Conspiracy Theories

The Court Order Approving Sanctions Against Sidney Powell Shows How Hastily She Assembled Her Kraken

A federal judge concluded that Powell and eight other pro-Trump lawyers who challenged Michigan's election results made frivolous arguments and treated evidence recklessly.

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A federal judge in Michigan yesterday ordered sanctions against Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and seven other pro-Trump attorneys who were involved in a lawsuit that sought to overturn the presidential election results in that state. U.S. District Judge Linda Parker, who dismissed that lawsuit on December 7, ordered Powell et al. to pay the legal expenses of the defendants and all but one intervenor. She also is requiring the nine attorneys to complete at least 12 hours of continuing legal education and "referring the matter for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment" to the "appropriate disciplinary authority" in each jurisdiction where they practice law.

When Powell et al. painted a picture of systematic election fraud that supposedly denied Donald Trump his rightful victory in Michigan, Parker concludes in a 110-page opinion, they filed their claims too late, made frivolous legal arguments, maintained the lawsuit long after it was clear that no remedy they sought was possible, and presented purported evidence without inquiring into its reliability or relevance. "This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," Parker writes. "It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election. It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here."

Powell was publicly alleging rampant election fraud even before the polls closed. But she waited until 11:48 p.m. on the night before Thanksgiving, more than three weeks after Election Day, to file her lawsuit.

"Plaintiffs' attorneys waited until after votes were tallied to file this lawsuit, even though the record suggests that—well in advance of Election Day—they knew or should have known about the things of which they complained," Parker writes. "This game of wait-and-see shows that counsel planned to challenge the legitimacy of the election if and only if Former President Trump lost. And if that happened, they would help foster a predetermined narrative making election fraud the culprit. These things—separately, but especially collectively—evince bad faith and improper purpose in bringing this suit."

Parker says Powell and the other lawyers should have known their claims had no chance of succeeding. "At the inception of this lawsuit, all of Plaintiffs' claims were barred by the doctrines of mootness, laches, and standing, as well as Eleventh Amendment immunity," she writes. "Plaintiffs' attorneys did not provide a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law to render their claims ripe or timely, to grant them standing, or to avoid Eleventh Amendment immunity. The same can be said for Plaintiffs' claims under the Elections and Electors, Equal Protection, and Due Process Clauses, and the alleged violations of the Michigan Election Code."

In short, Parker says, the plaintiffs did not cite any plausible legal basis for the main remedy they sought: decertification of Michigan's election results. That failure, she concludes, violated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—specifically, Rule 11(b), which requires that lawyers' make a "reasonable" effort to ensure that their "claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law."

Powell et al. did not withdraw their lawsuit until January 14, more than five weeks after they said it would be moot and a month after Michigan's electors cast their votes. "By failing to voluntarily dismiss this lawsuit on the date Plaintiffs' counsel acknowledged it would be moot and thereby necessitating the filing of motions to dismiss," Parker says, "Plaintiffs' attorneys unreasonably and vexatiously multiplied the proceedings," thereby violating 28 USC 1927.

Parker also concludes that Powell et al. violated Rule 11(b) by failing to conduct "an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances" into the evidence they presented, which consisted largely of affidavits lifted from unsuccessful prior lawsuits. Attorneys are supposed to make an effort to ensure that their "factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery."

These examples illustrate how reckless Powell and her collaborators were with the hundreds of pages they submitted to back up their claims—evidence that Powell likened to a "kraken" and a "fire hose."

The Military Intelligence Analyst Who Wasn't

Joshua Merritt, an affiant presented as a "U.S. Military Intelligence expert" and "a former electronic intelligence analyst with 305th Military Intelligence," had never completed training in military intelligence—a fact that The Washington Post revealed on December 11. "Even after learning that Merritt never completed any intelligence analyst training program with the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion," Parker notes, "Plaintiffs' counsel remained silent as to this fact."

During the six-hour July 12 hearing at which Parker considered the arguments for sanctions against Powell et al., attorney Howard Kleinhendler argued that Merritt's "expertise" was based not on his purported training as a military intelligence analyst but on "his years and years of experience in cyber security as a confidential informant working for the United States Government." Parker did not buy that. "Clearly this is dishonest," she says, since "it was precisely Merritt's experience as 'an electronic intelligence analyst under 305th Military Intelligence' that Plaintiffs' attorneys presented to convince the Court and the world that he is a reliable expert."

