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Pro-Trump lawyers face $200,000 legal bill for 'frivolous' election case

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Attorney Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Michigan officials on Wednesday demanded that lawyers who unsuccessfully sued to overturn former President Donald Trump's election defeat in the state pay about $200,000 to reimburse for legal fees and related costs.

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker ruled last month that state and local election officials in Michigan were entitled to reimbursement of their legal fees, but has not yet determined the exact amount. The judge will now review the $200,000 request to determine if it is reasonable.

Most of the $200,000 was requested by the City of Detroit, which spent about $180,000 on a private law firm in the case. The office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked for about $20,000.

Parker ordered the repayment as part of sanctions against the lawyers who included Sidney Powell, a former campaign lawyer for Trump, and prominent litigator Lin Wood.

The Trump lawyers sued in Michigan last year to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory over Trump. Parker suggested they might deserve to lose their law licenses.

Parker said in her Aug. 25 ruling that the pro-Trump lawyers should have investigated the Republican former president's voter fraud claims more carefully before filing what Parker called a "frivolous" lawsuit.

Parker, who dismissed the Michigan suit in December, formally requested that disciplinary bodies investigate whether the pro-Trump lawyers should have their law licenses revoked. The judge also ordered the lawyers to attend classes on the ethical and legal requirements for filing legal claims.

"This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," Parker said in her decision, adding that the case "was never about fraud - it was about undermining the People's faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so."

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe;Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Stephen Coates)