A federal judge in Michigan ordered several Trumpy attorneys including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood to pay $175,000 in attorneys fees to the state of Michigan and city of Detroit on Thursday — part of court-ordered sanctions for a frivolous lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election.
The fees were ordered paid by Judge Linda Parker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, who in August referred the group of nine attorneys involved in the case for suspension or disbarment in their respective states, writing that the lawyers had “scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way.”
The attorneys were ordered to pay $21,964.75 in legal fees to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and $153,285.62 to the city of Detroit, which was also named in their suit.
The bill from the city could have been even larger, Parker noted — but “the firm agreed to discount its fees by an additional ten percent (10%) ‘because of the unexpectedly large volume of work involved in the election litigation,’” she wrote, quoting the lead lawyer representing the city.
Throughout the 27-page order, Parker patiently swatted away the chastised attorneys’ objections to the large bill, pointing out the size of the legal effort to overturn the election, the quick timeline and the various unexpected turns the proceedings took — such as Wood violating a court order by posting a recording from the hearing on social media, requiring even more billable hours from attorneys for the governments.
The legal fees included the fees incurred by government lawyers while they were preparing to make an argument for sanctions.
“Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed this lawsuit without conducting the required degree of diligence as to the truth of the allegations made or the merits of the legal claims asserted,” Parker wrote. “Unlike the typical case where sanctions are awarded, more was at risk in this matter than one or even a few defendants having to defend a meritless, repetitive, and/or nuisance lawsuit.”
“The Court found sanctions necessary to deter such dangerous behavior in the future,” she added. “For these reasons, it was perhaps as important for the City’s counsel to prepare and present their arguments for sanctions in response to such conduct as it was to present the City’s defenses to Plaintiffs’ claims.”
Powell, Wood and the rest of the attorneys have plenty else to worry about beyond the legal fees ordered repaid Thursday, and even aside from their potential, pending disbarments.
The Guardian on Thursday noted allegations by Wood and others that Powell has exhibited a curious habit of naming people as co-counsels or plaintiffs on her various election-related lawsuits without getting their permission to do so, and of exaggerating the extent of others’ involvement.
Also this week, The Washington Post reported that a federal grand jury had demanded records from multiple fundraising organizations launched by Powell, including the group Defending the Republic.
Without referencing that reporting, Parker name-dropped the group in her order Thursday.
“Plaintiffs’ attorneys, many of whom seek donations from the public to fund lawsuits like this one, see https://defendingtherepublic.org/, have the ability to pay this sanction,” she wrote.