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After Blistering Ruling Put Law Licenses in Danger, ‘Kraken’ Lawyers Could Be on the Hook for More Than $200,000 in Legal Fees


Lin Wood and Sidney Powell

Some two weeks after a federal judge granted sanctions that could put their law licenses on the line, so-called “Kraken” lawyers Lin Wood, Sidney Powell and their seven associates could be on the hook for more than $200,000 in attorneys’ fee sanctions.

On Aug. 25, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker issued a furious ruling against the lawyers associated with the so-called “Kraken” litigation, a series of lawsuits seeking to topple election results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona.

The shorthand for the litigation comes from Powell’s remark at a press conference: “Release the Kraken,” an allusion to the octopus-like monster from mythology dramatized in the Hollywood blockbuster “Clash of the Titans.”

Like the creature of the movies, Powell’s legal beast was quickly slain—with an ongoing fallout for its creators.

Judge Parker referred all nine lawyers associated with the Michigan lawsuit, King v. Whitmer, to their bar associations for “possible suspension or disbarment” and ordered them to pay reasonable attorneys’ fees to their opposing counsel.

What that financial penalty might amount to came into view on Wednesday evening.

The city of Detroit’s lawyer David Fink, the managing partner for Fink Bressack (FB) who spearheaded the sanctions motion, noted that he gave the city a discounted rate of $325 per hour for all partners, a rate “substantially lower” than what his firm charges on most litigation matters.

Fink, who served the city’s law department before entering his private practice, gave his old employer an additional 10-percent discount from there.

“From the outset, it was clear that this litigation would require immediate attention and substantial time from FB partners, including its senior partner,” Fink noted in an affidavit. “The hourly rate was established considering the specialized nature of the issues involved. The rate was also established considering that, unlike some municipal work, it was clear that the majority of the work would be done by the most senior attorneys. Finally, the rate was affected by the likelihood of unanticipated and unique arguments that might be (and were) made during the pendency of the litigation.”

By far, the biggest expense came from preparing arguments from the extensive time needed to prepare sanctions motions, for which his firm is billing $116,116. Billing records for the trial court matters added up to $39,999 and appellate court wrangling tacked on additional $26,077.

In filing a Rule 11 sanctions motion to punish the “Kraken” team, Detroit opted for a far more aggressive counterattack than states and municipalities around the country in deflecting the post-election litigation onslaught by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

In her 110-page ruling, Judge Parker found that request wholly justified, and Fink previously explained to Law&Crime why his firm opted for that approach.

“The City of Detroit was determined enough to look to the future and say, ‘If we just let these folks dismiss this case and walk away, they’re just going to come back and do it again,’” Fink told Law&Crime in a phone interview on the night of the ruling. “Somebody has to stop and say, ‘This has to stop.’ So when the city moved forward with this, there was some risk to it—and certainly some cost. But in the end, the city’s completely vindicated, and they will actually recover some of the costs, recoup some of the costs that they were forced to expend in defending the case.”

Attorneys for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) did not file a Rule 11 sanctions motion or hire private counsel, and their billing statement reflects that. They requested $21,964.75 in attorneys’ fees.

The relatively modest legal fees could amount to a fraction of the “Kraken” team’s fundraising from efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Weeks before the ruling, the organizers of the so-called Arizona “forensic audit” released information about their donors. Some $550,000 came from Powell’s entity Defending the Republic, a fact that Fink previously described as an example of the “cross-pollination of extremist funds” in an interview with Law&Crime.

Listen to Detroit’s lawyer David Fink on Law&Crime’s podcast “Objections”:

[Screenshot of Wood via WSB-TV; Photo of Powell via Fox News Channel/YouTube]

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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 NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."