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Tag: trump lawyers

Michigan Judge Refers Trump’s 'Kraken' Lawyers For Disbarment

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Federal Judge Linda Parker on Wednesday referred a group of pro-Trump attorneys, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, for potential suspension and disbarment for their misconduct in a lawsuit that sought to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 win in Michigan.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, along with other defendants in the original lawsuit, has asked the judge to consider sanctions after the pro-Trump lawyers had their claims of election fraud demolished.

In the new ruling, Parker issued a 110-page opinion condemning the team's "historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," finding that their behavior in the case warrants formal sanction by the courts. They will have to pay for Michigan and Detroit's legal costs and attend classes about the law relevant to the case, the judge ruled. And she will also be referring their cases to the authorities who issued the lawyers' licenses, which may take further punitive action against them.

Such harsh sanctions are rare in the legal world and highlight the extreme nature of the pro-Trump lawyers' conduct.

Parker was direct and unsparing in her condemnation of their actions.

"[T]he question before the Court is whether Plaintiffs' attorneys engaged in litigation practices that are abusive and, in turn, sanctionable. The short answer is yes," she wrote. "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."

She continued:

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.
While there are many arenas—including print, television, and social media—where protestations, conjecture, and speculation may be advanced, such expressions are neither permitted nor welcomed in a court of law. And while we as a country pride ourselves on the freedoms embodied within the First Amendment, it is well-established that an attorney's freedom of speech is circumscribed upon "entering" the courtroom.

The lawyers "scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way," she said.

Essentially, she argued that Powell, Wood, and the others used the case in Michigan to propagate the notion that Trump had been the true winner of the 2020 election, even though they had no reasonable case to bring. Their aim wasn't, she concluded, to make good faith arguments about the facts and the law in hope of being vindicated in a court of law. Instead, they were using the courts as a platform for propaganda without regard for the merits of their legal arguments. In short, it was a flagrant abuse of the system.

She even drew a connection between the lawyers' misconduct and the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Much of the opinion details how the attorneys, such as Wood, have been blatantly dishonest with the court, and why their arguments were frivolous and illegitimate on numerous grounds. For example, they sought to have Whitmer barred from sending the results of Michigan's election to the Electoral College, even though she had already done so. They cited precedents for their arguments that had no relevance or made the opposite point to what they were trying to push. They made baseless claims that legal acts were against the law. At other points, they completely reversed themselves on crucial issues, such as key deadlines in the case, without explanation or justification.

"It is not lost upon the Court that the same claims and requested relief that Plaintiffs' attorneys presented here were disposed of, for many of the same reasons, in Michigan courts and by judges in several other 'battleground' jurisdictions where Plaintiffs' counsel sought to overturn the election results," Parker wrote. "The fact that no federal district court considering the issues at bar has found them worthy of moving forward supports the conclusion that Plaintiffs' claims are frivolous."

The extent of the blatant deception and arguments clearly made in bad faith can only lead to one conclusion.

Parker explained: "Once it appeared that their preferred political candidate's grasp on the presidency was slipping away, Plaintiffs' counsel helped mold the predetermined narrative about election fraud by lodging this federal lawsuit based on evidence that they actively refused to investigate or question with the requisite level of professional skepticism—and this refusal was to ensure that the evidence conformed with the predetermined narrative (a narrative that has had dangerous and violent consequences). Plaintiffs' counsel's politically motivated accusations, allegations, and gamesmanship may be protected by the First Amendment when posted on Twitter, shared on Telegram, or repeated on television. The nation's courts, however, are reserved for hearing legitimate causes of action."

In short, her conclusion was simple: "This lawsuit should never have been filed."

Michigan Authorities Cite Sidney Powell’s Own Arguments In Disbarment Action

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sidney Powell's defense against a $1.3 billion lawsuit over her lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election could come back to bite her.

Powell, a lawyer who supported Donald Trump's claims of election fraud and filed multiple failed lawsuits across the country seeking to overturn the 2020 election, is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation after she falsely accused the company of conspiring with a dead Venezuelan dictator to rig the election against Trump.

Back in March, Powell argued that Dominion's lawsuit should be dismissed because "no reasonable person" would believe her lies about voting machine rigging.

Now, however, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is using Powell's defense in the Dominion lawsuit to support filings on February 1 made by Nessel, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson with the Attorney Grievance Commission in Michigan and the State Bar of Texas calling for Powell's disbarment.

