A lawyer for attorney Lin Wood late Thursday fought back against a move for additional sanctions against the conservative legal crusader.
A federal judge last week asked Wood to argue why he should not be sanctioned for sharing video of his previous sanctions hearing to an online audience. The previous underlying sanctions hearing was connected to the merits of the so-called Michigan “Kraken” litigation which sought to prove that former president Donald Trump won the 2020 election and that Joe Biden did not. Though the underlying sanctions hearing was made available online by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Judge Linda V. Parker, a Barack Obama appointee, did not allow the hearing to be “broadcast” by anyone other than the court, and no one watching the hearing was supposed to record it or otherwise transmit it. An order by Parker laid out the parameters for those in virtual attendance: “[t]aking photographs or video recordings in connection with any Judicial Proceeding . . . and the recording or broadcasting of Judicial Proceedings by radio or television or other means is prohibited.”
As Law&Crime first reported shortly after the underlying hearing concluded, Wood shared a link on his Telegram account to a recording which showed a portion of the hearing. The link allowed those viewing Wood’s Telegram feed to click a “play” button and to watch the embedded recording without jumping to another site which actually hosted the surreptitious recording.
Judge Parker demanded answers, and Paul J. Stablein, Wood’s attorney, provided 20 pages worth of explanations and legal arguments on Thursday.
Stablein’s arguments were several fold. First, Stablein argued that Wood has never practiced in the Eastern District of Michigan and therefore cannot be sanctioned by that court. Second, Stablein argued that Wood did not “broadcast” the earlier sanctions hearing in the manner contemplated by the law.
“Mr. Wood is not a member of the bar of this court,” Stablein said as to the first prong of the argument. “He never sought admission, never paid the fee, never completed the application, and never provided the clerk with a certificate of good standing from another bar. In addition, Mr. Wood has never held himself out as being authorized to practice in this court as allowed under the provision of [a local court rule].”
Stablein expounded at length (legal citations omitted):
At the hearing conducted on July 12, 2021, it was clear that Mr. Wood had never subjected himself to the jurisdiction of this Court, because he did not participate in any fashion with the preparing and filing of the complaint or amended complaint as alleged by the Plaintiffs in this matter. During the hearing, Mr. Wood stated to the Court, “I’m just – I’m here because your Honor warned me to be here, but I’m here subject to my defense that I just don’t think there’s any personal jurisdiction over me because I didn’t do anything in Michigan. I didn’t do anything with respect to this lawsuit.” Further, Mr. Wood specifically stated that he was appearing that day, but that his appearance should be construed as submitting to the Court’s jurisdiction. He stated, “What I wanted to make it clear is, as I said at the beginning, that I’m appearing subject to my Defense that I’m not subject to the jurisdiction of the Court personally or by having appeared in the case.”
Additionally, Mr. Wood’s position was supported by the statement of the attorney who did represent the Plaintiffs, Sidney Powell. She stated in closing, “I take full responsibility myself for the pleadings in this case. Ms. Newman, Mr. Wood, Mr. Johnson, and local counsel had no role whatsoever in the drafting and content of these complaints. It was my responsibility and Mr. Kleinhendler’s, not theirs.” Therefore, Mr. Wood did not appear or practice in this court and has specifically reserved his right to argue the Court’s lack of jurisdiction over him.
Stablein also argued that Wood’s name appeared on the much-ballyhooed “Kraken” brief without permission (again, citations omitted):
Though Mr. Wood’s name “appears” on the initial complaint and the amended complaint, he did not place his name there, nor did he authorize any of the other attorneys to use his name. The signature pages of the complaint and amended complaint are electronically signed by Sidney Powell, Scott Hagerstrom and Gregory Rohl. An electronic signature is designated by the notation, prior to the attorney’s name and on the signature line, “/s/.” Mr. Wood’s is not. It is not, because Mr. Wood did not sign the pleadings. His name and address are listed, but the documents do not even carry the customary signature line above Mr. Wood’s name. Finally, the pleadings do not even carry Mr. Wood’s email address which is a requirement when filing an appearance with the Court. Mr. Wood cannot be held to have practiced in this court or to be a member of this bar when he did not sign the pleadings nor authorize anyone else to sign for him. Therefore, this Honorable Court does not have the authority to impose discipline on an attorney who is not before the court in any capacity.
The subject of exactly who is responsible for filing the original Michigan “Kraken” lawsuit has been much debated.
Each federal civil complaint must contain a legally required signature block. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the signature block “must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s name—or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented.” It must also contain “the signer’s address, e-mail address, and telephone number.”
The original complaint’s signature block contained the name and the electronic signature of Texas attorney Sidney Powell, but it did not contain Powell’s address, email address, or telephone number as the federal rules require. Michigan attorneys Scott Hagerstrom of Lansing and Gregory J. Rohl of Novi also appeared. Their electronic signatures, names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers were all listed. The names of attorneys Emily P. Newman of the Virginia bar, Julia Z. Haller of the Washington, D.C. bar, Howard Kleinhendler of New York, and Wood are all listed as being “of counsel.”
An amended complaint contained all of the aforementioned names but added the name of attorney Brandon Johnson of the D.C. bar.
Many of the subsequent documents do not bear Wood’s name at all. Powell has since argued that she didn’t sign the documents.
Wood’s argument continued by rubbishing the notion that he “broadcast” the proceedings. His attorney noted that the local rule which bans “broadcasting” did not actually define “broadcasting.” Again, from the arguments:
“Merriam Webster’s current unabridged online dictionary defines “broadcasting” as follows: “Broadcast: Verb 3: to send out or transmit (something, such as a program) by means of radio or television or by streaming over the Internet.” Mr. Wood did not “broadcast” any part of the hearing by streaming over the internet.
Wood’s attorney then narrowly defined the term by noting that Wood did not bring “a device within the courthouse” to record or transmit the proceedings.
Then came the full-on assault on the nature of Wood’s sharing of link to a surreptitiously recorded (and almost certainly impermissible) clip from the proceeding:
The question becomes whether directing others to a website that has retained a recording of a previously sanctioned live broadcast falls within the ambit of the rule. If the rule is read in its proper context, it does not. Mr. Wood did not broadcast the proceeding. He was told, through a post from another entity, that a recording existed. He did not make it, he did not authorize its making and he did not acquire himself a copy of it. He merely provided an address where, if others wanted to view the snippet of Sidney Powell’s statements, they could go to a particular place and look for themselves. It is not as if he invited someone into his own home and showed what he had to others there. In essence, he was told, “Red Voice Media has a copy of what was broadcast earlier today on the internet. Go to that place, if you so choose, and they will play it for you.” He relayed the address, but he did not broadcast a judicial proceeding. This Honorable Court should dismiss the show cause.
“Mr. Wood did not post a video snippet” of the proceeding, the brief elsewhere says in a paragraph which took exception to Law&Crime Senior Investigative Reporter Adam Klasfeld’s original report on the incident, which was cited in the motion seeking a second round of sanctions. Before Judge Parker demanded a response from Wood, attorneys for Wood and a collection of the other “Kraken” attorneys sought an emergency order from the court to make the video of the proceeding public — a move that may have rendered moot the defendants’ move for sanctions re: Wood’s post about the video. Parker denied that motion the same day it was filed.
The judge has yet to issue any sanctions decision in connection with the Michigan “Kraken” case.
Read Wood’s entire response brief below:
[image via YouTube screengrab]
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