Federal judge orders pro-Trump lawyers to pay almost $187,000 for their 'abuse of the legal system'
In December 2020, Colorado-based attorneys Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker filed a class-action lawsuit making the false, totally debunked claim that the presidential election had been stolen from then-President Donald Trump — and now, a federal judge is ordering them to pay almost $187,000 to help offset the legal costs of the groups they sued in a meritless lawsuit.
Judge N. Reid Neureiter, according to Washington Post reporter Rosalind S. Helderman, was vehemently critical of Fielder and Walker, saying, "As officers of the court, these attorneys have a higher duty and calling that requires meaningful investigation before prematurely repeating in court pleadings unverified and uninvestigated defamatory rumors that strike at the heart of our democratic system and were used by others to foment a violent insurrection that threatened our system of government. They are experienced lawyers who should have known better. They need to take responsibility for their misconduct."
Fielder and Walker filed their December 2020 lawsuit on behalf of 160 million Trump voters, who they claimed had been wronged by an elaborate plan to steal the election — and those targeted in the lawsuit included Facebook (including founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan), Dominion Voting Systems and elected officials in four states. And Neureiter declared that they needed to pay a financial price for wasting the court's time with so frivolous a lawsuit. Fielder and Walker, according to Helderman, are appealing Neureiter's ruling.
Helderman notes, "Their case was dismissed in April. In August, Neureiter ruled that the attorneys had violated their ethical obligations by filing it in the first place, arguing that the duo had run afoul of legal rules that prohibit clogging the courts with frivolous motions and lodging information in court that is not true. At the time, he called their suit 'the stuff of which violent insurrections are made,' alleging they made little effort to determine the truth of their conspiratorial claims before filing them in court."
Dominion Voting Systems has filed some lawsuits of its own — only Dominion's lawsuits have actual merit.
Following the 2020 election, pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell made the bogus claim that Dominion's voting technology was used to help now-President Joe Biden steal the election from then-President Donald Trump just as it was used by supporters of the late leftist President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Major problem for Powell: Dominion responded that its voting technology was never even used in Venezuela, thus making it physically impossible for Dominion to have helped the Chavez regime in any way. Dominion has sued Powell, Fox News, pro-Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and others for promoting lies and conspiracy theories against the company.
Neureiter declared that Fielder and Walker need to pay a financial price for their frivolous lawsuit, which he described as "an abuse of the legal system and an interference with the machinery of government."
Helderman reports, "Neureiter said the lawyers should pay just over $11,000 to cover the legal fees of the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, both defendants in the suit, a dollar figure the duo had agreed was fair. The two lawyers had balked, however, at far higher fees requested by three other entities: Facebook, Dominion Voting Systems and the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), an election reform advocacy group that has received funding from Zuckerberg and Chan. In a 21-page order (on November 22), Neureiter ordered that Fielder and Walker pay $50,000 to Facebook and $62,930 each to Dominion and CTCL, arguing that billing records submitted by the group showed the fees were reasonable given the prominence of the lawyers who worked on the case and the amount of time they spent."
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