Michigan officials demand pro-Trump lawyers reimburse state for costs of election case

Officials in Michigan have filed a request for pro-Trump lawyers to pay roughly $200,000 in reimbursements for legal fees and other costs associated with their challenges of the presidential election in the state.

President BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE defeated former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE in Michigan. Lawyers backing Trump initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the results.

The office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) confirmed to The Hill that it had filed a request Wednesday for nearly $22,000 in reimbursements for attorney’s fees on behalf of Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Tracking the Earth's 'ultimate record of change' Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll Michigan developing electrified road to wirelessly charge EVs, Whitmer says MORE (D) and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), two of the defendants in the case. 

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Meanwhile, the city of Detroit requested about $18,000 for fees paid to a private law firm to fight back against the lawsuit promoting former President Trump’s unsubstantiated election claims, according to Reuters

The Hill has reached out to Detroit city officials for additional information. 

Last month, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker ordered sanctions against Trump-allied lawyers, including ex-campaign attorney Sidney Powell and prominent lawyer Lin Wood, ordering them to pay the legal fees of city and state elections officials involved in the case. 

Parker, an Obama appointee who dismissed the pro-Trump lawsuit in December, had not specified an exact reimbursement amount, though she is now expected to review the $200,000 request for approval. 

The judge railed against the lawyers in her ruling last month, arguing that they “abused the well-established rules applicable to the litigation process by proffering claims not backed by law” or evidence. 

“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 wrote at the time. 

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Parker has also requested that disciplinary bodies investigate whether the pro-Trump lawyers involved in the case should have their law licenses revoked.

The lawsuit filed by the pro-Trump attorneys advanced unsubstantiated claims that election officials illegally manipulated ballots to help President Biden win the election in Michigan.

During a virtual hearing last month, Wood argued that he had only minimal involvement in the Michigan case, while Powell defended her team’s legal claims. 

"I have practiced law for 43 years and have never witnessed a proceeding like this," Powell said at the time. "I take full responsibility for the pleadings in this case."

She went on to argue that she “had a legal obligation to the country and to the electors to raise these issues.”