On Thursday, a federal appeals court denied a request by attorney Sidney Powell and her peers to suspend sanctions citing their “inexplicable” delay. This might result in disciplinary proceedings or a suspension from the bar.
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The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the stay requested by lawyers Powell, Gregory J. Rohl, Brandon Johnson, Howard Kleinhendler, Julia Haller, and Scott Hagrstrom, who are fighting for their legal licenses after their district courts referred them to their respective bars. Stefanie Lynn Junttila, their co-counsel, filed a similar motion, which was also rejected.
Attempts by the plaintiffs to overturn President Joe Biden’s election in Michigan were deemed a “historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” by U.S. District Judge Linda Parker.
“It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election,” wrote Parker on Aug. 25, 2021, in a 110-page order. “It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here.”
According to Parker, the lawsuit was “never about fraud”—rather it was about “undermining the People’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.”
Also in the August ruling, Parker ordered the attorneys to complete continuing legal education courses by the end of the week on Friday, Feb. 25. On December 3, she added $175,000 as a financial penalty for the lawyers.
On Feb. 14, this year, the lawyers filed a motion seeking to stop the non-monetary portion of their penalty while they appealed. Valentine’s Day plea was not appreciated by U.S. Circuit Judges Bernice B. Donald (an Obama appointee), Eric L. Clay (a Bill Clinton appointee), and Ralph B. Guy Jr. (a Reagan appointee), who remarked that the request had been made right before the deadline.
“They waited more than two months to seek a stay, knowing the February 25 deadline was imminent,” a statement from the trio reads. “The district court clerk has already referred the matter to the Attorneys’ relevant disciplinary authorities. When the district court entered its judgment, reducing the monetary sanctions to a sum certain, it had no reason to consider whether to stay its non-monetary sanctions imposed more than three months prior.”
For the “Kraken lawyers,” so named after the movie and octopus-like creature from “Clash of the Titans,” which Powell used in her announcement of four lawsuits seeking to overturn Donald Trump’s loss in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia, the Michigan defeat was the most damaging.
Their requested stay was also denied.
“There was also ample time for this court to consider a motion to stay in the normal course,” according to the order. “The Attorneys’ assertion that it was prudent to delay seeking a stay until they filed their principal brief is inexplicable.”
In the end, Detroit, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and State Sec. Jocelyn Benson all defeated the lawsuit and opposed pausing the punishment for their adversaries.
Nonetheless, Powell continues to courageously fight.
Powell sued Verizon earlier this month to stop records and data from being disclosed to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol.
A subpoena was issued in January 2022 by the House Select Committee to Investigations January 6th against several close allies of the former president, including Powell, who is a Texas member of the bar with a Dallas office.
It asked Powell if she had any evidence to support Trump’s claims of election fraud in its letter to her.
Court documents state that Powell also maintains that Verizon’s phone records that were subpoenaed in connection with the Jan. 6 investigation shouldn’t be made public due to the attorney-client privilege and a violation of her First Amendment rights.
The attorney for Powell says his client had “no involvement in the events of January 6th, yet the DOJ is seeking records that contain client privileges held by numerous clients.”
In addition, the lawsuit asserts that subpoena of Verizon’s phone records on Feb. 4 violated the Stored Communications Act, which says an electronic provider “shall not knowingly divulge to any person or entity the contents of a communication while in electronic storage to that service.”
Additionally, it is alleged that the subpoena violates the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by searching for the “contents of a communication while in electronic storage” without the authorization of Powell or the law.
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Moreover, Powell believes her First Amendment rights have been violated as the subpoena is too broad and there is no way a “governmental interest could be sufficiently compelling to permit it to delve through every phone call place or received” by Powell over the course of three months.
Additionally, the lawsuit asserts that the subpoena is an unlawful search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
At the end of the day, Powell’s lawsuit claims Verizon is acting beyond the company’s authority, and that the subpoena it is being served is both unlawful and unenforceable.