A federal judge on Wednesday ordered disciplinary sanctions against Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and other lawyers who were involved in bringing a legal challenge against Michigan’s 2020 election.
The pro-Trump lawyers filed a lawsuit weeks after Election Day accusing public officials of illegally manipulating ballots to get President Biden elected.
U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker wrote in an order on Wednesday that the lawsuit was “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process,” and she ordered the attorneys to pay the legal fees of the city and state elections officials involved in the suit.
She ordered the lawyers to attend at least 12 hours of “continuing legal education” on pleading standards and election law and also referred the attorneys to disciplinary authorities in their home districts “for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment.”
“It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election,” Parker wrote. “It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here.”
“This lawsuit should never have been filed,” the judge said. “The State Defendants and the Intervenor-Defendants should never have had to defend it.”
During a hearing last month, Powell defended the legal team’s actions and the case they pursued.
“I have practiced law for 43 years and have never witnessed a proceeding like this,” Powell said at the time. “I take full responsibility for the pleadings in this case.”
“We had a legal obligation to the country and to the electors to raise these issues,” she added. “It is the duty of lawyers in the highest tradition of the practice of law to raise unpopular issues.”
Yet the judge accused the lawyers of having “scorned their oath” in asking the courts to undermine the electoral process.
“The sanctity of both the courtroom and the litigation process are preserved only when attorneys adhere to this oath and follow the rules, and only when courts impose sanctions when attorneys do not,” Parker wrote. “And 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.”