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Pro-Trump Lawyer Lin Wood Loses Appeal Seeking to Block Georgia Bar’s Mental Health Probe

 

Lin Wood Pointing and Yelling

A federal appellate court rejected pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood’s attempt to block the State Bar of Georgia’s request to examine his mental health in their ongoing investigation about his fitness to practice law.

In an attempt to upend Joe Biden’s victory, Wood was one of the most active lawyers peddling conspiracy theories that Donald Trump won the 2020 election—whether on stage, on social media, or in court. Each of the so-called “Kraken” cases failed, and one of them sparked a federal judge’s sanctions order seeking his possible suspension or disbarment. Now fighting for his law license, Wood routinely tells his hundreds of thousands of social media followers that he’s being persecuted for his political views.

On Telegram, an encrypted social media site popular with the far-right, Wood disclosed the Georgia bar’s request to examine his mental health early last year.

Wood then sued the general counsel and other members of the State Bar of Georgia to block the mental health probe, which he compared to the Salem Witch Trials.

Roughly a year ago, a federal judge from the Northern District of Georgia rejected that request, and a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed that decision in a 20-page opinion on Tuesday.

The per curiam opinion—an unsigned decision arrived at through unanimous agreement—came courtesy of a trio of judges appointed by presidents across the political spectrum: U.S. Circuit Judges Robin Rosenbaum, a Barack Obama appointee; Britt Grant, a Trump appointee; and R. Lanier Anderson, a Jimmy Carter appointee.

“Bad faith, in this context, would mean that the State Bar initiated its investigation into Wood without a reasonable expectation of imposing discipline,” the ruling states.

Wood claimed that the State Bar did not respond to his requests for evidence justifying its “insistence on a medical examination.” He also insisted that the bar publicized the fact that it asked Wood to submit to a medical examination, requested on based upon politically motivated complaints, and did so “as a form of retaliation against Mr. Wood for the exercise of his protected free speech rights.”

A three-judge panel found that Wood provided no evidence for any of those four arguments.

“Wood’s first three allegations do not show that the State Bar had no reasonable expectation of finding that discipline was warranted,” the three-judge panel wrote. “The last allegation is a conclusory, legal assertion, so it cannot satisfy Wood’s burden of proof.”

In addition, Wood tried to disqualify the judge who presided over his lawsuit against the bar: Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, a George W. Bush appointee who dismissed two of Wood’s post-election lawsuits.

The 11th Circuit agreed that was not enough to demonstrate bias.

“Wood’s affidavit is not sufficient because ‘an allegation of bias sufficient to require recusal must demonstrate that the alleged bias is personal as opposed to judicial in nature,'” the opinion states. “In other words, ‘[t]he alleged bias ‘must stem from an extrajudicial source and result in an opinion on the merits on some basis other than what the judge learned from his participation in the case.’”

“Wood’s affidavit states only that the district judge presided over two of his prior challenges to federal elections: in the first case, the judge granted in part Wood’s request for a temporary restraining order, and, in the second case, he dismissed Wood’s claim for lack of standing,” it continues. “In neither case did the district judge ‘sanction [Wood] for inappropriate or unprofessional conduct or otherwise take any action or file any complaint to call [Wood’s] professional conduct or mental stability into question.’ These facts concern the district judge’s knowledge of Wood that he gained in his judicial capacity: Wood has not alleged that the district judge harbors personal bias against him born of an extrajudicial source.”

When Law&Crime reached out to Wood for comment on the ruling, he claimed the bar investigation and media coverage about it is part of a smear campaign against him.

“The Bar found NO probable cause existed for the request for a mental health exam,” Wood responded in an email. “It was just propaganda intended to smear me. Which is exactly [why] you publish.”

Read the opinion, below:

(image via YouTube screengrab)

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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.