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Michigan Judge Refuses to Allow Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and Other ‘Kraken’ Attorneys to Skip Sanctions Hearing

Sidney Powell and Lin Wood

Right-wing attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood at the so-called Stop the Steal rally.

Mere hours after lawyers for the so-called “Kraken” litigation to overturn the 2020 presidential election asked to skip attending an upcoming sanctions hearing, a federal judge in Michigan refused to budge from her earlier order.

Those “Kraken” lawyers must personally attend those proceedings via Zoom.

One of the most visible efforts to torpedo the 2020 presidential election results, the “Kraken” team is the name given by pro-Donald Trump lawyer Sidney Powell to lawsuits meant to overturn President Joe Biden’s victories in Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia. The emphatic failure of that heady and multi-armed legal offensive has left a hangover—with potential serious consequences—for every lawyer who participated in it. The State of Michigan and the City of Detroit have requested heavy sanctions for the “Kraken” lawyers, up to their referral for disbarment proceedings.

Scheduling a hearing to consider those motions, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker wrote a terse order last month: “Each attorney whose name appears on any of Plaintiffs’ pleadings or briefs shall be present at the motions hearing.”

Originally scheduled for last week, Judge Parker pushed the hearing back two weeks to accommodate the July 4th vacation plans of one of the lawyers, Stefanie Junttila. After Junttila won that brief allowance, her colleagues Powell, Lin Wood, Scott Hagerstrom, Julia Haller, Brandon Johnson, Howard Kleinhendler, and Gregory Rohl sought to avoid appearing entirely, other than through their lawyer.

“Since the Court entered that order, however, Movants retained counsel,” their lawyer Donald Campbell wrote in a motion on Wednesday. “They therefore ask the Court to indicate whether they may appear via counsel.”

Judge Parker rejected the request without fanfare hours later via in a minute order which proclaimed the request was “DENIED.”

In December, Judge Parker was similarly straightforward in rejecting those lawyers’ requests to overturn the election results in Michigan.

“Plaintiffs ask this court to ignore the orderly statutory scheme established to challenge elections and to ignore the will of millions of voters,” she wrote in a ruling late last year. “This, the Court cannot, and will not, do.”

“The People have spoken,” she added.

At the heart of the Michigan “Kraken” lawsuit—filed in the names of six Michigan residents, led by Timothy King—was an idea that the judge found antagonistic to the nation’s democratic experiment. The lawsuit, King v. Whitmer, took the names of that plaintiff resident and of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

“The right to vote is among the most sacred rights of our democracy and, in turn, uniquely defines us as Americans,” Parker’s 36-page opinion stated. “The struggle to achieve the right to vote is one that has been both hard fought and cherished throughout our country’s history. Local, state, and federal elections give voice to this right through the ballot. And elections that count each vote celebrate and secure this cherished right.”

Detroit’s lawyer David Fink accused lawyers for the “Kraken” team of “lies,” “unhinged conspiracy theories,” and “fraud on the court.”

The “Kraken” in strict parlance is a mythical, octopus-like monster.  It received the Hollywood treatment in various iterations over the years under the name “Clash of the Titans.” The creature was quickly slain in the movies — and in the courts.

The sanctions hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 13.

[Image via YouTube screengrab]

[Editor’s note:  this piece has been updated to correct an error.  It accidentally said Detroit was Michigan’s capital city.  The state capital is, of course, Lansing.]

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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."