Well, it is hardly surprising that Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and seven other lawyers have been sanctioned for their lawsuit alleging election fraud in Detroit. I previously wrote about the court hearing regarding the sanction motion here. In response to that motion for sanctions, Ms. Powell argued, apparently with a straight face, that “/s/Sidney Powell” was not a genuine signature. Making such an argument amounts to a virtual concession that she has no defense.
Judge Linda Parker found the lawyers had filed their lawsuit in bad faith for an improper purpose. In other words, she says their lawsuit was frivolous. The judge ordered the lawyers to pay the lawyer’s fees of the state and city lawyers who were forced to file a motion for sanctions. The judge required the plaintiff lawyers to take legal classes regarding pleading standards and state election laws. And, she referred all of them to the Michigan bar association and to their own state bar associations for investigation. See Politico news report here.
Outlandish and Easily Debunked Allegations
The lawsuit was based on affidavits filed by persons claiming knowledge of election fraud. In the lengthy court order, Judge Parker points to specific instances of the lawyers ignoring or not looking deeper into “outlandish” and easily debunked allegations by the the experts. For example, Russell J. Ramsland claimed 6,000 votes in Antrim County were switched from Trump to Biden. He also claimed 643 precincts in Michigan showed 80% or better voter turnout. One township, said Ramsland, showed 460% voter turnout. But, actually, the Antrim County officials issued a state bulletin well before the lawsuit explaining that a user error had caused the mis-count in Antrim County. And, the official election results for Michigan were published – prior to the lawsuit – which showed numbers way below those reports by Ramsland.
Even the most basic internet search, noted the Judge, would have showed the actual voter turnout for Detroit as being 50%, not the 139% claimed by Ramsland. And, instead of the enormous 781% turnout in the city of North Muskegon claimed by Ramsland, the actual turnout was 77%.
And, of course, Ramsland, a designated expert, famously relied on some statistics for counties which were not even located in Michigan. Some of the counties he relied were located in Minnesota, not Michigan. But, even for Minnesota, those numbers were wildly inaccurate. The court states flatly that Ramsland lied in his affidavit. The lawyers then failed completely to verify his allegations.
Another alleged expert, Joshua Merritt, claimed to have been an electronic Intelligence Analyst with the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion. Later, the lawyers learned Merritt had never completed his initial intelligence training. He kept “washing out of courses” and never became an analyst, said an Army spokesman. Yet, the lawyers never corrected that mis-representation. And, the plaintiff lawyers did not dispute this allegation at the hearing.
On Jan.5, the lawyers for the City provided a newspaper article saying Merritt was not a military intelligence expert and actually lacked intelligence training. At the January hearing, the court asked if anyone had suggested to the plaintiff lawyers that Merritt was not a military intelligence expert. Ms. Powell said no. By their silence, the other plaintiff lawyers agreed with her, said the court.
The plaintiff lawyers claimed Merritt had “year and years” of cyber security. Yet, Merritt’s affidavit made no such claim. The court went on and on with additional examples of prevarication and exaggerations by the plaintiff lawyers, and by their experts.
It is very rare for a lawyer to be sanctioned. As lawyers, we are required to verify our allegations in court. Normally, we know very little and have only small opportunity to verify our client’s allegations. But, in a high profile lawsuit, which seeks enormous remedies, more is expected. These lawyers failed to rise to the occasion. Instead, they relied on allegations they had to know were wildly incorrect. The court is saying these lawyers had to know the allegations were not just wrong, but very inaccurate. It is very likely that the state bar associations will follow the court’s findings. These lawyers incurred huge risk with this one lawsuit.