Michigan commission finds ‘misconduct’ by pro-Trump attorneys in 2020 lawsuit
- Michigan commission finds ‘misconduct’ by pro-Trump attorneys
- Sidney Powell and others had tried to overturn 2020 election
- Discipline Board to decide potential punishment for lawyers
LANSING – Sidney Powell and other pro-Trump lawyers who tried to overturn Michigan’s 2020 presidential election committed professional “misconduct” and should be disciplined, according to the state’s Attorney Grievance Commission.
An administrator for the nine-member commission laid out those findings in a formal complaint filed this week with the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, which must now hold a public hearing before deciding if and how to punish the attorneys.
Commissioners, each appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court, found Powell and eight other lawyers who tried to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss here had committed misconduct on multiple fronts.
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Among them: Bringing a "frivolous" lawsuit and engaging in "prejudicial" conduct that exposes the legal profession to "contempt" and is "contrary to justice, ethics, honesty, or good morals."
The review was requested by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel. The Democrats had accused the lawyers of trying to “disenfranchise Michigan voters and undermine the faith of the public in the legitimacy of” the 2020 presidential election.
Powell, a Texas lawyer, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
She was lead attorney on a 2020 election lawsuit in Michigan that asked courts to declare then-President Donald Trump the winner of the state despite his 154,188-vote loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Other attorneys cited by the grievance commission include Lin Wood (Georgia), Howard Kleinhendler (New York), Emily Newman (Texas), Brandon Johnson and Julia Haller (both in Washington D.C.) and Michigan attorneys Gregory Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom and Stefanie Junttilla Lambert.
Lambert, in a statement, said she looks forward to “providing the State Bar with full transparency as well as examining Benson and Nessel under oath as part of her public hearing.” She added: "I have been practicing law for 15 years (12 as a prosecutor) and never had a bar grievance until the instant matter."
Hagerstrom told Bridge Michigan he was never contacted by investigators from the Attorney Grievance Commission but received notice of their findings earlier Friday.
“I moved on a long time ago,” Hagerstrom said, noting the 2020 election lawsuit was dismissed in December of that year. “It seems that (Democrats) want to keep us alive for some reason. Maybe it helps them politically.”
The matter now heads to the State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, which is an arm of the state Supreme Court and can decide a broad range of potential punishments, including reprimands, suspensions, probations and disbarments.
A three-member discipline board panel will be required to hold a public hearing before the full board decides on any form of public discipline for the attorneys. The board’s decision could also be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The attorneys in question were already sanctioned by Detroit U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker, who in August of 2021 called their 2020 election lawsuit a "historic and profound abuse of the judicial process." But each lawyer has since appealed those sanctions to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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