The lawyers behind it President TrumpDonald TrumpMillions will lose unemployment benefits due to the conflict between Trump and Congress The Memo. Could pence run and win in 2024? Flights out of Nashville have been halted due to telecommunications issues related to the RV explosionThe failed efforts to overthrow the elections are met with mounting ethical complaints as critics say it is a frivolous legal campaign to delegitimize the elected president Joe BidenNashville’s Joe BidenFlights was stopped due to telecommunications issues related to the RV explosion. Does Haaland’s selection show Biden’s commitment to the fracking ban on public land? Police: Vehicle that exploded in Nashville sent explosion warning MOREwins and strengthens Trump’s fundraiser after the elections.
Trump attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy Giuliani Washington Post identifies Powell’s secret witness as pro-Trump podcaster Powell says White House aides won’t let her help Trump Trump attorneys MORE risk disciplinary action over a wave of election lawsuitsLike allies Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, accused lawsuits were charged with unreliable allegations, flimsy allegations and even outright lies in violation of their obligations as court officials.
As a result, judges and bar associations could soon face the task of figuring out whether this legal effort is a highly competitive advocacy or whether it has crossed a line.
According to experts in legal ethics, disciplinary sanctions could include fines, private or public criticism, suspension of legal license, or even banning.
The possibility of Trump-affiliated attorneys facing disciplinary action was in many ways sparked by their sad profit and loss record in court. By some estimates, the campaign and its allies prevailed in only one small case involving part of the Pennsylvania postal vote while losing or withdrawing in more than 50 rounds in state and state courts.
“Essentially, the rules require lawyers to sort out junk from the court to protect the judiciary’s limited resources. Attorneys are gatekeepers, ”said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University. “The abysmal failure rate of the campaign’s claims and the fact that claims were filed after many losses suggests almost definite violations of these rules.”
On Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) became the last official to urge pro-Trump attorneys to be punished. In a lawsuit, Nessel asked Michigan-based US District Judge Linda Parker to consider sanctions against Powell, Wood and their co-counsel for a lawsuit that Nessel described as “unfounded.”
The district judge, an Obama-appointed judge, earlier this month turned down the far-fetched offer to try to get Michigan’s electoral votes to Trump despite losing to Biden by 154,000 votes. Since then, however, the Trump allies legal team has only doubled, filing an appeal with the Supreme Court last week, asking the judges to look into the case faster.
“These are blatant lies that Ms. Powell is telling the United States Supreme Court of all places,” Nessel told CNN in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s troubling and I think it’s undermining our entire profession and she needs to be held accountable.”
Separately, a Delaware judge who led a non-election-related case warned Wood that his behavior in conducting pro-Trump litigation could put him in hot water. Wood is representing Carter Page, a former advisor to Trump’s 2016 campaign who is suing a media company in Delaware state court for defamation.
Delaware Supreme Court Justice Craig Karsnitz tried Wood on Tuesday for alleged unprofessional conduct in lawsuits aimed at overturning election results in Wisconsin and Georgia. The judge identified various suspected ethical violations, including that Wood had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a plaintiff without permission and made a false affidavit.
“It appears to the Tribunal that since the filing of Mr. Wood’s motion, he has practiced conduct in other jurisdictions which, if it had occurred in Delaware, would violate the professional rules of Delaware attorneys,” Karsnitz wrote in a Cause show, which was first reported by Outlet Law and Crime.
Reaching out for comment from The Hill, Wood said he had “not seen a sanction request so I cannot comment”.
Powell did not respond to a request for comment; Campaign officials say neither Powell nor Wood are officially part of the Trump legal team.
Giuliani, Trump’s chief attorney, has also been charged with ethical complaints over his role in attempting to undo Biden’s victory.
In November, Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellTrump Attorneys Risk Disciplinary Action Over A Wave of Election Lawsuits Juan Williams: The GOP’s Treason Of America On The Money: Congress Passes Bill To Avoid Shutdown As Coronavirus Talks Drag Into The Weekend Federal Reserve Fight Endangers Danger Talks MORE (DN.J.) filed complaints against Giuliani and more than 20 other attorneys behind lawsuits to reverse Trump’s lost re-election offer, and urged investigators to consider revoking the former New York mayor’s license .
“I have just filed legal complaints with AZ, MI, NV, NY and PA against Rudy Giuliani and 22 other attorneys who have been banned for filing frivolous lawsuits and trying to convince Trump to steal elections and break down democracy help, “said Pascrell wrote in a tweet on November 20.
When Giuliani reached out for comment, he said he was unaware of the complaint Pascrell had filed against him.
“Haven’t heard anything like that before ???” Giuliani said in an email response to The Hill. “Who is he?”
Earlier this month, more than 1,500 lawyers signed an open letter condemning the efforts of the Trump legal team and identifying Giuliani, Powell and several other Trump allies by name.
“President Trump’s legal battle is a pretext for a campaign to undermine public confidence in the 2020 election outcome, which will inevitably undermine constitutional democracy,” said the open letter from the Lawyers Defending American Democracy group’s chief agents and enablers of these efforts are attorneys who are bound by their oath and ethical rules to uphold the rule of law. “
Steven Lubet, a law professor at Northwestern University, said he was generally against what he called the “weapon” of legal ethics. In 2017, he wrote an essay for Slate challenging disciplinary complaints from law professors against the former Trump adviser and White House adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump’s attorneys risk disciplinary action over a wave of elections. Trump’s refusal to allow confusion among employees. Trump selects Hicks, Bondi, Grenell and other allies for MORE positions.
But Lubet said his view of the election-related lawsuits differently from showing that the lawyers made untrue claims in court records.
“I wouldn’t make a similar argument in defense of a lawyer’s false claims in federal litigation,” he said.
The rules of legal ethics generally prohibit lawyers from making frivolous claims that lack legal or factual support. Even if a legal argument is not viewed as frivolous, experts believe that there may still be a breach of ethical rules if made for an invalid reason.
“Federal rule prohibits attorneys from using the judiciary for an ‘improper purpose,'” said Gillers of New York University Law School, citing unethical attempts to raise funds or question an election .
As Trump’s weak campaign dragged on, electoral law experts said for weeks the litigation had shifted from an attempt to flip the election to a campaign to push Trump’s fundraiser – which has raised more than $ 200 million since Nov. 3 It became clear to some scholars shortly after election day that the kinds of allegations and evidence needed to convince the courts were clearly lacking.
However, public sanctions are relatively rare. According to Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford Law School, less than 10 percent of all disciplinary complaints end in public sanctions.
But Rhode said it was possible that the courts or disciplinary bodies could see Trump’s litigation in a particularly harsh light after the election given the grave concerns.
“The behavior of these attorneys was so outrageous and the stakes were so high that suits cast doubts about the legitimacy of the election and the reputation of the attorneys that it may move some disciplinary bodies into action,” she said.