Kleinhendler also claimed he "had no reason to doubt" the erroneous identification of Merritt until after the case was dismissed on January 14—a month after the Washington Post story. "This is also dishonest," Parker says. When she asked at the hearing whether anyone had suggested to the plaintiffs' lawyers that Merritt "was not a military intelligence expert," Kleinhendler, Powell, and Julia Haller said no, and "all the other counsel agreed by remaining silent." It is "implausible," Parker says, that "absolutely no member of Plaintiffs' legal team learned of the Washington Post article (and thus the questions it raised) shortly after it was published on December 11, 2020," especially since the Post had asked Powell to comment on "Merritt's limited experience in military intelligence."

'Outlandish and Easily Debunked Numbers'

Another "expert," Russell J. Ramsland Jr., claimed that "6,000 votes in Antrim County" were "switched from Former President Trump to President Biden." But "the State issued a bulletin well before this lawsuit was filed explaining the user error that led to the miscount in Antrim County's unofficial results, which had been 'quickly identified and corrected.'"

Ramsland also claimed that 643 Michigan precincts had improbably or impossibly high voter turnout, including 781.9 percent in North Muskegon, 460.51 percent in Zeeland Charter Township, 215.21 percent in Grout Township, and 139.29 percent in Detroit. "Even the most basic internet inquiry would have alerted Plaintiffs' counsel to the wildly inaccurate assertions in Ramsland's affidavit," Parker notes. The official numbers showed, for example, that voter turnout was 73.53 percent in North Muskegon, 80.11 percent in Zeeland Township, and 50.88 percent in Detroit. Ramsland's numbers, Parker says, were "outlandish and easily debunked."

Parker also notes that Ramsland, in a Georgia election lawsuit, had presented data from Minnesota as data from Michigan. And "even for the Minnesota locations, Ramsland's conclusions about over-votes [were] not supported by official data from the State." That widely publicized episode, Parker says, should have alerted Powell et al. to "the unreliability of Ramsland's figures" and "put them on notice that further inquiry was warranted."

The Dog Walker's Tale

Affiant Matt Ciantar reported that he was walking his dog in Plymouth, Michigan, on "the afternoon following the election" when he encountered "a young couple" who pulled up to a post office in a "dark van" and unloaded "3-4 very large clear plastic bags," which they took to a "USPS Vehicle" that "appeared as if it was 'waiting' for them." Inside the clear plastic bags was "another plastic bag that was not clear," so Ciantar "could not see what was inside." Ciantar found it "odd" that the man and woman did not interact with "any USPS employee" and that they "were smiling" and "laughing at one another." He concluded that "what could be in those bags could be ballots going to the TCF center," the Detroit convention center where votes were tabulated, "or coming from the TCF center."

Powell et al. presented Ciantar's account, which Parker describes as "a masterclass on making conjectural leaps and bounds," as evidence that "unsecured ballots arrived at the TCF Center loading garage, not in sealed ballot boxes, without any chain of custody, and without envelopes, after the 8:00 PM Election Day deadline." When Parker "asked Plaintiffs' attorneys how any of them, as officers of the court, could present this affidavit as factual support of anything alleged in their pleadings," they said Ciantar was simply reporting what he had witnessed.

"The Court accepts that the affidavit is true in that Ciantar memorialized what he saw at the time," Parker writes. "But the Court cannot find it reasonable to assert, as Plaintiffs' attorneys do, that this 'shows fraud.' Absolutely nothing about this affidavit supports the allegation that ballots were delivered to the TCF Center after the Election Day deadline….A document containing the lengthy musings of one dog-walker after encountering a 'smiling, laughing' couple delivering bags of unidentified items in no way serves as evidence that state laws were violated or that fraud occurred….Pursuant to their duties as officers of the court, attorneys typically do not offer factual allegations that have no hope of passing as evidentiary support at any stage of the litigation."

The 'Illegal Vote Dump'

Melissa Carone, a Republican who was working at the TCF Center, said she saw "two vans that pulled into the garage of the counting room, one on day shift and one on night shift." These vans "were apparently bringing food into the building," she said, but "I never saw any food coming out of these vans." Carone added that "coincidently it was announced on the news that Michigan had discovered over 100,000 more ballots—not even two hours after the last van left."

Powell et al. called this incident an "illegal vote dump." But as Parker notes, Carone's account "demonstrate[s] no misconduct or malfeasance," amounting to "no more than strained and disjointed innuendo of something sinister."

Parker points out that "nothing described by Carone connects the vans to any ballots; nothing connects the illusory ballots to President Biden; and nothing connects the illusory votes for President Biden to the 100,000 ballots 'coincidently' announced on the news as 'discovered' in Michigan." Yet "not a single member of Plaintiffs' legal team spoke with Carone to fill in these speculation-filled gaps before using her affidavit to support the allegation that tens of thousands of votes for President Biden were fraudulently added."

