Judge orders sanctions against Sidney Powell, Lin Wood in Michigan election challenge
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered sanctions against attorneys involved in bringing a legal challenge against Michigan’s 2020 election results, including Trump allies Sidney Powell and Lin Wood.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker ordered the attorneys to pay the legal fees of the city and state elections officials involved in the case and referred them for further disciplinary action, including disbarment.
In a 110-page decision, Parker blasted the lawyers for seeking to undermine the election results with baseless claims of systemic election fraud.
“The attorneys who filed the instant lawsuit abused the well-established rules applicable to the litigation process by proffering claims not backed by law; proffering claims not backed by evidence (but instead, speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion); proffering factual allegations and claims without engaging in the required prefiling inquiry; and dragging out these proceedings even after they acknowledged that it was too late to attain the relief sought,” Parker, an Obama appointee, wrote.
“And this case was never about fraud—it was about undermining the People’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so,” she continued.
Powell and Wood did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
The lawsuit, filed just weeks after Election Day last year, accused public officials of illegally manipulating ballots in order to assist President Biden in getting elected and sought to decertify Michigan’s vote count.
Last month, Parker grilled the plaintiffs’ attorneys in a contentious virtual hearing over their work on the case, raising concerns that they used dubious evidence to support arguments for extreme requests of the court.
Wood argued during the hearing that he had only minimal involvement in the Michigan case, while Powell vigorously defended the legal team’s conduct and the case they built.
“I have practiced law for 43 years and have never witnessed a proceeding like this,” Powell said during the hearing. “I take full responsibility for the pleadings in this case.”
“We had a legal obligation to the country and to the electors to raise these issues,” she added. “It is the duty of lawyers in the highest tradition of the practice of law to raise unpopular issues.”
Parker accused the attorneys of breaking the oaths they swore upon admission to the bar in pushing to use the courts to undermine the electoral system.
“The sanctity of both the courtroom and the litigation process are preserved only when attorneys adhere to this oath and follow the rules, and only when courts impose sanctions when attorneys do not,” Parker wrote. “And despite the haze of confusion, commotion, and chaos counsel intentionally attempted to create by filing this lawsuit, one thing is perfectly clear: Plaintiffs’ attorneys have scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way.”