Sidney Powell and Other Trump-Aligned Lawyers Will Face Legal Penalties - The World News

Sidney Powell and Other Trump-Aligned Lawyers Will Face Legal Penalties

Sidney Powell, L. Lin Wood and several other lawyers who advanced former President Donald J. Trump’s false claims of a stolen election will face legal penalties after the Supreme Court declined to take up their appeal.

The penalties — upwards of $130,000 in legal fees incurred by the election officials they sued, plus referrals to their state bar associations for potential discipline — stem from a lawsuit the lawyers filed in Michigan in November 2020. That suit, one of dozens in the sweeping effort by Mr. Trump’s campaign and allies to challenge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, alleged that state officials had schemed to “fraudulently and illegally manipulate the vote count.”

A district court in Michigan in December 2020 rejected the lawsuit’s call for officials to decertify the state’s true election results and falsely certify Mr. Trump as having won Michigan. And in 2021, the same court imposed the penalties on nine lawyers behind the lawsuit, saying those lawyers had “abused” the judicial process by making claims not backed by law or evidence, by not investigating those claims before leveling them in legal filings and by “dragging out” the proceedings.

“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,” the court wrote, chastising Ms. Powell, Mr. Wood and the other lawyers: Scott Hagerstrom, Julia Haller, Brandon Johnson, Stefanie Lynn Junttila, Howard Kleinhendler, Emily Newman and Gregory J. Rohl.

The lawyers have been appealing ever since. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit removed the penalties against Ms. Junttila and Ms. Newman and reduced the fees somewhat for most of the remaining lawyers (and lower for Mr. Wood). But it otherwise upheld the district court’s order.

And on Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied certiorari, meaning it won’t hear the case and the appeals court ruling will remain in force. The justices do not provide reasoning for such denials.

Ms. Powell said in a statement that the Supreme Court was “allowing a dangerous precedent to stand that puts at risk every lawyer who represents an unpopular cause or client.”

“It will make it far more difficult primarily for conservatives to find legal counsel for any fight — but especially an election challenge,” she said. “And sadly, that is exactly what the left wants.”

Ms. Powell is sometimes referred to as the Kraken lawyer because of an interview in which she vowed to “release the Kraken” in the form of supposed overwhelming evidence of election fraud. Such evidence never materialized.

Mr. Wood said in an interview that he was “very disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s denial, but would pay the fees. He claimed, as he has before, that he wasn’t involved in the Michigan lawsuit and “didn’t even know my name was on it until I got sued.” The district court rejected that assertion in its 2021 ruling, saying that Mr. Wood had waited months to claim that he had not been involved, and that he had declined an opportunity to say so under oath.

Ms. Powell and Mr. Wood have also faced other repercussions related to efforts to help Mr. Trump overturn the election results. In July, Mr. Wood gave up his law license in Georgia in exchange for the dropping of disciplinary proceedings against him. And in October, Ms. Powell pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts in Georgia.

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