Nessel is seeking sanctions against Powell and three other attorneys for filing frivolous lawsuits to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the Wolverine State, asking that they be stripped of their licenses to practice law and forced to repay legal fees incurred as a result of their suits.

"Faced with the specter of more than $1.3 billion in damages in the Dominion Action, Ms. Powell has adopted a new litigation strategy to evade Dominion's defamation claim: the truth. Whether that strategy will be advantageous in the Dominion Action remains to be seen, but it strongly underscores why sanctions and attorneys' fees are appropriate here," reads the brief Nessel filed in the sanctions cases, according to the website Law & Crime.

The brief continues, "If there were any doubts about counsel's mindset when filing this action, Ms. Powell has put them to rest. She and her co-counsel knew there was no reasonable basis for the statements they made in this litigation, but they made them anyway."

In seeking to defend herself against the sanctions Michigan is seeking, Powell had said in February that she shouldn't be disbarred because her allegations of fraud could be proved, the Detroit Free Press reported.

But that doesn't jibe with Powell's defense in the Dominion lawsuit, which claimed that "reasonable" people would not have believed her claims.

Nessel tweeted on Wednesday, "As lawyers, fidelity to the law is paramount and these attorneys seemingly made statements they knew were misleading in an effort to further conspiracy theories in an effort to erode public trust in government and dismantle our systems of democracy. Their actions are inexcusable."

Powell is one of a number of people Dominion has sued for the lie that the voting machine company rigged the election against Trump — a lie that was officially debunked in a joint Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security report in March. Dominion has also sued Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Fox News, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Lawyer Who Urged Executing Pence Seeks GOP Chair

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Lin Wood, the far-right, pro-Trump attorney who lost multiple lawsuits attempting to overturn the 2020 election, has announced he is running to be chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, the Post and Courier reported on Monday.

"My decision to run for the office was heavily influenced by my well known desire to reform local and state political parties and return power to the people," Wood told the paper. "Here, I want to return power and control of the South Carolina Republican Party to the members of the party."

Wood is now well-known for filing lie-filled legal challenges alleging voter fraud in the 2020 election, with zero evidence to back them up.

Back in November, a federal judge eviscerated Wood for a lawsuit he filed that sought to block certification of President Joe Biden's victory in Georgia, with the judge telling Wood that his suit had "no basis in fact or in law."

Wood's effort to steal the 2020 election has taken a toll on both his personal and professional life.

He is currently facing the possible loss of his law license in Georgia after he refused to undergo a mental health evaluation from the Georgia State Bar Association, which is looking into possible disciplinary action against Wood.

The Lawyers Club of Atlanta kicked Wood out of their club after Wood said in a January 1 tweet that Mike Pence should "face execution by firing squad."

"He is a coward and will sing like a bird and confess ALL," Wood said in the tweet, which has since been deleted, as Twitter permanently booted him from the platform for another tweet, which falsely stated that the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was "staged" by antifa.

The social media outlet Parler — which has become the platform of choice for white supremacists who were either kicked off Twitter or are boycotting it — also removed a post from Wood in which he also called for Pence to be executed.

"Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST," Wood wrote the day after the Capitol riot that saw a pro-Trump mob attacking the Capitol as Congress attempted to certify Biden's victory.

In an ironic twist of fate, Wood is under investigation himself for possible voter fraud, after he said he voted in Georgia in the 2020 election in Georgia despite being a resident of South Carolina.

It's unclear what kind of chance Wood has in the race for South Carolina GOP chair.

Trump back in February endorsed Drew McKissick, the current state party chair.

If Wood wins, he would be part of a nationwide trend of Republican state parties being dominated by pro-Trump, right-wing conspiracy theorists.

The Arizona Republican Party, for example, is currently run by Kelli Ward — a far-right conspiracy theorist. With Ward at the helm, the Arizona GOP advocated to overturn Biden's victory in the state, using violent rhetoric back in December that asked supporters if they were "willing to give [their] life for this fight."

The chair of the Wyoming Republican Party, Frank Eathorne, advocated in January for his state to secede over Trump's loss.

Many of the Republican House and Senate members who voted to impeach or convict Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol have been censured by their state Republican parties. Eathorne even seemed to advocate for getting rid of one of its own members, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). because she voted to impeach Trump and believes the GOP should move on from the twice-impeached former leader.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Sidney Powell Now Claims 'No Reasonable Person' Would Believe Her Election Lies

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

It's been amply established that Sidney Powell bears a large measure of moral responsibility—at the very least—for creating the poisonous environment that led to the January 6 insurrection. Powell was one of the main legal lowlights behind Trump's misbegotten legal effort to steal another term.

