Former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell and other lawyers who sued to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in Michigan were ordered to pay the state and the city of Detroit $175,250 for using the legal system to push their clients’ unfounded conspiracy theories.
U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker in Detroit on Thursday said the sum is appropriate because the lawyers “unreasonably and vexatiously” wasted the resources of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the city.
The defense lawyers racked up significant expenses “responding to plaintiffs’ attorneys’ constantly shifting arguments and frivolous assertions made and even repeated after being shut down by the court,” Parker wrote.
Parker issued the sanctions in August and said she’d rule later on the amount, after receiving estimates on legal fees from the defense. The group that must pay up includes Georgia attorney Lin Wood, who with Powell was involved in multiple suits challenging former President Donald Trump’s election loss.
Neither Powell nor Wood immediately responded to messages seeking comment.
The judge said the legal fees are particularly justified in the case because they filed claims that undermined Americans’ faith in democracy itself “without conducting the required degree of diligence as to the truth of the allegations.”
“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,” she said.
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