DETROIT — Nine lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump face financial penalties and other sanctions after a judge said they had abused the court system with a lawsuit that challenged Michigan’s election results that certified Joe Biden as the winner.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker said the lawsuit last November was a sham intended to deceive the court and the public.
“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,” Parker said in the opening of a scathing 110-page opinion.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six Republican voters who wanted Parker to decertify Michigan’s results and impound voting machines. The judge declined in December, calling the request “stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach.”
The state and Detroit subsequently asked Parker to order sanctions against Sidney Powell, L. Lin Wood and seven other attorneys whose names were on the lawsuit.
The judge agreed, telling the state and city to tally the costs of defending the lawsuit and submit the figures.
Parker ordered 12 hours of legal education, including six hours in election law, for each attorney. Her decision also will be sent to the states where the lawyers are licensed for possible disciplinary action there.
It was one of the few efforts to wrench fines or other penalties from dubious post-election lawsuits across the U.S.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Indeed, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well, and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
During a July court hearing, Powell took “full responsibility” for the lawsuit and compared the legal fight to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation in schools.
“It is the duty of lawyers and the highest tradition of the practice of law to raise difficult and even unpopular issues,” Powell told the judge.
Wood’s name was on the lawsuit, but he insisted he had no role other than to tell Powell that he would be available if she needed a seasoned litigator.