Powell's claims to fame were a series of lawsuits that alleged Dominion Voting Systems was in cahoots with Venezuela to steal victory from Trump—the infamous "Kraken" lawsuits. All four of them crashed and burned—but not before her claims led to Dominion and its employees facing vicious harassment and trolling. At least one Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, was driven into hiding.

Partly due to this, Dominion filed a whopping $1.3 billion defamation suit against Powell, her law firm, and her nonprofit organization, Defend the Republic. Well, earlier today, Powell sought to throw out the suit. Her reasoning? Wait for it—she now says "no reasonable person" would believe her claims.

No, this isn't really snark. She actually said this in a legal filing.

In her motion to dismiss, Powell does not argue that the statements were true. She claims they are not actionable because they are protected statements of political opinion.
"Reasonable people understand that the 'language of the political arena, like the language used in labor disputes … is often vituperative, abusive and inexact,'" her motion to dismiss argues. "It is likewise a 'well recognized principle that political statements are inherently prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.'"

Powell goes on to say that Dominion called her theories "wild" and "outlandish," and in so doing support the notion that "no reasonable person" would take them seriously. Rather, she would have us believe her statements were merely "claims that await testing by the courts."

So in other words, Powell is tacitly admitting that when she made her much ballyhooed vow to "release the Kraken," she knew it was based on hokum. And she also knew when she was filing these statements that they were baloney. I'm not a lawyer, but even I know that when you make court filings, you're asserting that your arguments are based on fact.

Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman got her hands on part of the filing.

Read the whole thing here. Twitter has been having a field day with this. Here are some samples.

Some of them have even gone as far as to call for her disbarment.

Considering that Powell is already facing at least two calls for her disbarment—from both the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit—you would think she would know to stop digging. Hard to believe this woman was once a federal prosecutor.

If this is Powell's new version of the truth, she ought to do us a favor and apologize to Dominion, as well as to the lawmakers and police officers who had to endure the horror that she unleashed. If not, then it's long past time to disbar the Kraken.


Discredited Trump Lawyer Will Run Anti-Voter Initiatives For GOP

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A conservative activist and former Donald Trump lawyer is to head up two newly announced conservative initiatives aimed at suppressing voting.

Cleta Mitchell, who worked to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, will lead the two new efforts.

The conservative activist group FreedomWorks announced on Sunday that Mitchell would chair its National Election Protection Initiative.

FreedomWorks told Newsmax, "The integrity of our elections are the bedrock of our Republic and confidence in these institutions is on the decline." Conservatives often use the term "election integrity" as the rationalization for their efforts to suppress votes, particularly of ethnic minorities and other demographics that historically vote Democratic.

Newsmax, in what it said was an exclusive report on FreedomWorks' new effort, said Mitchell would "lead a program focused on election integrity education, training, and deployment, including registering voters, recruiting and training local activists, working as election officials, monitoring election procedures, and identifying needed changes and reforms in election administration and law."

On Tuesday, the Conservative Partnership Institute announced that Mitchell would be leading its Election Integrity Coalition. Former Sen. Jim DeMint, the chair of the institute, of which former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows is a senior partner, told the Washington Examiner, "Washington elites are trying to silence and bully conservatives with astounding brazenness, which Cleta has witnessed first hand, and now through her work at CPI, she will teach the conservative movement how to fight back against this cancel culture." The Examiner reported that the coalition is among a number of groups gearing up to fight against H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, House Democrats' proposed bill that would expand voting rights across the country.

Mitchell is a longtime conservative activist who has been a part of many right-wing organizations and Republican campaigns. She has worked in the past for former Trump campaign manager and adviser Steve Bannon, representing his nonprofit organization.

Most recently, she was a lawyer for Trump's reelection campaign.

In that capacity, Mitchell promoted the same fraudulent conspiracy theories about the election as her client did.

"We're already double checking and finding dead people having voted. We're going to be finding people have voted across state lines, voted in two states, illegal voting, non-citizens and that sort of thing," Mitchell said after the election had been called for President Joe Biden.

Mitchell echoed Trump in claiming Biden's win in Georgia was tainted, alleging that the recount in the state was a "total sham" and "A FAKE!"

