Michigan Commission Seeks Disciplinary Action Against Trump Lawyers
The cadre of pro-Trump lawyers behind a conspiracy-laden lawsuit that sought to overturn Michigan’s 2020 presidential election results, including ex-Trump attorney Sidney Powell and conspiracy theorist Lin Wood, committed “misconduct” and should face disciplinary action, according to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.
The commission, which serves as the investigative arm of the Michigan Supreme Court, made the request in a formal complaint it filed with the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board last week against Powell, Wood, and seven other lawyers: Howard Kleinhendle of New York; Emily Newman of Texas; Brandon Johnson and Julia Haller of Washington, D.C.; and Gregory Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom, and Stefanie Junttilla Lambert of Michigan.
The attorneys used their “Kraken” lawsuit to promulgate the false claim that a shadowy foreign organization — backed by billionaire philanthropist George Soros and the Clintons — stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump in Michigan and several other states.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker dismissed the sham lawsuit and imposed sanctions on the lawyers, including a $175,000 payment in court costs incurred by Detroit and Michigan and the mandatory completion of 12 hours of legal education.
The federal judge referred her sanctions to other attorney disciplinary boards nationwide for possible disciplinary action against the attorneys, including probation, suspension, or disbarment, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Powell and the others appealed Park's sanctions at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, accusing the federal judge of targeting them for their political views. The matter is currently pending before the court.
In its complaint dated May 1, the nine-member Attorney Grievance Commission accused Powell, Wood, and the others of "bringing or defending” a “frivolous” lawsuit and partaking in “prejudicial” conduct that is “contrary to justice, ethics, honesty, or good morals."
The commission began its review after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Attorney General Dana Nessel filed complaints requesting the lawyers be disbarred for their efforts to “disenfranchise Michigan voters and undermine the faith of the public in the legitimacy” of the state’s 2020 election.
In response to the commission’s complaint, the Attorney Discipline Board will convene a panel of three attorneys to “conduct trial level proceedings” on the matter before making a decision, the board’s website states. If the board finds the Trump-allied attorneys guilty of misconduct, it could demand their disbarment.
Hagerstrom, one of the attornies named in the complaint, blasted the Democratic Party for the development, noting that he had “moved on a long time ago.”
“It seems that (Democrats) want to keep us alive for some reason. Maybe it helps them politically,” Hagerstrom said, per Bridge Michigan.
In a statement to the outlet, Lambert touted never having “a bar grievance until the instant matter” and said she looked forward to “providing the State Bar with full transparency” and “examining Benson and Nessel under oath as part of her public hearing.”
Nessel, in his complaint, fingered Lambert as one of the brains behind “a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators” in three counties to find evidence of fraud, Reuters reported.
In February, a Texas judge dismissed a petition by the State Bar of Texas’ Commission for Lawyer Discipline accusing Powell of violating legal ethics in her election subversion role for Trump and his allies.
Several former Trump lawyers — including ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, the architect of Trump’s failed fake elector scheme — have also faced state bar reviews.
A New York court suspended Giuliani’s license to practice law in the state in June 2021. Last December, a disciplinary panel of the Washington, D.C. bar recommended that Giuliani face “only one sanction, and that’s the sanction of disbarment” for filing a failed lawsuit in Pennsylvania to block the certification of the state’s 2020 presidential election results.