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November 24, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released the following statement in response to Michigan being awarded nearly $5,000 by a Colorado magistrate, which is related to previously-granted sanctions against attorneys who took part in a frivolous election lawsuit that named Michigan officials as defendants:
"The fees awarded in this ruling are yet another reminder that the rule of law still prevails," Nessel said. "The harm inflicted by this suit and others like it after the 2020 election no doubt damaged our democracy. Seeking accountability and defending the accuracy of our elections remains imperative to maintaining their integrity."
On Monday, United States Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado ordered Gary D. Fielder and Ernest J. Walker to pay nearly $187,000 total to defendants named in their suit related to the 2020 presidential election. Michigan was awarded $4,900.
The order states in part, "...it bears repeating that, 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. In assessing the amount of the sanction, I also take into account the fact that Plaintiffs' counsel made a public appeal for financial contributions from arguably innocent and gullible members of the public in order to supposedly hire experts to support this case.... In reality, as disclosed at the hearing on sanctions, Plaintiffs' counsel hired no experts, either before or after filing the Complaints, and did not speak to any of the alleged experts that were being used in other cases around the country. Given the apparent lack of standing to bring this case-and its likely failure given the existing Supreme Court precedent on the issue of standing-as well as the failure to hire or speak to any expert witnesses to support the underlying factual assertions in the Complaints, this financial appeal to the public for financial contributions was arguably deceptive."
The 21-page order, which itemizes the amounts of each defendants' fees, can be read on the Department of Attorney General's website.
Also in August, Judge Linda Parker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted sanctions against attorneys involved in King v, Whitmer, et al, another failed election lawsuit.