Lawyers ask Sidney Powell and her team of Trump-supporting lawyers for $204,000 in legal fees
DETROIT — Sidney Powell and her team of Trump-supporting lawyers should pay more than $200,000 in legal fees after they were sanctioned for pursuing the so-called Kraken election lawsuit in Michigan that was full of conspiracies and few facts, according to new federal court filings.
Lawyers representing the City of Detroit and from the office of the Michigan Attorney General submitted their requests for legal fees Wednesday, two weeks after U.S. District Judge Linda Parker determined the punishment for Powell and her team included covering all legal costs.
"This lawsuit should never have been filed. The State Defendants and the Intervenor-Defendants should never have had to defend it," Parker wrote in her Aug. 25 sanctions ruling.
"If (Powell and her team) are not ordered to reimburse the state defendants and (Detroit) for the reasonable fees and costs incurred to defend this action, counsel will not be deterred from continuing to abuse the judicial system to publicize their narrative."
Most of the $204,000 request comes from David Fink, a private attorney whose firm is representing Detroit in the lawsuit. The city agreed to pay Fink and other partners $325 an hour, more junior attorneys $225 an hour and law clerks $75 an hour.
Even though Fink says he and his firm provided an additional 10% discount, their work on the sanctions proceedings alone cost more than $116,000. In total, Fink's firm asked for $182,192.
"The rate was affected by the likelihood of unanticipated and unique arguments that might be (and were) made during the pendency of the litigation," Fink wrote in his brief, while noting the rates were still substantially lower than what his firm generally charges.
The Office of the Michigan Attorney General requested nearly $22,000, noting one lawyer provided $15,227.25 amount of work and another provided $6,737.50
In a statement, Powell criticized Parker's ruling and indicated her team will fight against paying the requested costs.
"The fees sought against us by the City of Detroit were completely self-inflicted. The City was not a party in the case but intervened to create litigation. We will indeed appeal. The judge's opinion is riddled with error of fact and law," Powell said.
Powell and her team worked on a lawsuit that sought to overturn Michigan's election results; President Joe Biden won the state by about 154,000 votes. They argued an international conspiracy involving many bad actors led to fraudulent election results, and asked Parker to force Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to award the state's 16 electoral votes to former President Donald Trump.
Parker declined, prompting Powell and the team to appeal all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Each court rejected their arguments.
Afterward, Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Fink announced they would seek sanctions against Powell and eight other attorneys. They said the attorneys willingly and knowingly made false claims to thwart the will of voters.
At the time, Nessel and the state asked for about $11,000 in fees. Fink did not include a dollar amount for legal fees in his original request for sanctions.
Powell and her attorneys argued their lawsuit represented the legitimate fears and claims of frustrated voters, and they could have proven them if they'd had the chance in court. But their lawsuit was full of inaccurate and misleading information, as Parker noted in her decision to issue sanctions.
"The attorneys who filed the instant lawsuit abused the well-established rules applicable to the litigation process by proffering claims not backed by law; proffering claims not backed by evidence (but instead speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion); proffering factual allegations and claims without engaging in the required prefiling inquiry; and dragging out these proceedings even after they acknowledged that it was too late to attain the relief sought," Parker wrote in her ruling.
In addition to paying legal fees, Powell and her team were ordered to attend 12 hours of legal training. Parker's sanctions could lead to additional punishments for each attorney, up to and including disbarment in states where they are licensed to practice.