Friday, July 9, 2021

MAGA - My Attorneys Got Attorneys

Of the more than 60 post-election challenge cases that went down to defeat in states across the nation, one of the most high profile was in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the City of Detroit among others were sued unsuccessfully in the U.S. District Court case in a case alleging voter fraud.

You may recall that one of the allegations of the complaint was that in some counties there were more votes cast than there were registered voters. What did not impress the judge was that the person doing this analysis used actual voting records from Michigan but related them to registered voters in Minnesota that had counties with the same name. Making this kind of allegation in a sworn affidavit has a name – a fraud on the court. The case was dismissed as having no merit.

Based on this and other defects, both procedural and substantive, the Michigan Attorney General and the City of Detroit told the court that the attorneys who filed and promoted this case should be sanctioned and fined. The sanction motion from January 28 stated:

It was never about winning on the merits of the claims, but rather plaintiffs’ purpose was to undermine the integrity of the election results and the people’s trust in the electoral process and in government. … The filing of litigation for that purpose is clearly an abuse of the judicial process and warrants the imposition of sanctions.”

These lawyers included “release the Kraken” proponent Sidney Powell who was one of Trump's lawyers at the time.

It is not unusual for winning lawyers to ask for sanctions against a losing party, especially when their conduct was unprofessional or incompetent. Typically, though, a motion for sanctions is denied or resolved based on briefs written by the parties.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker took a somewhat remarkable approach. On June 17th, she issued the following order:

Each attorney whose name appears on any of the Plaintiffs’ pleadings or brief shall be present [virtually] at the motion hearing. 

This is not an order that a plaintiff’s attorney wants to receive. Judge Parker set the hearing for July 6th.

Nine days later, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys asked that the hearing be rescheduled to a later date due to an emergency conflict with her schedule. The emergency? A previously scheduled family vacation. Out of what can only be described as the goodness of her heart, Judge Parker granted that request and reset the case for this coming week.

It gets better. Following the order resetting the hearing, the plaintiffs’ lawyers … got lawyers. These lawyers’ lawyers then asked the Court if they could appear in court on behalf of their clients (so that the original lawyers would not need to personally appear). The judge was not amused. In a one word order, she simply said “DENIED.” As one commentator noted, this was the equivalent of answering with a strong verb and a pronoun.

One more aside. As if the lawyers hiring lawyers at this late date in the proceedings isn't unusual enough, one of the original plaintiffs' lawyers (who now had her own lawyer) filed a pleading on her own yesterday. Without her lawyer. She misspelled her own name on the signature line.

The hearing Monday morning on all pending sanctions motions should be interesting.

Unrelated update to a previous article: Following and based upon Rudy Guiliani’s suspension to practice law in New York, the D.C. Court has also suspended his right to practice in that court.

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