'Eyewitness Testimony' of Vote Switching

"I observed a station where election workers were working on scanned ballots that had issues that needed to be manually corrected," reported affiant Articia Bomer, a 2020 Republican congressional candidate. "I believe some of these workers were changing votes that had been cast for Donald Trump and other Republican candidates."

Powell et al. presented this account as their only "eyewitness testimony of election workers manually changing votes for Trump to votes for Biden." When Parker asked the plaintiffs' lawyers whether anyone had asked if Bomer "actually saw someone change a vote," she "was met with silence."

The lawyers "conceded that the Bomer Affidavit had evidentiary value only if Bomer saw election workers manually changing votes for Former President Trump to votes for President Biden." Yet "without asking Bomer if she saw such manual changes, Plaintiffs' counsel submitted her affidavit as evidentiary support that such manual changes in fact occurred." That omission "fell short of counsel's obligation to conduct a reasonable inquiry and is the very laxity that the sanctions schemes are designed to penalize."

Parker adds that "counsel's failure to ask this material question—when paired with their affirmative decision to label Bomer's testimony as 'eyewitness testimony of election workers manually changing votes'—evinces bad faith." Attorneys "may not bury their heads in the sand and thereafter make affirmative proclamations about what occurred above ground," she says. "In such cases, ignorance is not bliss—it is sanctionable."

Cut-and-Pasted Affidavits

Parker found that "almost every (if not every) non-expert affidavit attached to Plaintiffs' pleadings here…was filed by other attorneys in prior lawsuits." In several cases, Powell et al. admitted they had done nothing to independently verify the reliability of those statements. "When the Court asked whether Plaintiffs' counsel inquired as to the affidavits copied and pasted from the other cases," Parker says, they "dipped and dodged the question and did not disclaim the City's counsel's assertions that they did not."

It seems clear, Parker says, that Powell et al. "relied on the assessment of counsel for the plaintiffs in other cases as to the affidavits from those cases that Plaintiffs' counsel recycled here. This is not okay. The Court remains baffled after trying to ascertain what convinced Plaintiffs' counsel otherwise….Plaintiffs' counsel cannot hide behind the attorneys who filed [previous cases] to establish that Plaintiffs' counsel fulfilled their duty to ensure that the affidavits they pointed to as evidentiary support for the pleadings here in fact had any chance of ever amounting to evidence."

Imagined Violations of Michigan Election Law

Powell et al. repeatedly claimed they had evidence that election practices in Michigan violated state law, but they never bothered to check whether that was true. Detroit city employee Jessy Jacob, for example, reported seeing people who had applied for absentee ballots vote in person. But there is nothing illegal about that. "Applying for an absentee ballot is not evidence that someone voted via an absentee ballot," Parker notes. "It does not shock the Court that a Michigan resident can request an absentee ballot and thereafter decide to vote in person. Indeed, Michigan law says that voters can."

Similarly, Powell et al. cited a witness who "observed passengers in cars dropping off more ballots than there were people in the car." Since Michigan allows people to drop off the ballots of family and household members, Parker says, "Plaintiffs' counsel knew or should have known that this conduct did not violate existing state law."

Powell et al. also claimed election workers illegally counted ballots that lacked postmarks. Detroit's lawyer "stated that ballots are not required to be mailed or postmarked in Michigan," since they "are often handed in by hand," via "boxes in front of clerk's offices," and sometimes "right across the desk in the clerk's office." Opposing counsel "did not object to or refute this recitation of the law."

Likewise with ballots that election workers ran through tabulation machines more than once. An adviser to Detroit's city clerk testified that "ballots are often fed through the high-speed reader more than once" as a "routine part of the tabulation process" if, for example, "there is a jam in the reader" or "if there is a problem ballot (e.g., stains, tears, stray markings, etc.) in a stack." Kleinhendler "told the Court that it was 'completely irrelevant' whether the conduct Plaintiffs claimed was violative of Michigan law was actually unlawful."

In short, Parker says, "Plaintiffs alleged that certain acts or events constituted violations of the Michigan Election Code when, in fact, Plaintiffs' counsel failed to make any inquiry into whether such acts or events were in fact unlawful….Plaintiffs' counsel did not bother to find out what the Michigan Election Code requires, and whether the acts alleged to constitute violations of the Michigan Election Code were actually prohibited."

Just My Opinion

Parker's conclusions about Powell's approach to evidence can only hurt her as she tries to fend off the $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit filed against her by Dominion Voting Systems, the company she implicated in the massive criminal conspiracy that supposedly enabled Biden to steal the election. Parker notes that "several of the allegations asserted in this and similar lawsuits filed by Plaintiffs' attorneys" are at issue in Dominion's lawsuit.

