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Pro-Trump Lawyers Sanctioned For “Historic and Profound Abuse of the Judicial Process”

Down goes the Kraken.

Sidney Powell speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters

We’re seven months into the Biden administration, and “stop the steal” conspiracy theorists and bad faith actors are still trying to dispute the 2020 presidential election. But two of its biggest mouthpieces, lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, got a big judicial smackdown from a Michigan federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker sanctioned nine pro-Trump lawyers in a devastating 110-page ruling, where she writes,

“This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process. It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election, … 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. That is what happened here.”

Powell (who referred to herself as “the Kraken”) and Wood filed a Michigan lawsuit where they demanded that the courts decertify Biden’s win in the state and impound Dominion Voting Systems ballot machines to investigate fraudulent voting. Judge Parker described their claims as “fantastical,” and Dominion is currently suing those lawyers for more than $1 billion in damages.

Powell, who was fired by Trump in November, has tried to use the “Tucker Carlson” defense, saying that “no reasonable person” was meant to believe that her claims “were truly statements of fact.” Ah yes, the classic “you can’t trust me, I don’t know what I’m talking about!” defense.

But the other clown shoe dropped when Judge Parker used Powell’s mea culpa against her. Parker wrote that Powell’s own admission of the absurdity of her claims in the Dominion lawsuit also applies to this sanctions ruling. Parker wrote, “It is not acceptable to support a lawsuit with opinions, which counsel herself claims no reasonable person would accept as fact and which were ‘inexact,’ ‘exaggerate[ed],’ and ‘hyperbole.’ Nor is it acceptable to use the federal judiciary as a political forum to satisfy one’s political agenda. Such behavior by an attorney in a court of law has consequences.”

The lawyers were ordered to pay back the defendants’ fees incurred by the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan. They must also take a minimum of 12 hours of CLE (continuing legal education) classes. The judge has also referred their case to “the appropriate disciplinary authority” for potential suspension and/or disbarring of their law licenses.

David Fink, an attorney for the city of Detroit, said that “This lawsuit has been used to delegitimize the presidency of Joe Biden.” He added, “This was, from the beginning to the end, an attempt to get a message out that was extrajudicial. We could not find a basis in law from what they were trying to do.” Fink then called their case filing “an embarrassment to the legal profession.”

Parker summed up their behavior, writing, “And this case was never about fraud—it was about undermining the People’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.”

And now, much like their beloved Kraken, Powell, Wood, and associates have lost the battle and will sink back into the sea of irrelevancy. Play bad games, win bad prizes.

(image: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.