Sidney Powell and other Trump attorneys ordered to take additional CLEs
Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell and her co-counsel will have to take additional legal education due to their failed post-election lawsuit challenging Michigan’s presidential election results, as an appeals court rejected her attorneys’ request to block the sanctions against them while the appeal plays out.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker issued a series of sanctions against Powell and her co-counsel in August, including ordering them to undergo at least 12 hours of continuing legal education in pleading standards and election law, calling their post-election lawsuit “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”
Powell and co-counsel requested that the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals block the non-monetary sanctions against them while it considers a full appeal on the sanctions.
Powell and her co-counsel claimed that being forced to undergo “nonpartisan” legal education violated the First Amendment and the district court was trying “to make a political statement at their expense” with the order.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied that request, saying the lawyers should have first asked the district court to halt the sanctions instead.
The attorneys also asked the appeals court to block Parker’s order that the lawyers be referred to their States’ disciplinary boards for potential punishment—but the district court clarified it was too late for that, as the court had already issued the referrals in August.
In addition to the continuing legal education Parker ordered the 9 attorneys involved with the case to pay in sanctions, with $21,964.75 going to the State of Michigan and $153,285.62 to the city of Detroit. The attorneys will not have to pay that yet, however, as Parker paused the order while the sanctions are being appealed.
The Michigan lawsuit was one of 4 lawsuits Powell brought in “battleground States” after the 2020 election trying to overturn the results, part of a broader post-election legal campaign waged by President Trump and his allies. The cases alleged widespread fraud but all 4 legal challenges failed. Parker initially dismissed the Michigan lawsuit in December, ruling the complaint was based on “nothing but speculation and conjecture” and did not actually offer proof of election fraud, but rather “an amalgamation of theories, conjecture, and speculation that such alterations were possible.” Powell and her co-counsel have continued to stand behind their litigation, however, saying in a February brief to the appeals court they made “non-frivolous legal claims” and that “millions of Americans believe the central [voter fraud] contentions of the complaint to be true, and perhaps they are.”
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