Lawyers who filed frivolous, unsubstantiated pro-Trump election lawsuits in the aftermath of 2020 are starting to get their due. A federal judge in Colorado disciplined two lawyers Wednesday for filing a lawsuit based on nothing more than the wild musings of immaterial witnesses.
The attorneys, Gary Fielder and Ernest John Walker, had sought $160 billion in damages on behalf of 160 million voters who they claimed had been disenfranchised by voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems; Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Priscilla Chan; and elected officials in four states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia), according to The Washington Post.
The case was tossed out in April. But this week Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter issued a 68-page opinion in which he marveled at the weakness of the case, its harmful effects, and the recklessness of the two attorneys who filed it.
“Albeit disorganized and fantastical, the Complaint’s allegations are extraordinarily serious and, if accepted as true by large numbers of people, are the stuff of which violent insurrections are made," Neureiter wrote.
"The Complaint was one enormous conspiracy theory," he charged.
The witnesses, he noted, were “notable only in demonstrating no firsthand knowledge by any Plaintiff of any election fraud, misconduct, or malfeasance.”
Neureiter chastised the pair for blithely quoting a tweet in which Donald Trump made the bogus claim that voting machine Dominion Voting Systems had “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide.”
Finally, Neureiter ordered the two attorneys, Fielder and Walker, to pay the legal fees of all 18 entities they had sued. The defendants in the original suit were charged with documenting the time they devoted to the case and calculating their billable hours and associated fees.
Fielder told the Post they plan to appeal the ruling. He rejected the notion that they had acted in bad faith and claimed the lawsuit was based on a "mountain of truthful and factual allegations." Good luck with that.
In another failed 2020 election lawsuit filed in Michigan, the attorney for the city of Detroit, David Fink, has been trying to hold Kraken-pot lawyers Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and a half dozen of their co-counsels accountable.
Following Team Kraken’s disastrous showing last month at a federal hearing in the Eastern District of Michigan, the pro-Trump attorneys are now arguing they shouldn't be sanctioned because "many Americans" believe the 2020 election wasn't fair. In essence—sure, judge, we lied to the American people but they believed us, so it's all good.
In a response, Fink writes, "Many Americans believe that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are real, but that belief does not protect an attorney who files a frivolous lawsuit based upon affidavits purportedly signed by one of them."
Detroit attorney Fink is seeking referrals for disbarment, according to Law & Crime reporter Adam Klasfeld.
But Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is apparently seeking more moderate punishment, such as reimbursement for attorney fees. In a court filing on Wednesday, Whitmer's counsel made special note of the scathing opinion from Neureiter in Colorado, saying the ruling "supports the granting of sanctions here."
"This lawsuit repeated many of the same claims of fraud and irregularity in Michigan’s election that were made here and included similar constitutional claims under the Electors Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Due Process Clause, along with state law claims," wrote Michigan Assistant Attorney General Heather Meingast. "In a thorough and persuasive opinion, the Court concluded that the plaintiffs’ counsel had acted unreasonably in repeating from other unsuccessful lawsuits, including this case, various allegations of fraud and error in the states’ elections without conducting their own reasonable inquiry."
The cross-pollination of these bogus lawsuits will likely ensure many of the lawyers who filed them will suffer a similar fate. If you're gonna cut corners and cheat off of someone, at least cheat off of someone smart.