Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel will seek sanctions against attorney Sidney Powell and other lawyers she says made "intentional misrepresentations" in filing lawsuits to challenge the results of the Michigan presidential election.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the attorney general said she also intends to pursue court costs and fees and to file complaints with the attorney grievance commission, the Detroit News reported. She will join the City of Detroit and an attorney for Wayne County voter Robert Davis in seeking sanctions against the lawyers representing Republicans in cases seeking to overturn the state election.
President Donald Trump lost Michigan to President-elect Joe Biden by 154,000 votes. In the wake of the election, Powell and others made allegations of widespread voter fraud, and several lawsuits were filed that sought to prove those allegations in court and prevent the election from being certified. Those efforts were unsuccessful.
In response, Davis' attorney Andrew Paterson filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for Michigan's Eastern District seeking sanctions against the lawyers who represented six Michigan Republicans who sought to have the court declare Trump the winner in Michigan. Paterson's motion asked the court to sanction "the egregious conduct of the plaintiffs and their attorneys for making clearly frivolous arguments and using the judicial system to obtain unprecedented relief, to satisfy plaintiffs' selfish and destructive political agendas."
According to the News, the motion cites U.S. Code that permits a judge to require attorneys to pay "excess costs, expenses and attorney's fee" for conduct that "multiplies the proceedings in any case unreasonably and vexatiously."
"It is unfathomable that licensed attorneys would deliberately file false and misleading affidavits and pleadings with the Court in an effort to disenfranchise millions of Michigan residents," Davis said. "Not only should these individuals and their attorneys be assessed financial sanctions, but they also should be barred from practicing in the federal courts in the Eastern District of Michigan."
The City of Detroit is also seeking sanctions against the lawyers.
"The allegations about supposed fraud in the processing and tabulation of absentee ballots by the city at the TCF Center have been rejected by every court which has considered them," the city's motion states. "If any of the claims in this lawsuit had merit, that would have been demonstrated in those cases."
Detroit wants monetary sanctions, wants the Republican attorneys banned from practicing law in the Eastern District, and wants the plaintiffs and their counsel to post a $100,000 bond before they can file any additional action related to the case.
Nessel said that the Michigan state government will likely file for sanctions after the cases have been closed out.
"Some of these cases where we know for a fact there were intentional misrepresentations made — the kind of misrepresentation that there is no question of fact that these were inaccurate statements that were presented to the court — yes, myself and also Secretary Benson, will be filing complaints to the attorney grievance commission," Nessel said.
The News reported that for lawyers from outside Michigan, Nessel said she would complain to the relevant state bars.
"I think we need to go back to a time where you can trust an attorney is making an accurate and truthful representation to the court because if they don't, then they won't be able to practice law anymore," Nessel said.