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Dominion, Smartmatic Strike Back: Trump And His Lawyers Face Possible Legal Consequences For Flimsy Election Challenges

Dominion employee Eric Coomer filed a federal lawsuit alleging the Trump campaign and its allies have spread “false and baseless assertions” linking Coomer to the debunked Dominion voter fraud conspiracy, which has “invaded [Coomer’s] privacy, threatened his security, and fundamentally defamed his reputation across this country.”

Dominion has also threatened to take legal action as a company against GOP figures—namely Powell, who’s primarily responsible for spreading the conspiracy theory—and voting company Smartmatic has made its own legal threats over similar baseless fraud allegations, leading right-wing news networks to publicly walk back their own claims.


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the city of Detroit are seeking sanctions against Powell and other attorneys involved in failed lawsuits alleging widespread fraud, which Detroit said in a court filing are “devoid of any factual or legal merit” and aim to “damage democracy.”

The NAACP sued President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee for allegedly violating the Voting Rights Act and Ku Klux Klan Act through Trump’s post-election efforts, which they argue tried to disenfranchise voters of color, and want the court to block Trump and the RNC from engaging in any subsequent post-election efforts like recounts without court approval.

Conservative attorney Lin Wood, who has joined Powell’s lawsuits and led his own legal challenges, may be removed from representing former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page in an unrelated Delaware lawsuit, because the judge believes Wood’s post-election lawsuits may violate Delaware’s code of conduct for attorneys.

A judge in Arizona suggested in a court filing that the state’s Republican Party could face sanctions for appearing to have “constructive knowledge, at least, of facts that contradicted the allegations” in one of their post-election lawsuits.

TANGENT

In addition to the formal legal consequences being pursued in court, more than 1,500 lawyers have encouraged the American Bar Association to investigate the Trump campaign’s legal team, and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) has filed ethics complaints in five states seeking to have Giuliani and 22 other Trump-affiliated attorneys disbarred for their participation in the post-election legal efforts. Attorneys in Arizona have also sent ethics complaints to the state bar regarding lawyers involved in GOP lawsuits in the state.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

It’s likely that additional requests for sanctions may be brought as court challenges continue to play out, and both the Trump campaign and Powell have appealed their legal fights to the U.S. Supreme Court in recent days. Legal experts previously told Forbes that it’s entirely possible courts will sanction Trump-affiliated attorneys like Powell in response to the mounting requests for them to do so, with Bruce Green of Fordham Law School’s Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics saying “there seems to be a pretty compelling argument for punishing” the attorneys. BuzzFeed News notes that it’s possible there could also be ongoing state bar investigations into Trump-related attorneys, as those investigations are typically not made public unless a punishment is actually brought. While conservative news networks like Newsmax and Fox News have shown signs of backing off their claims amid the legal threats, the president has not yet shown any signs that he will end his baseless accusations of fraud and attempts to overturn the election, and continued to push unfounded allegations of election fraud on Twitter Tuesday.

KEY BACKGROUND

Trump and his allies filed a deluge of lawsuits in the wake of the November election that sought to overturn the election results in key battleground states Biden won, which resulted in nearly 60 court losses and only one minor win. The GOP’s litigation has been widely dismissed as meritless by legal experts, and their lawsuits—particularly those filed by Powell—have been derided for widespread errors that range from minor typos to major factual issues, including mixing up states, making allegations about counties that don’t exist and naming plaintiffs who had not agreed to sign on to the lawsuit.

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