"Happy to be considered a nut job because I believe in the rule of law," she tweeted.

As part of the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn Biden's win, Mitchell was on the January 2 phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to get him to throw out Democratic votes and "find" enough votes for him to give him the win.

After her role in that process became the subject of news reports, she was criticized by her employer, the Washington law firm Foley & Lardner: "We are aware of, and are concerned by, Ms. Mitchell's participation in the January 2 conference call," the firm said in a statement on January 5. A day later, it was announced that Mitchell had resigned from the firm.

It wasn't her first time promoting election conspiracy theories.

In 2010, as the lawyer for Sharron Angle's campaign for the Senate seat held by Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, Mitchell released a fundraising letter alleging that Reid "intends to steal the election" and accusing him of offering "free food" in exchange for votes.

A spokesperson for Nevada's Election Integrity Task Force told Talking Points Memo then that it had not received a single report of voter fraud from anyone who had experienced it personally.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

How Trump Lawyers Tried To Bully Michigan Election Officials

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Michigan is one of the states where former President Donald Trump and his lawyers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, unsuccessfully tried to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election. Reporter Mardi Link, in an article published by the Traverse City Record Eagle this week, discusses events in Michigan in late November — when some pro-Trump GOP operatives showed up to examine election data.

The operatives, according to Link, went to Antrim County, where they "identified themselves to township officials as representing Rudy Giuliani's legal team" and "accessed official election data in at least one township, according to local officials." On Nov. 27, Link notes, they examined "two separate paper totals tape" from a precinct tabulator.

Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy told the Record Eagle, "They made calls to township people on Thanksgiving Day to set all this up. They were strong-arming local clerks to get in and see those machines. Some clerks said 'no' or didn't answer their phones. And as soon as we could, we sent out an e-mail telling the clerks not to let them in. Then, we learn after the fact, they'd already been in three different locations."

One of the Republican operatives who showed up in Antrim County on Nov. 27, according to Link, was Katherine Friess — a Washington, D.C.-based attorney known for her connection to Trump allies Roger Stone and Paul Manafort (both of whom were prosecuted on multiple criminal charges and sentenced to prison during Trump's presidency but received presidential pardons from him).

Link reports that according to local Antrim County officials, Friess "bragged" about dining with Trump and Giuliani. The attorney serves as CEO of the lobbying firm, Global Policy Partners, and she previously worked for BKSH & Associates — a Washington-based lobbying firm that was created when, in 1996, two firms merged: Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (abbreviated as BMSK) and attorney Martin B. Gold's Gold & Liebengood. Long before Trump's presidency, Manafort and Stone worked together at BMSK during the 1980s.

Link explains, "The operatives who visited Antrim County on Nov. 27 included some of the same people who performed a court-sanctioned forensic exam of the county's voting equipment on Dec. 6, as part of a lawsuit filed by Central Lake Township resident Bill Bailey against the county, citing its use of Dominion Voting Machines equipment."

A debunked conspiracy theory that Trump's allies promoted following the 2020 election involved Dominion, whose equipment they falsely claimed was used to help Biden steal the election. Pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell falsely claimed that Dominion's equipment was also used to help the late President Hugo Chávez commit election fraud in Venezuela — which, according to Dominion, would have been impossible because its equipment has never even been used in that South American country.

In February, Dominion filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a far-right Trump supporter, for falsely claiming that its machines rigged the 2020 election in Biden's favor — a claim for which there is zero evidence. And Dominion, in January, filed a separate $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Giuliani.

The Traverse City Record Eagle interviewed Saginaw, Michigan-based attorney Greg Schmid to discuss the GOP operatives who showed up in Antrim County on November 27. According to Schmid, those visits weren't illegal but probably required a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Guy confirmed no FOIA had been filed requesting access, which Schmid said he found troubling — adding that without such a request, the clerks were well within their rights to simply refuse entry," Link reports.

Schmid told the Record Eagle, "The township clerk had the voting record lawfully, and anybody can knock on the door and ask for anything, but the clerk also could have refused — and without a FOIA, no one could have forced it."

Trump Lawyers Are ‘National Embarrassment’, Complains Christie

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Just as one did in Georgia, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Saturday launched by President Donald Trump's campaign to bar Pennsylvania state election officials from certifying the state's election results, CBS News reported. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his order that Trump's attorneys employed "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state."

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