Trump-Aligned Lawyers' Election Lawsuit Was So Ridiculous a Judge Is Making Them Pay For It

A federal judge on Thursday ordered a group of nine attorneys to pay about $175,000 in legal fees for starting a lawsuit to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Michigan. Sidney Powell, who was part of Trump’s “elite strike force” of election lawyers, and Lin Wood, the conspiracy theorist and former Trump attorney currently in the midst of a very public bridge-burning meltdown, are among them.

The group of attorneys had been stalling to pay fees requested by the state and the city of Detroit months ago. The amount, said U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker, was an “appropriate sanction … needed to deter Plaintiffs’ counsel and others from engaging in similar misconduct in the future.”

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The lawsuit by Powell and company — one of several in a handful of states — asked Judge Parker to require Trump be declared the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, even though Biden’s victory had already been certified. Their reason: unsubstantiated claims of rampant voter fraud. Parker rejected their case, of course, and in August ruled that they should pay their opponent’s legal fees and even attend legal education classes — an embarrassing indicator of the frivolous and just plain crazy nature of the lawsuit.

The state’s attorney general on Thursday described the case as a “flagrant disregard for the law” in order to “further a false and destructive narrative.”

Powell and Wood may be forced to fork over legal fees together, but they’re probably not on the best of terms after Wood claimed recently that Powell and the “Stop the Steal” movement is just one big grift. Powell, he asserted, “signed my name to certain lawsuits without my knowledge or permission, and she hasn’t been honest about that.”

Taking a prominent QAnon believer’s word at face value is a fool’s errand, obviously. What’s more is that Wood himself is now the recipient of the same accusations he is dealing out: Kyle Rittenhouse, who was briefly represented by Wood, has called him a “fraud” who came to his defense to raise money.

As it relates to the Michigan lawsuit, Wood wrote in an email to The Washington Post that he wasn’t involved. Lawyers for Powell and Wood each said they would appeal the ruling to pay the fees, and Judge Parker wrote that she would stay her order in the meantime.

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