To win that case, Dominion has to show "actual malice," meaning that Powell made her charges against the company even though she knew they were false or that she acted with "reckless disregard" for whether they were true. If Powell's actions in the Michigan case do not demonstrate reckless disregard, I'm not sure what would.

Conversely, Powell's defense against Dominion's claims helped clinch the case for sanctions against her in Michigan. In an unsuccessful attempt to have the defamation lawsuit dismissed, Powell argued that her statements about Dominion were not actionable because they were "opinions" that "reasonable people would not accept…as fact." Parker sees that characterization as further evidence that Powell ignored her duties as a lawyer in Michigan (citations omitted):

Powell's brief in support of her motion to dismiss in the Dominion Action states: "Given the highly charged and political context of the statements, it is clear that Powell's statements were made as an attorney-advocate for her preferred candidate and in support of her legal and political positions." "The highly charged and political nature of the statements," Powell continues in her brief, "underscores their political and hence partisan nature." Powell characterizes her statements and allegations as "vituperative, abusive and inexact" "political speech," as well as "inherently prone to exaggeration and hyperbole." Powell latched onto the Dominion plaintiffs' assertion that her allegations amounted to "wild accusations" and "outlandish claims" and therefore, she argued, "reasonable people would not accept" these alleged statements and allegations "as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by courts through the adversary process."

It is not acceptable to support a lawsuit with opinions, which counsel herself claims no reasonable person would accept as fact and which were "inexact," "exaggerate[ed]," and "hyperbole." Nor is it acceptable to use the federal judiciary as a political forum to satisfy one's political agenda. Such behavior by an attorney in a court of law has consequences. Although the First Amendment may allow Plaintiffs' counsel to say what they desire on social media, in press conferences, or on television, federal courts are reserved for hearing genuine legal disputes which are well-grounded in fact and law.

Powell cannot have it both ways. If her story about a stolen election is true, as she still insists it is, she can easily prevail against Dominion. But in that case, she should have been able to muster evidence more impressive than the mish-mosh of speculation, innuendo, and fabrications she presented in Michigan and elsewhere. And if her tale is nothing but fact-free "opinion," it never should have been the basis of a federal lawsuit.

"This lawsuit should never have been filed," Parker says. "Sanctions are required to deter the filing of future frivolous lawsuits designed primarily to spread the narrative that our election processes are rigged and our democratic institutions cannot be trusted. Notably, many people have latched on to this narrative, citing as proof counsel's submissions in this case. The narrative may have originated [with] or been repeated by Former President Trump and it may be one that 'many Americans' share; however, that neither renders it true nor justifies counsel's exploitation of the courts to further spread it….As officers of the court, Plaintiffs' counsel had an obligation to do more than repeat opinions and beliefs, even if shared by millions. Something does not become plausible simply because it is repeated many times by many people."

NEXT: Kabul Attack Is a Vivid Reminder of Why America Should Leave Afghanistan ASAP

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      1. what’s with the fake double v link making us think it’s a w?

        1. Why don’t you have a problem with the fake double t in doublethink?

          1. Who says he doesn’t?

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  1. It would be a shame if people used shaky evidence and unsubstantiated rumors to support a politically motivated investigation, wouldn’t it?

    Those people would be the worst people in the world, wouldn’t they? An absolute threat to our society, correct?

    1. “That’s different because fuck you!”

    2. Yes, it would be. Wouldn’t cancel out Powell’s shenanigans.

      1. They’re only really “shenanigans” to Democratic Party shills.

        1. And a lefty activist, 0blama appointed “judge”.

  2. 9 months later and this turd baby was born full of TDS hate.

    Now do the democrats and their fake and false investigations and impeachments.

    1. After what the establishment/Democrats put the country through from 2016-2020, they have a lot of guts to be pretending questioning an election is morally wrong.

      I guess when they were wearing pussyhats and screaming “Not my president” and “Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism”, it was just gaslighting as usual.

    2. King snowflake on duty already.

  3. the election was stolen.

    1. the election was not stolen.

      1. Lying leftists lives most be lost.

      2. The election was probably stolen. Anyone honest who looks at what happened at the polling stations, and Team Blue and the establishment’s heavy-handed censorship and rhetoric afterwards, can’t come to any other conclusion.

        1. And look at all that evidence you have!

          Lot of snowflakes out. Looking like a blizzard.

          1. Where do you live, pussy?

          2. There’s plenty of evidence. The Courts are using rulings on procedures to avoid admitting it. This is where the real reason for last year’s “peaceful protests” come into play. No one wants to be held responsible for the violence that would happen if the evidence was presented in Court and the election results were challenged. Anybody else does it, it is extortion, but not the Democrats.

            1. There’s no evidence, there’s no evidence of there ever having been any evidence. That’s why you can’t produce any, and that why Trump couldn’t produce any.

        2. Yes and you need to go back to Canada. Do you vote or pay taxes here. Do you work at all?

          1. You know the internet reaches the entire world right?

        3. The election was probably skewed to favor Dems in some states.
          Republicans – Trump is embarrassing! Put up a better candidate. Nominate anyone who can communicate rationally & the D’s will get their a$$ handed to them in 2024.

          I’ll be voting for Jo or whoever the Libertarian’s nominate. Naive but hopefully.

    2. More politics of personal destruction from the Left.
      The Right is not even allowed to have lawyers now.
      Democracy in America is over.

    3. Get a job and a life, Dillinger.

      Only pathetic people spend their days spreading lies on the internet

      1. Except that what he said isn’t a lie.
        TRUMP WON.

  4. Hey Jacob, what does Charles Koch pay you to write this drivel for him?

    1. Is there only one picture of this woman?

      1. Well, there’s also this naked photo…

        https://bit.ly/3jmwO6s

        1. You absolute bastard.

  5. Oh shit. Imagine how much the purveyors of the Trump Dossier will be charged!

  6. Parker says Powell and the other lawyers should have known their claims had no chance of succeeding. “At the inception of this lawsuit, all of Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the doctrines of mootness, laches, and standing, as well as Eleventh Amendment immunity,” she writes.

    Cannot challenge an election before the results are tabulated for a lack of standing. Cannot challenge the election after the results are in on the ground that it is moot.

    Catch-22 as a legal system is decidedly absurd. When you have no rights, insisting you have rights is sanctionable.

    This country is a joke.

    1. It is. A d they can’t know any of their claims are false as the software is closed and the company has disallowed review. Impossible to know claims are false.

    2. Yet Sullum and the fifty-centers pretend both statements are perfectly fair… until you apply it to 2016 of course.

    3. O say, do those sucker armed
      Kraken arms yet wave.
      O’er the land of the free,
      and of Reason depraved

  7. Sullum doesn’t think that he’ll ever face the physical consequences of his evil aid to an illegitimate totalitarian regime.
    Don’t think he’s ready for that.

    1. “The fact that we are going into the same hysterics over the farm more innocuous delta variant and ignoring the minuscule death count… that the thinking is held hostage to the rising case count is not abating. I don’t know when we’re going to get out of this. It doesn’t seem like anyone wants to except those who were skeptics from the start.”

  8. Too bad the woodchippers have been discontinued.

    1. That was a more interesting time.

  9. The hallmark of an opportunist is someone who points to authorities when they agree with him, and slams them when they don’t. This especially shows with The New York Times, but also shows here.

    Libertarians don’t put trust in what courts say on political matters, especially US ones, where the game is rigged to a faretheewell.

    1. Are you referring to the blog post above? What trust is necessary here? Powell’s lawsuit was absurdly sloppy. Several examples were given.

      1. I’m saying that when a source has a reputation for bias, sloppiness, or other general ineptitude, it is bullshit to cite them the few times they agree with you. Exactly like pointing out that a stopped clock happens to be very nearly correct by random coincidence.

        In this case, it’s the US legal system. Crowing that a court decision has sided with your TDS long after it matters, when the legal system of which they are a mainstay generally produces bullshit interpretation, is just as pointless as citing the broken clock during the short interval each day it is close enough.

        The US legal system may be better than, say, any dictatorship, but that doesn’t make it anything a libertarian would be proud of.

        1. And before the anti-Trumpers latch on to my saying “TDS”, Sullum has been pushing this thing long after it ceased mattering. The Dred Scott and Slaughterhouse decisions were far more consequential, and if Sollum wants to beat dead horses, he’d have better material there. Instead, his TDS flares up at the slightest provocation. You could almost set your watch (even if broken and only right twice a day) by how fast Sollum whips out another TDS rant after a news story appears.

          1. First of all, to this day, Donald Trump is still out pushing the stolen election lie, with all apparent intention to run again for President in 2024. So, none of this has ceased mattering.

        2. But why does the general record of the courts matter when Sullum is quoting precise details of this specific judge’s ruling? And those details are quite plainly damning of Powell’s lawsuit.

          There is no vague hand waving in the blog post above. It gives details.

