Defending herself from more than $1 billion in liabilities from Dominion Voting Machines, lawyer Sidney Powell argued late last month that that “no reasonable person” would believe that her conspiracy theories were factual. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) cited that concession to argue that the pro-Trump lawyer’s meritless litigation is sanctionable.
“These attorneys seemingly made statements they knew were misleading in an effort to further their false and destructive narrative,” Nessel wrote in a statement on Wednesday. “As lawyers, fidelity to the law is paramount. These individuals worked to further conspiracy theories in an effort to erode public trust in government and dismantle our systems of democracy. Their actions are inexcusable.”
On Tuesday, the attorney general filed a supplemental briefing on behalf of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), drawing a federal judge’s attention to Powell’s latest defense against the more than $1 billion in liabilities that she faces from Dominion Voting System’s defamation lawsuit.
Powell’s so-called Kraken lawsuits advanced outlandish theories drawing together deceased Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez, multiple foreign powers, local governments across the United States, and Dominion in a supposed plot to hand President Joe Biden the election. Sued by Dominion, Powell later floated the defense that a reasonable person would not have taken her claims to be statements of fact.
“Analyzed under these factors, and even assuming, arguendo, that each of the statements alleged in the complaint could be proved true or false, no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact,” her lawyer Lawrence Joseph wrote late last month, floating a defense that previously worked for Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
However helpful Powell may believe that argument to be in guarding against Dominion’s defamation claims, Whitmer, Benson and Nessel find that it undermines her position in persuading a federal judge that she should not be sanctioned with attorney fees.
“In their prior briefs, defendants have gone to great pains to show that no reasonable person would believe the claims advanced by plaintiffs in this case. Plaintiffs have pushed back on Defendants’ arguments, but now Ms. Powell herself has admitted as much,” Nessel’s assistant Heather S. Meingast wrote, highlighting those words in original.
“If there were any doubts about counsel’s mindset when filing this action, Ms. Powell has put them to rest—she and her co-counsel knew there was no reasonable basis for the statements they made in this litigation, but they made them anyway,” the brief continues.
In early February, the state of Michigan joined the city of Detroit in seeking to disbar Powell and the rest of her “Kraken” team. The word Kraken alludes to the mythical octopus-like creature given the Hollywood treatment in “Clash of the Titans.”
“Although Ms. Powell’s attempt inevitably failed, it served a second, more sinister purpose—one that is not easily remedied, even by the court’s dismissal of baseless legal claims: it cast unwarranted doubt on the results of Michigan’s free and fair elections,” their bar complaint stated. “Indeed, it undermined the faith of millions of Americans in our democracy and the legitimacy of our President.”
Michigan filed the motion for sanctions separately from the bar complaints.
Reached for comment, Powell supplied a terse statement in an email to Law&Crime: “‘Horsefeathers’ and another political publicity stunt.”
Update—April 7 at 11:07 a.m. Central Time: This story has been updated to include Sidney Powell’s comment.
Read the brief below:
(Image via screen capture/YouTube)
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