Update, 4:05 p.m. Monday: Attorney David Fink, who represents the city of Detroit, ripped the pro-Trump attorneys in his closing argument in federal court, and urged the judge to “issue the strongest possible sanctions.”
He suggested Monday the attorneys be barred from practicing in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan “or frankly anywhere else” for filing a bogus lawsuit challening the 2020 election. He also asked that they reimburse taxpayers in Detroit and Michigan for costs of defending against the lawsuit.
“These lawyers have dishonored our profession,” he said. "Because of the lies spread in this courtroom, not only did people die on Jan. 6, but many people throughout the world ... came to doubt the strength of our democratic institutions in this country."
Sidney Powell, who worked closely with Rudy Giuliani to challenge the presidential election around the country, and was a key attorney behind the Michigan lawsuit, objected to Fink’s remarks and the sanction proceedings as a whole.
“We had a legal obligation to the country and to the electors to raise these issues,” she responded, saying that she has adhered to the highest ethical standards during her decades as a lawyer.
“No court has ever given us that opportunity” to try the case, she said. “Instead, we are met with proceedings like this brought by Mr. Fink and others who are themselves the ones who have abused the process for political gamesmanship and their political purposes. And this is one of the proceedings that leaves the American public with no confidence in our election system or in our judicial system.”
Judge Linda Parker, who heard six hours of arguments, will issue a ruling later. She questioned the legal affidavits filed by the pro-Trump team, saying the attorneys did “minimal due diligence” to investigated voter fraud claims.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an affidavit that makes so many leaps. This is really fantastical,” Parker said at one point. “So my question to counsel here is: How could any of you as officers of the court present this affidavit? ...
"My concern is that counsel here has submitted affidavits to suggest and make the public believe that there was something wrong with the election."
Original post, earlier Monday:
Pro-Trump attorneys who last fall sued unsuccessfully to undermine Michigan's presidential election results sought to distance themselves from the case during a sanctions hearing in federal court in Detroit Monday.
The hearing follows the city of Detroit's request for Judge Linda Parker to require the lawyers involved to cover attorney fees and be referred for possible disbarment proceedings. Parker in December declined to de-certify the state's election results based on claims outlined in the suit — among them, that thousands of new ballots suddenly turned up in Detroit — calling the request “stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach."
Two of the most prominent attorneys in the pro-Trump camp — Dallas-based Sidney Powell and Atlanta-based L. Lin Wood — are among the lawyers who brought the unsuccessful suit and whose conduct is under scrutiny by U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker.
Another pair of attorneys involved in the case, Emily Newman and Julia Haller, served in a variety of Trump administration posts but appear to have left government late last year to aid Powell in the post-election litigation.
While Wood was listed as one of seven attorneys on the first iteration of the suit last November, he stressed to the judge that he wasn’t involved in preparing it.
“I played absolutely no role in the drafting of the complaint, just to be clear,” Wood told Parker. “I did not review any of the documents with respect to the complaint. My named was placed on there, but I had no involvement.”
... I had generally indicated to Sidney Powell that if she needed a quote-unquote trial lawyer, I would certainly be willing or available help her,” Wood said. “Would I have objected to being included by name? I don’t believe so.”
A lawyer for Newman, meanwhile, said she spent "maybe five hours" on the case and “wasn’t really involved."
This is the first possible monetary penalty for lawyers involved in efforts to overturn the election results in several swing states that went for Biden by narrow margins. Rudy Giuliani's license to practice law in New York was suspended two weeks ago.