Skip to main content

Top Michigan Officials File Complaints Seeking Disbarment of Sidney Powell and Her ‘Kraken’ Team


This photograph of Sidney Powell at the so-called “Stop the Steal” rally broadcast on NTD is embedded in Dominion’s lawsuit.

The list of Michiganders seeking right-wing lawyer Sidney Powell’s disbarment grew in size and clout on Monday with razor-sharp swipes from the Wolverine State’s top officials: Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Each of them filed complaints seeking to take away Powell’s law license.

The three leaders, all Democrats, also filed similar complaints against Powell’s co-counsel Greg Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom and Stefanie Junttila.

“These attorneys filed a complaint based on falsehoods, used their law license in an attempt to disenfranchise Michigan voters and undermine the faith of the public in the legitimacy of the recent presidential election, and lent credence to untruths that led to violence and unrest,” Nessel said in a statement. “In doing so, they violated their oath and the ethical rules to which they are bound, abused the court system, and compromised the administration of justice — an important foundation of our civil society and the very bulwark of our democratic institutions. Anything short of disbarment would be an injustice to the American people.”

The Michigan leaders filed their complaints with the Attorney Grievance Commission of the State of Michigan and the State Bar of Texas, quoting the words of the Lone Star State’s highest court calling for attorneys to honor their “obligation to maintain confidence in our judicial system.”

“As the words of these courts demonstrate, a license to practice law is more than just permission to practice one’s chosen profession,” the complaint states. “It is a grave responsibility—one that requires attorneys to use the immense power of the law only within the confines of the highest ethical standards. An attorney who misuses that power can imperil fortunes, endanger liberties, and jeopardize lives. And as an officer of the court, an attorney who abuses the court system places in peril the very administration of justice that we cherish and depend on.”

Michigan was one of four states where Powell and her peers filed their so-called “Kraken” lawsuits, so-named after the mythical, octopus-like creature depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster Clash of the Titans. The monster was easily slain both in the movies—and in the courts.

“Although Ms. Powell’s attempt inevitably failed, it served a second, more sinister purpose—one that is not easily remedied, even by the court’s dismissal of baseless legal claims: it cast unwarranted doubt on the results of Michigan’s free and fair elections,” the bar complaint says. “Indeed, it undermined the faith of millions of Americans in our democracy and the legitimacy of our President.”

The city of Detroit recently blamed Powell and her most famous co-counsel for the bloodshed from the Capitol insurrection: “Let there be no mistake, there is blood on Lin Wood and Sidney Powell’s hands and on the hands of all those who pushed this lawsuit.”

Agreeing with the city, the state officials added: “Here, a direct line can be drawn from the fabrications of Ms. Powell and her associates to the unprecedented insurrection at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on January 6 that sought to topple our national government.”

“Thankfully, they did not culminate in the dismantling of our national government,” the complaint said later. “But they did force Congress to delay the certification, cause serious property damage, and contribute to the death of seven people, including two U.S. Capitol Police officers and a D.C. Police officer. And regrettably, they end our nation’s 220-year uninterrupted streak of peaceful transfers of presidential power.”

The Michigan leaders claim Powell violated Rules 3.01, 3.03(a)(1) and 8.04 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibit frivolous complaints, false statements to a tribunal, and the use of fraud or deceit.

All three letters end: “Ms. Powell is unfit to practice law and should be disbarred,” with similar complaints being sent to the Michigan bar against Powell’s associates.

In an email, Powell appeared to liken herself to Atticus Finch, the famed lawyer of U.S. fiction.

“Please read ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,'” Powell wrote. “Lawyers have an ethical obligation to raise important issues and represent unpopular causes.”

Harper Lee’s courtroom drama, a towering American novel, inspired countless attorneys and other readers with a fictional civil rights battle where Finch takes up the cause of a Black man falsely accused of rape in a fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Through the court case, Lee explores the bigotries and insularity of the rural South well before the Civil Rights Era, with thinly veiled nods to the author’s own upbringing. The novel’s title comes from Finch’s lesson to his daughter, Scout, about the sin of killing those delicate winged creatures, standing in as a metaphor for the helpless, powerless, and disenfranchised.

The cause of ex-President Donald Trump and his allies involved attempting to overturn lawful elections in multiple states, with a pattern of seeking to invalidate votes in counties where the majority of Black people live.

Read the complaints against her below:

(Screenshot from Dominion lawsuit)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

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."