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Opinion | Trump’s “Team Kraken” lands in hot water

L. Lin Wood played a major role in the failed legal effort to change the results of the 2020 election on behalf of former President Donald Trump. But Mr. Wood, an attorney, now wants everyone to know that he wasn’t actually involved in the Michigan voting decertification lawsuit, even though his name appears on it.

“I don’t remember being asked specifically about the Michigan complaint,” he said Monday, “but I had generally signaled Sidney Powell that I would certainly be willing or available to help her if she got one Need a trial lawyer without a quote. “You may recall that Ms. Powell is the legal eagle who swore to” release the Kraken “on alleged election fraudsters in 2020, which earned the pro-Trump legal crusade its mythical nickname.

Mr. Wood was just trying to assist his Kraken co-advisor.

Mr. Woods, um, clarifications were made to a federal judge during a hearing as to whether he, Ms. Powell, and several other lawyers should be sanctioned over the Michigan case. The city of Detroit, among other things, has accused the pro-Trump legal team of abusing the judicial system by prosecuting a frivolous, flawed case. The city wants to punish the defaulting lawyers financially and refer to a possible dismissal.

The virtual process on Monday did not bode well for Team Kraken. U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker expressed skepticism that borders on dismay about some of the evidence and experts from the original case. “I think I’ve never seen an affidavit that made so many jumps,” she marveled at one point. “How could any of you as a bailiff produce this affidavit?”

In general, it is not a good sign for a judge to use terms such as “fantastic”, “speculative”, “bad faith”, “obviously questionable” and “layers of hearsay” to characterize their evidence. Judge Parker brushed off Ms. Powell’s allegation that the complaint’s 960 pages of affidavits demonstrated “due diligence” and countered, “Volume, certainly for this court, does not equate to legitimacy or truthfulness.”

The hearing lasted six hours, with so much counter-speech and applause that the court reporter had to ask attendees to tone things down so she could do her job. At the end of the day, all parties had two weeks to make additional arguments.

Mr. Wood wasn’t the only defendant who wanted to downplay his role. Another member of the Michigan Kraken team, Emily Newman’s attorney said his client only spent five hours on the case and that her role was “de minimis”. Generally speaking, the defendants claim that the entire hearing is outrageous and unfounded and – surprise! – that they are wrongly persecuted. “I have been a lawyer for 43 years and have never seen a trial like this,” said Ms. Powell.

But this is where the political and legal paths diverge for those who will perpetuate the election of Mr Trump. The legal community has ethical, professional standards that members are expected to abide by. If they violate these standards, they cannot simply whine or use partisan demagogy to talk their way out of anger. They have to justify their actions in front of judges and professional groups who clearly understand the problems – and who make a living from slick talkers.

This is the situation that Team Kraken and some of Trump’s other legal enablers find themselves in. Michigan is just one of several states that have lawsuits pending against attorneys who prosecuted baseless election fraud complaints. Last month, a New York appeals court suspended the bar license of Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s most aggressive apparatchiks, for “demonstrably false and misleading statements” about the 2020 election. The Texas Bar Association is investigating whether the state attorney general Ken Paxton was guilty of professional misconduct in contesting the election result. The Georgia Attorney General where Mr. Wood’s practice is located is investigating his behavior.

Undoubtedly, the legal system is host to an abundance of carnival screamers and political hacks. Just this week Jenna Ellis, a former Trump campaign legal advisor, announced she was leaving the Republican Party, accusing its leaders of not advocating for Mr. Trump and for “true conservativesShe is particularly angry with Justin Riemer, the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel, who has reportedly spoken badly about her urge to invalidate the 2020 results. “What Rudy and Jenna do is a joke and they are laughed at outside of court,” wrote Riemer in a November email, according to a new book by Michael Wolff. “You are misleading millions of people who wish that the president will somehow win this cause.”

Ms. Ellis has called for the resignation of senior party officials, including Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the RNC, and says she will not return until the party “returns to the Conservatives.”

Such plays may inspire MAGA fans – and especially the former president. However, they are unlikely to influence lawyers or other arbitrators charged with reviewing the conduct of court officials.

Mr Trump’s alternate facts have less of an impact in some areas than others.

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