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Conservative Lawyer Who Saved Madison Cawthorn from ‘Insurrection’ Challenge of Candidacy Sues Client for Not Paying Legal Bills

Madison Cawthorn

Madison Cawthorn

Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), the embattled incumbent pro-Trump North Carolina congressman, is now facing a new legal challenge, courtesy of some of his fiercest defenders.

Cawthorn’s own lawyers sued him in federal court on Dec. 1 for $193,296.85 in unpaid legal fees and costs. The plaintiff, the Bopp Law Firm, represented Cawthorn in a lawsuit that challenged his candidacy based on Cawthorn’s involvement in the “Stop the Steal” rally that immediately preceded the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Plaintiffs in the “insurrection” challenge case had argued that the congressman should be barred from office given 14th Amendment language intended to prevent former Confederate soldiers from returning to Congress after the Civil War [emphasis ours]:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

At the time, Cawthorn’s attorney James Bopp — a conservative lawyer of Citizens United fame — told Law&Crime that the plaintiffs’ argument was a “ridiculous comparison that distorts what insurrection and rebellion means and in effect, spits on the grave of all of those Civil War soldiers, some 600,000, who were killed during that actual insurrection and rebellion.”

Ultimately, Bopp secured a victory for Cawthorn when a Trump-appointed judge ruled to prevented the North Carolina State Board of Election from looking into whether Cawthorn should be on the ballot for the 2022 Primary in May. Cawthorn went on to lose that primary election to Republican challenger Chuck Edwards. Cawthorn responded to his loss by railing against Edwards and posting online that, “The time for genteel politics as usual has come to an end.”

“It’s time for the rise of the new right, it’s time for Dark MAGA to truly take command,” Cawthorn promised after his concession.

Bopp’s legal action against Cawthorn is straightforward. The 10-page document alleges that Cawthorn contracted with the firm, that the firm provided legal services as agreed, and that Cawthorn simply failed to pay his bills. The lawsuit said that Cawthorn had also agreed pay lawyers Jeffrey P. Gallant and Melena Siebert for their services.

In an email to Law&Crime on Friday, Bopp said, “Congressman Cawthorn has contacted me this week and promised to pay the fees. I expect to reach an agreement with him on this shortly.”

Cawthorn’s public service has been plagued by lawsuits and scandals. Earlier in December, Cawthorn was fined $15,000 for improper promotion of a cryptocurrency that sponsored “Let’s Go Brandon” coins, in which Cawthorn failed to disclose his interest.

Last April, Cawthorn was issued a citation for attempting to bring a loaded gun through TSA at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Cawthorn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Screengrab via YouTube]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos