Advance Notice: Briefs

Judge rejects pro-Trump lawyers’ request to skip sanctions hearing 

By: - July 8, 2021 1:29 pm

Trump counter-protest of Bernie Sanders car rally for Joe Biden in Warren, Oct. 6, 2020 | Andrew Roth

A federal judge has refused to allow the so-called “Kraken” litigation team to skip an upcoming sanctions order.

The matter stems from a court-rejected lawsuit to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The lawyers, which includes pro-Donald Trump  attorney Sidney Powell, must personally attend the proceeding via Zoom. 

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker had scheduled a hearing for Tuesday but moved it back to the date to accommodate the holiday schedule of Stefanie Junttila, one of the lawyers. That prompted a request from the team to avoid appearing all together and have their lawyer represent them. Parker summarily rejected that request.

“Each attorney whose name appears on any of plaintiffs’ pleadings or briefs shall be present at the motions hearing,” she directed. It will be held Monday.

Powell, a proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory, is a former assistant United States attorney in the Western District of Texas. Her team’s filing was riddled with spelling errors, formatting issues and cited numerous unfounded conspiracy theories as its legal basis, as reported by the Advance

“Kraken” is a reference to a mythical sea monster unleashed by Zeus in the 1981 fantasy film “Clash of the Titans.” The team of right-wing activists unsuccessfully tried to overturn President Joe Biden’s victories in Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia. Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan.

In December, Parker rejected the legal team’s suit. It was one of several cases in Michigan and dozens throughout the country where election fraud was alleged but the notion was rejected in various courts.

“Plaintiffs ask this court to ignore the orderly statutory scheme established to challenge elections and to ignore the will of millions of voters,” Parker wrote at the time. “This, the court cannot, and will not, do.”

“The right to vote is among the most sacred rights of our democracy and, in turn, uniquely defines us as Americans. The struggle to achieve the right to vote is one that has been both hard fought and cherished throughout our country’s history. Local, state, and federal elections give voice to this right through the ballot. And elections that count each vote celebrate and secure this cherished right.”

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.