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Wisconsin Governor Tells Judge to Sanction Sidney Powell without Re-Litigating Her ‘Mish-Mash Mess’ of a Lawsuit


Gov. Tony Evers on PBS

Facing down a billion-dollar lawsuit from Dominion, multiple sanctions motions, and bar complaints, lawyer Sidney Powell asked a federal judge last month to set up an evidentiary hearing in Wisconsin on election-fraud claims that were rejected by every court that heard them. Lawyers for Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) depicted that gambit as unnecessary and desperate in a new legal brief asking the judge to sanction her without all the fuss.

“The motion is not a vehicle for re-litigating this court’s numerous rationales for dismissing the amended complaint,” the governor’s lawyer Jeffrey A. Mandell wrote in an eight-page brief on Wednesday. “Nor is it a request for a guided tour through the scattershot of supposed evidence that they flung at the wall here, in the vain hope that something would stick, or even leave a mark. The question at the heart of Governor Evers’s motion for fees is whether their lawsuit was filed in a proper way for a proper purpose. It was not.”

U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper, who presided over Powell’s case, dismissed the lawsuit last December in a ruling characterizing it as an attempt to achieve through the judiciary what Donald Trump’s supporters could not through the ballot.

“Federal judges do not appoint the president in this country,” Pepper wrote in 45-page ruling late last year. “One wonders why the plaintiffs came to federal court and asked a federal judge to do so. After a week of sometimes odd and often harried litigation, the court is no closer to answering the ‘why.’ But this federal court has no authority or jurisdiction to grant the relief the remaining plaintiff seeks.”

Filed on behalf of would-be Trump elector William Sheehan, Powell’s team misspelled their lead plaintiff’s name as “Meehan,” but they insisted that their complaint could have been a winner if Judge Pepper only allowed the case to reach the merits.

Scoffing at that proposition, Gov. Evers noted that Powell’s theories rely on a supposed plot by Dominion voting machines to install Joe Biden as president through electoral shenanigans across the country, including in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee and Dane counties. One of the holes with that hypothesis is neither of those counties used Dominion technology, the governor said.

“The amended complaint was a mish-mash mess,” the governor’s brief states.

Feehan, Powell and the other lawyers “may now insist that the amended complaint was well pleaded, but their ipse dixit does not make it so,” it continues, using the Latin for their say-so.

Styling her lawsuits as the “Kraken” — named after the mythical creature given the Hollywood treatment as the octopus-like monster slain in “Clash of the Titans” — Powell had a legal team with many arms. Few of its other representatives have responded to the sanctions motions, and Gov. Evers says that this puts them on the hook for legal fees, too.

“By failing to file any response or associate themselves with any filed response within the relevant time allotted, Julia Z. Haller, Brandon Johnson, Emily P. Newman, and L. Lin Wood have conceded that the Court can impose fees against them and that Governor Evers’s fee request is reasonable,” the brief states.

Rattling off “egregious” highlights of Powell and Feehan’s complaint, the governor’s brief states that they advanced a “wild conspiracy theory” to argue the judge should “unilaterally and counterfactually” declare Trump won Wisconsin. They waited a month after the election to file suit and included a supposed plaintiff who disclaimed any knowledge of a lawsuit filed in his name. The Washington Post identified two of their anonymous “expert” witnesses and reported that their declarations appeared to include false statements, and the judge found that they appear to have “made up” a quotation by her colleague.

Read Gov. Evers’ brief here.

[Image via PBS screengrab]

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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."