LANSING, Mich. — Attorney Sidney Powell and other lawyers who unsuccessfully sought to overturn Michigan's 2020 election will have to pay $175,250 in legal fees under a court order issued Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker of Michigan's Eastern District said the penalty was "an appropriate sanction" and "is an amount the court finds needed to deter plaintiffs’ counsel and others from engaging in similar misconduct in the future."
"Plaintiffs’ attorneys, many of whom seek donations from the public to fund lawsuits like this one ... have the ability to pay this sanction," Parker wrote.
The decision awards $153,285.62 to the city of Detroit, the state's largest city and a Democratic stronghold that became a hotbed for false and unproven claims about voter fraud, and $21,964.75 to the state of Michigan.
The nine attorneys involved in bringing the election case — Powell, L. Lin Wood, Howard Kleinhendler, Gregory Rohl, Stefanie Lynn Junttila, Emily Newman, Julia Z. Haller, Brandon Johnson and Scott Hagerstrom — must pay the amounts within 30 days, according to Parker's order. That's an unless there's an appeal.
The suit seeking to overturn the election represented "a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," the judge wrote in her August sanctions decision, and sought to deceive the federal court and Americans "into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated."
Parker previously required a copy of her sanctions decision be sent to state disciplinary boards for the possible suspension or disbarment of the nine attorneys involved in the suit. Parker ordered the lawyers to complete 12 hours of continuing legal education in pleading standards and election law.
Attorneys have an obligation to present "only tenable claims" with due diligence and in good faith, the judge ruled. But the attorneys in the election case presented claims backed by neither evidence nor law, she wrote.
In September, the state and city detailed in court filings how much they spent to fight the high-profile and unsuccessful suit that aimed to have Republican Donald Trump named Michigan's winner despite the fact he lost by 154,000 votes to Democrat Joe Biden.
Their initial tallies equaled $204,156.
Parker reduced Detroit’s award by $28,906.38, mostly because the city's initial number included work related to an appeal.