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Supreme Court leaves sanctions in place against Sidney Powell and others over 2020 election suit in Michigan

Trump distances himself from Sidney Powell
Trump distances himself from Sidney Powell after her guilty plea 05:13

Washington — The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a bid by a group of Trump-allied lawyers who faced monetary and professional sanctions in Michigan as a result of their baseless claims raised in a lawsuit that the 2020 presidential election was rife with fraud.

The one-line order from the high court rejecting the appeals brought by lawyers Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and five others leaves in place a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that partially upheld the penalties imposed in the wake of the last presidential contest.

Powell and Wood were among a group of lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump who pushed unfounded claims about the 2020 election in courts in key battleground states. Powell famously pledged to "release the Kraken" after the 2020 election, likening the mythical sea monster to the legal challenge she was pursuing as part of an effort to overturn President Biden's win and keep Trump in power for a second term.

Powell, Wood and the five other lawyers were sanctioned in Michigan as a result of a lawsuit that attempted to reverse the state's election results. A district court ordered them to pay more than $175,000 to cover the legal fees that the city of Detroit and state incurred to defend the lawsuit. In addition to the monetary penalties, Powell, Wood and the others were referred to the bar associations in each of their states for disciplinary proceedings.

The district court said the sanctions were intended to deter future suits "designed primarily to spread the narrative that our election processes are rigged." The 6th Circuit upheld the sanctions, but lessened the amount the lawyers had to pay to over $150,000. 

Beyond the sanctions in Michigan, Powell was charged in the sprawling racketeering case brought by the Fulton County District Attorney in August. She reached a plea deal with prosecutors in October and agreed to plead guilty to six misdemeanor counts.

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