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AG Nessel, SOS Benson Respond to Sanctions Hearing Against Attorneys Involved in Frivolous Election Lawsuit
July 12, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are responding to Monday's sanctions hearing involving Michigan attorneys Greg Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom and Stefanie Junttila, along with Texas attorney Sidney Powell:
"After watching today's hearing, it remains clear these attorneys refuse to recognize the damage they've done by continuing to pursue and defend this lawsuit," Nessel said. "There is a big difference between responsibly advocating for a client and recklessly leveraging legal authority to perpetuate meritless arguments. As attorneys, we must uphold the oath we took to support the Constitution-not abuse it. I appreciate Judge Parker's diligence in handling our motion and remain confident our request for sanctions will be granted."
The Department of Attorney General moved to sanction the four attorneys listed above on behalf of Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary Benson. Lin Wood (Georgia), Brandon Johnson (D.C.), Emily Newman (Virginia), Julia Haller (D.C.), and Howard Kleinhandler (New York) were also present for the hearing as they are the subject of a motion for sanctions by the city of Detroit.
Nessel took the action to hold the attorneys accountable in January in response to their pursuit of a lawsuit that aimed to disenfranchise Michigan's voters and undermine public trust in the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
"Courts in Michigan and across the country have affirmed the truth about the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 election by dismissing the dozens of frivolous lawsuits launched by partisan actors with the singular goal of undermining our democracy because their preferred candidate lost," Benson said. "If we allow their willful misleading of the public and their purposeful attacks on our democracy go unchecked, then we all lose. Actions have consequences. We will continue working alongside the courts and Attorney General Nessel to see the men and women who attempted to deceive the American public by spreading misinformation are held accountable for those falsehoods, and face theirs."
Judge Linda Parker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan did not rule on the sanctions Monday. Instead, she noted a written ruling will come at a later date and that a separate order will note an opportunity for additional briefs to be filed.
The motion seeks to recover attorneys' fees totaling approximately $11,000. The Department also asked for further disciplinary action to be taken against the attorneys before the Attorney Grievance Commission of the State of Michigan and the State Bar of Texas.
Thus far, Texas' Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel has granted an investigatory hearing related to Powell's bar license, though a date is not yet confirmed. There is no update related to the Michigan licenses at this time.