Judge Won't Recuse from Lin Wood's Case Against the Georgia Bar
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Judge Who Dismissed Two of Lin Wood’s Post-Election Lawsuits Won’t Recuse Himself from Wood’s Case Against the Georgia Bar

A federal judge who dismissed two of Lin Wood’s post-election lawsuits last year—and called one of them “astonishingly speculative“—refused on Monday to recuse himself from the pro-Trump lawyer’s case against the State Bar of Georgia.

Wood sued the State Bar of Georgia earlier this year in response to the bar’s previously confidential inquiry into his post-election conduct and its related demand that he receive a mental health examination.

That case landed before U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, a George W. Bush appointee who had previously dismissed two of Wood’s other lawsuits that landed on his docket last year after the 2020 election.

The first one, part of the so-called “Kraken” lawsuits filed with Sidney Powell, sought to decertify President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. Judge Batten rebuked that request as “the most extraordinary relief ever sought” in his court.

In the lead-up to the Georgia Senate runoff elections, Wood tried to challenge the constitutionality of election procedures with a conspiracy theory about Dominion Voting Systems involving dead Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez.

“Not only is this allegation astonishingly speculative, but it also presumes that because independent bad actors allegedly fixed the election of a now-deceased Venezuelan president, fraud will recur during Georgia’s runoff,” Batten wrote late last December. “Even if Wood’s alleged fraudulent events were to ultimately occur, he has not shown more than a possible future injury. This is insufficient to confer standing.”

Those words may have been emphatic, but Judge Batten found that there is “nothing in the court’s handling of Wood’s earlier cases would lead to impartiality, prejudice, or bias that would require recusal.”

Initiated in early February, the Bar’s inquiry was confidential until Wood posted all 1,677 pages of its memorandum and exhibits on Telegram, an encrypted social media app where the lawyer has hundreds of thousands of followers. The Bar’s nine-page summary recaps Wood’s post-election lawsuits, including his so-called “Kraken” lawsuits in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona with Sidney Powell. All of those lawsuits were dismissed, and the attorneys who brought them are now facing multiple demands for sanctions and calls for their disbarment.

The summary also reprises Wood’s conspiracy theories that Chief Justice John Roberts is a “member of a club or cabal requiring minor children as an initiation fee” and that former Vice President Mike Pence is a “TRAITOR, a Communist Sympathizer & a Child Molester.”

The Bar also extensively quoted Wood’s contract dispute with three professional colleagues he used to describe as his law partners. In a lawsuit, the colleagues described what they called Wood’s “erratic, abusive, and unprofessional behavior” from late 2019 to 2020. Two of those former colleagues claim Wood assaulted them, and they also claim that they taped him declaring: “I might actually be Christ coming back for a second time in the form of an imperfect man, elevating Christ consciousness.”

In an inquiry extensively quoting Wood’s comments and litigation, the State Bar of Georgia looked into whether Wood violated Rule 4-104, which allows for confidential referrals to a mental health professional to look into whether a lawyer should be removed because of mental illness.

Firing back in a lawsuit against the State Bar of Georgia, Wood insisted that the official inquiry was politically motivated and compared the psychiatric examination demand to the Salem Witch Trials. But the Bar was not alone in its concern for Wood’s mental well-being.

In a recording exclusively reported by Law&Crime’s podcast “Objections,” Wood can be heard emotionally recounting his children’s request that he get treatment.

“Right now, they want me to tell them I’ll go to a mental health healthcare professional for regular monthly therapy however long it takes, which I’m never going to do,” Wood can be heard saying of his children on one recording provided to Law&Crime.

Wood claimed that he wanted to call Judge Batten as a witness and could not do so without the jurist recusing himself.

The judge rejected that, noting that “information learned in court proceedings is not grounds for recusal.”

“Further, the Court agrees with Wood’s assertion that it never sanctioned Wood for inappropriate or unprofessional conduct or otherwise took action or filed a complaint that would call Wood’s professional conduct or mental stability into question based on Wood’s 2020 cases in this Court,” Batten’s ruling states. “This obviates the need for the undersigned to testify as a witness.”

In an email, Wood told Law&Crime that he immediately appealed the ruling.

“Judge Batten’s failure to disqualify himself from my lawsuit against the State Bar of Georgia Grievance Committee is clearly erroneous and a notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was filed immediately after Batten entered the erroneous order,” Wood wrote.

Wood previously appealed the dismissal of a different post-election lawsuit to the 11th Circuit, which rejected that challenge late last year.

Listen to more about Lin Wood on Law&Crime’s podcast:

Read the ruling below:

[Screenshot of Lin Wood via WXIA-TV]

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.