Judge Grills Lawyers On Thin Election Fraud Claims At Michigan Hearing On Possible Sanctions

Judge Grills Lawyers On Thin Election Fraud Claims At Michigan Hearing On Possible Sanctions

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(CNN)A judge in Michigan pinned down lawyers in a marathon video court hearing Monday on whether they had done due diligence before filing election fraud claims in federal court in November. The grilling came in a hearing over whether the Trump-supporting lawyers should be penalized — with the possible consequence of losing their law licenses — following their lawsuit to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Much of the six-hour hearing hinged on Judge Linda Parker’s line-by-line questioning about broad claims the lawyers had made alleging fraud and about sworn statements they had submitted to court from supposed witnesses speculating about ballot malfeasance, sometimes based on second- and third-hand chatter.

Ultimately the hearing became a painstaking recounting of the thinness of the claims supporting election fraud, and it came as former President Donald Trump has continued to repeat lies about the election’s result and, in recent days, has rallied fellow Republicans around his claims.

    Several state and national officials have verified the security of the 2020 presidential election and the integrity of its result: that Trump lost multiple swing states, including Michigan.

      The judge on Monday repeatedly asked how much work the lawyers had done to verify the fraud claims. In response, several argued that they did not need to do that, if the witnesses believed that what they were saying was true. Fact-finding could be done during the course of the lawsuit, the attorneys who filed it argued.

        At one point, Parker, sitting in the Eastern District of Michigan, asked the nine lawyers who took part in bringing the lawsuit if they had ever followed up to learn if any of their so-called witnessed actually saw a vote being changed.

        No one responded. “Let the record reflect,” Parker responded, noting their silence.

          “There has to be a minimal belief on the part of counsel that these … are rooted in fact,” Parker said. “Every lawyer has a duty” to do minimal research to verify evidence presented in court, the judge added.

          Releasing the Kraken

          Dozens of lawsuits after Trump’s election loss pushed unfounded claims of fraud, seeking overturn Joe Biden’s win.

          The lawsuits — and especially the case in Michigan — were an early, major attempt by Trump to claim the presidential election result in November was illegitimate. His team and supporters — at times represented by right-wing personalities Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and others — lost all of their attempts in court to gain traction on voter fraud.

          More than a dozen lawyers appeared at the hearing Monday after the judge scheduled it to determine whether they had brought a frivolous case or made false claims. Possible consequences of the judge making that determination or referring the matter for further disciplinary proceedings include the attorneys losing their ability to practice law.

          The lawyers, including Powell and Lin Wood, had branded their effort as r

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