearly $187,000 to defendants in their lawsuit challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Neureiter sanctioned the lawyers for bringing the lawsuit, which he called “one enormous conspiracy theory.”