          1. This specific, leftist, activist, 0blama appointed “judge”, you mean.

            1. Why would that matter when we are talking about a ruling that goes into detailed, precise explanations.

  10. Which political action gave sullum a bigger hard on? This or proud boys leader getting 5 months for burning a flag?

    1. I’m sure a hill cop shooting an unarmed woman, and the imprisoning of the January 6 inSurrECtioNistS indefinitely and without charges, made his dink diamonds.

      Nothing says “libertarian Reason writer” like cooing over naked fascism.

  11. *My* Kraken can assemble pretty hastily, too.

    If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

    1. PUT IT BACK! PUT IT BACK RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE!

      1. Oh come on. Don’t be a prude.

  12. Just a reminder that the Cathedral openly bragged about how the election was rigged in Time Magazine. As far as I know nobody at Reason has ever acknowledged the existence of the article.

    1. The recent events in Afghanistan drench those people’s hands in every drop of blood spilled.

  13. I’m sure this will be an interesting and productive comment section.

  14. Australia is building concentration camps.

  15. “The Court Order Approving Sanctions Against Sidney Powell Shows How Hastily She Assembled Her Kraken”

    Yay Government! Boo Dissenters!

    Did I get that correct, libertarians?

  16. the doctrines of mootness, laches, and standing

    , brought to you by the firm of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe.

  17. A good chunk of the country thinks the election was stolen. If it’s so obvious it’s not, why not hold bi-partisan hearings to show exactly that?

    1. What _exactly_ do you want this commission to do? There have been numerous audits, court cases, etc. already.

      1. Almost all of those audits have been conducted by the same people, who counted the votes, in the first place.
        Every attempt at independent audits have been fought against, tooth and nail.
        If there was no fraud, you commies should be falling all over yourselves to have the results audited, independently.
        What do you have to hide?

      2. How exactly do you authenticate ballots that you had no way of knowing were authentic in the first place? How do you authenticate ballots when you’ve illegally destroyed the envelopes you’re supposed to retain for auditing?

        1. How about you grow a pair of man testicles and stop whining that you lost an election.

          If it’s any consolation, Trump is an incompetent Petri dish of psychological pathology who shouldn’t be within groping distance of any real power. So it’s good he lost.

          1. I voted for Jorgensen, and Johnson twice before that, so I’m used to losing elections.

            But then, you’re such an ignorant fuck that it really doesn’t matter who I voted for because you’re just going to call me a Trump supporter anyways.

            1. I keep myself very well informed, and the only thing I know about election fraud in 2020 is that many Trump supporters baselessly claim it, despite dozens of admonishes from the judicial branch as well as factual reality. So your problem must be your media bubble.

              1. I mean, there’s documented evidence of voter fraud FOR Trump,
                so pretending that it was the cleanest election ever ever makes you look like a complete knob.

                (My favorite so far is the guy that killed his wife then admitted to using her ballot to vote for trump during the murder trial.)

                1. You’re right; the only examples of voter fraud I’ve read about were Trumpers.

                  Then there’s the whole trying to overthrow the constitution thing. Voter fraud of a sort.

    2. The losing half of the looter Kleptocracy is certain that every election is rigged, and they oughtta know. Since Nixon ordered the IRS to subsidize entrenched communo-fascism with tax booty, where’s the surprise that looters abscond with 97% of the votes they themselves paid for with someone else’s money AND counted?

  18. its quite naïve to think as such although its informative

  19. All I can say is this: if the standards of attorney conduct cited by the judge in this case were actually applied regularly, half the adversaries I have dealt with in my career would be disbarred.

    1. Probably more than half.

  20. Look at all the crying and moaning here over a clearly fraudulent and bullshit “case” brought to courts as if it were ever legitimate.

    Says more about all of you than you think.

    1. I like how a couple of the Trump diehards just started insulting Jacob Sullum because they couldn’t dispute the damning content of the blog post.

      1. The best way to attack Sullum is to strenuously find fault with things he never said or implied. Sullum is in an enviable position in that none of his detractors are conversant with methods of inference or epistemology.

        1. I dunno. They might be conversant with those things, but they are choosing to just post insulting comments about a Reason staffer who quite likely doesn’t even look at the comments.

          I guess their goal is to signal to each other and impress each other, rather than persuading anyone else of anything.

    2. Seriously. None of these losers defending Powell are libertarians. They are Trump lap sitters who just want to call themselves by another name and pretend to be intelligent

  21. Until we have universal laws protecting all the ‘evidence’ and ‘chain of custody’ regarding voting, such that forensic audits can easily be done by independent observers, even years after the event, all elections must be presumed to be fraudulent. Having said that, Powell’s only hope is finding some fraud during the discovery process; but it appears she’s on the way to disbarment and bankruptcy.

