A federal judge in Michigan has denied the request by pro-Trump lawyers known as the “Kraken” to release video from a contentious, six-hour July 12 hearing over whether those lawyers should be sanctioned.
“The Court in fact threw the virtual doors to the July 12 proceeding wide open—far wider than could have been accommodated had the hearing been conducted in person,” U.S. District Judge Linda Parker wrote in an order Wednesday. “As counsel notes in the motion, more than 13,000 people watched live, ‘viewing the proceedings just as they were conducted.’”
Seven attorneys are facing serious sanctions—up to and potentially including referral for disbarment—over their participation in litigation to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden. The lawyers were led by prominent pro-Trump attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, who became the faces of what became known as the “Kraken.” But Wood said he played no role in the drafting of the complaint (that was Howard Kleinhendler). In addition, Wood said he didn’t know his name would be included on the complaint, but Powell answered that she would not have knowingly added Wood’s name without authorization.
“Might there have been a misunderstanding?” she asked. “That’s certainly possible.”
But they apparently overpromised and underdelivered: the multistate litigation effort failed at every level. Now, in Michigan, the attorney general and city of Detroit are seeking accountability in the form of sanctions. During the sanctions hearing, Parker expressed concern that the lawyers submitted affidavits in bad faith, calling some of the documents “fantastical” and “total speculation.”
Attorneys for Wood, Powell, and the rest of the Kraken team filed the emergency motion for the release of the recording on Wednesday, indicating that Democratic intervenors, specifically the city of Detroit, are lying about what happened during the hearing.
Much of the motion referred not to legal proceedings and argument, but to the general public’s understanding of the hearing based on media reports.
“Intervenors have made claims about the hearing that, in plaintiffs’ view, are false,” said the Kraken team’s motion signed by attorney Donald Campbell, later adding: “Most [media] outlets presented a narrative that counsel for plaintiffs believe to be incorrect. Those characterizations may change if the Court republishes the video and allows others to view it.”
The lawyers acknowledge that “the recording is no longer available on the Court’s website. Consequently, counsel is unable to refute what they believe to be public mischaracterizations … There was a lot of “spirit” in the hearing in this court, which the public should be able to experience in its entirety—enabling citizens to draw their own inferences from the presentations instead of depending on media presentations.”
The Kraken lawyers closed out the request by insisting that “no one has any valid basis to oppose such transparency of an important hearing that has already been held in public view.”
Notably, the lawyers acknowledged that “[v]ery short clips of it have appeared in myriad places on Telegram,” where attorney Wood himself posted someone’s recording of a portion of the proceeding, despite Parker’s orders. (Law&Crime’s story on Wood’s posting of the video was an exhibit to a subsequent motion calling for Wood to be held in contempt for violating the court’s order.)
Parker issued the order denying the Kraken team’s request just hours later. Campbell represents Powell, Wood, and their co-counsel Stefanie Junttila, Scott Hagerstrom, Julia Haller, Brandon Johnson, Howard Kleinhendler, and Gregory Rohl.
As to the attorneys’ argument that they need the video in order to prepare a supplemental brief, Parker expressed faith that the lawyers could manage just fine without the video, saying that “attorneys routinely prepare such briefs following a hearing without video or audio recordings of the proceedings and often without a transcript.”
Read the request to release the video, and Parker’s order, below.
(Screenshot of Wood via WSB-TV; Photo of Powell via Fox News Channel/YouTube)
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