Supreme Court declines to undo sanctions on pro-Trump 2020 campaign lawyers

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to undo sanctions against several lawyers allied with former President Trump for filing a meritless lawsuit challenging Michigan’s 2020 presidential election results.

Lawyers Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and others brought the lawsuit against Michigan state officials and Detroit in November 2020, one of dozens of suits filed in an attempt to prove election results were illegitimate in states where Trump had lost. The efforts failed across the board and no evidence of widespread fraud was uncovered.

After dismissing the case, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker, of the Eastern District of Michigan, ordered sanctions for the Trump-aligned lawyers, describing the lawsuit as a “historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”

“Sanctions are required to deter the filing of future frivolous lawsuits designed primarily to spread the narrative that our election processes are rigged and our democratic institutions cannot be trusted,” Parker wrote in the 110-page opinion.

The Trump lawyers were ordered to pay back attorneys’ fees accumulated by Michigan state officials and Detroit in seeking the sanctions — and to take legal education classes. Parker also referred her decision to disciplinary authorities where each attorney is admitted for “investigation and possible suspension or disbarment.”

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A federal appeals panel last year upheld most of those sanctions, prompting Powell, Wood and the other remaining lawyers to seek relief from the Supreme Court.

Powell, once a lawyer for Trump’s campaign, became a powerful surrogate for the former president’s false claims of election fraud, earning the nickname “Kraken” after issuing zealous speeches comparing the mythological creature to the alleged fraud.

Wood was formerly an attorney in Georgia, but retired after striking a deal with the State Bar of Georgia that it would not pursue disciplinary proceedings against him if he stopped practicing law.

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