    1. Look what disbarment did to Clinton’s bank balance.

    2. Currently there are laws to protect the ballots and records. Most require Record Retention plans which would lay out how long and where records are keep. There are also any number of auditing procedures done on ballots and tabulators. While forensic audits exist for any number of things, there is no clear explanation of what a forensic audit is with regards to elections.

      1. …as long as the voting machines have open source code for their tabulation.

        Which they do not.

        And the firms will not supply the code to auditors.

        1. Most, maybe all ballots now have a paper backup. In Wisconsin machine function as tabulators and so hand counts serve as a verification of the results. So it is not entirely clear to me why open source would be important?

      2. But those laws have been used to prevent independent audits.
        What good are retained ballots and records if the only ones who can look at them are the ones who would be indicted if fraud was proven?
        And those people protect those records as if their lives depended on it.
        What are they hiding?

  22. Supposing everything the judge said is true, how does that make Powell, Wood, et alii any different from the rest of The Kleptocracy or its violent, prohibitionist “justice” bureaucracy?

    1. Most of the Kleptocracy are a bit more competent at klepting.

      1. The kleptocrats are no match for the kleptokraken.

  23. This week in California a convicted meth head felon was arrested with plastic bags of mail in ballots (approximately 300 ballots or so) So much for secured voting and “no chance of fraud.”

    1. Difference here is that we have evidence, something that Powell and other Trump lawyers did not have.

      Also we have yet to find out what happened in this case and where the ballots originated. Was the intend to withhold the ballots or was the suspect simply collecting a bunch from people he knew to turn them in to the clerks office.

      1. It’s not even clearly reported whether they are blank or filled in. It seems to be saying they were stolen out of mailboxes while still blank.

        1. It seems to be saying they were stolen out of mailboxes while still blank.

          Yes, and then they can be filled in and mailed in.

      2. Difference here is that we have evidence, something that Powell and other Trump lawyers did not have.

        Yes, they didn’t have any evidence because private citizens have no ability to investigate elections seriously. And even if they did, election procedures are such that it’s next to impossible to find evidence of voter fraud even if it existed.

        We also know for certain that many election officials violated state law with impunity. Rather than punishing them for it, courts shrugged their shoulders and said “nothing to be done”. American elections have been a joke for decades, but 2020 really takes the cake.

        Nevertheless, I do think Americans are stupid and greedy enough to vote for Biden, so I don’t really care either way: you voted for this crap, fellow Americans, and you deserve to suffer the consequences, good and hard.

        1. The fact is that there are numerous checks that would find evidence of fraud and none of these really turned up anything except the occasional double vote. As for the average citizen that is the person working at the poles who is doing the checking. Poll workers are your neighbors and yet people want to suggest that they are in on some fraud.

          1. The fact is that there are numerous checks that would find evidence of fraud and none of these really turned up anything except the occasional double vote.

            That’s complete and utter bullshit. Chain of custody was broken numerous times; ballots become dissociated from envelops; original ballots are replaced by poll workers as part of the normal counting process; detection and verification thresholds on counting machines were altered selectively in heavily Biden-leaning districts, etc.

            Poll workers are your neighbors and yet people want to suggest that they are in on some fraud.

            I’m not concerned about my neighbors, I’m concerned about the three progressive sh*tholes of cities where Biden got his votes. And to change the outcome of an election only takes a handful of people.

            In any case, the US is full of gullible, entitled, stupid people like you and you get what you deserve: socialism, war, and violence in the streets.

            1. It is clear you have no idea how ballots are handled and votes are counted. You need to read up on the procedures.

    2. Looks like this is the story you are referring to:

      https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-08-23/torrance-police-find-more-than-300-ballots-in-suspects-car-along-with-gun-drugs

      It’s far from clear that someone can steal ballots and get away with actually committing fraud, successfully getting past signature validation, etc. And then, if you get past that, what difference is 300 ballots likely to make. And, if you get past that, California was solidly Democratic is the last Presidential election, so all the fraud in the world would have still resulted in California’s electoral votes going to Biden.

      1. These were ballots for the recall of Gavin Newsolini, next month, whose poll numbers are not looking good.
        The fact is that mailed ballots are fraud waiting to happen, and one person, with 300 in his possession, is prima facie evidence of how easy it can be.

      2. It’s far from clear that someone can steal ballots and get away with actually committing fraud, successfully getting past signature validation, etc. And then, if you get past that, what difference is 300 ballots likely to make. And, if you get past that, California was solidly Democratic is the last Presidential election, so all the fraud in the world would have still resulted in California’s electoral votes going to Biden.

        I can’t tell whether you are being stupid or sarcastic.

      3. The story is disturbing and it needs to be investigated, that said it does not by itself prove fraud and I will reserve judgment until the matter is settled.

        1. People shouldn’t have to “prove fraud”. Election officials should have to prove that all votes were counted properly. That is, there should be a clear, documented chain of custody for every vote and ballot box, and all vote counting should be done in public view of anybody who wants to see it and recorded digitally.

          The fact is that given the way US elections are run, it is impossible to detect most forms of fraud. And that’s no accident either.

          1. It is clear that you have little to no understanding of the process to collect and count votes. There is a chain of custody, the tabulators are set out directly in the open in the polling locations, there are numerous checks. Take some time and actually study the voting process. You can by the way be an observer and watch the entire at you local polling place.

  24. The Court Order Approving Sanctions Against Sidney Powell Shows How Hastily She Assembled Her Kraken

    It’s not like there was a deadline or anything! /sarc

    “This lawsuit should never have been filed,” Parker says. “Sanctions are required to deter the filing of future frivolous lawsuits designed primarily to spread the narrative that our election processes are rigged and our democratic institutions cannot be trusted.

    If Parker wants our institutions to be trusted again, she is going about it the wrong way. In fact, she’s behaving like the judges in some cold war socialist country, where dissent is punished by the judiciary.

  25. Defense attorneys are in deep serious muck here. Good luck with that.

  26. At some point even people living in tinpot shitholes have to accept the outcome of elections. Biden was sworn in. He’s president. The idea of the rule of law can be perverted to make sham elections legal, but nowhere is there the concept that you get to keep recounting until you get the outcome you want. That’s just being a whiny titty baby. Stop watching FOX News. It’s making you into terrible human beings.

    1. “recounting until you get the outcome you want”
      Now, now; Isn’t that EXACTLY what *DID* happened?

      Extending rules far beyond a standard elections until the right outcome came in???? Let’s face the FACT here. If the rules of 1978 was still in tact Trump would WON by a landslide.

      1978, when California became the first state to allow voters to apply for an absentee ballot without having to provide an excuse.

      Wonder how long CA has had election fraud going on.

      1. You can’t prove it so it doesn’t happen!!!1!1!1!1!!

        1. You can prove whatever you like to your own personal satisfaction. That depends entirely on your standards. If you want to overturn an election you’re going to have to do better than talk radio spittle.

        2. The proof is everywhere and so profound that nobody can deny it.
          Real live people that showed up to vote gave Trump a definite win.

          + Plus
          Politicians break the peoples Supreme Law compulsively.
          It’s so corrupt; Some don’t even care (lefties) anymore and some have to find the least compulsive criminal of the Supreme Law.

          The USA is miles away from being a ‘Just’ Nation anymore and 100% of the blame goes to ignorant Democrats who cannot even figure out or purposely ignores what the USA is but instead are compulsively trying to take-it-over with Nazism (def; National Socialism) for the pure reason of getting away with criminal fraud, corruption and theft.

  27. Oh good grief, “without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated”

    As-If the Executive Orders of Governors wasn’t ‘without regard’ to laws. A little background on this SNOWFLAKE judge.

    Appointed by Obama
    Studied in Bachelor of Arts
    Raised in Detroit (the lefty-failure of a city)
    Worked for the EPA

    I guess the world just saw what Detroit corruption at the bench looks like.

    1. You left out a few things there.

      JD George Washington University law school.

      Law clerk for District of Columbia Superior court.

      Partner in Dickson Wright the premier law firm in Detroit.

      Executive Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan for six years.

      She has creds. I mean top shelf.

      If you do not agree with what happened here it is certainly your right to file a lawsuit.

      Please do that.

      1. And Obama was a Constitutional Scholar… lol….
        MORE Commie-Indoctrination doesn’t defeat the Snowflake charges.

  28. Who appointed this judge? That would tell us a lot. Federal judges are as far apart in judicial philosophy and political leanings as possible right now. this often leads to “judge shopping”. This is often reflected in their opinions, rather than the constitutionality or the actual law or their judgements. It is why there are so many appeals, why our courts are clogged and why so many cases are considered for the Supreme court, and sadly why so many that should get to the court get rejected.
    Will there be another appeal?

    1. The judiciary is overrun with Republican appointees, so quit your whining.

  29. A good chunk of the country thinks the election was stolen.

  30. Did nobody read “License To Lie”? What happens if you find corruption at the DOJ? Then the same corrupt DJ actor goes to work writing for Robert Mueller?
    The courtroom- Home of Tyranny.

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