The federal judge presiding over Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood’s lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s election results issued a ruling on Wednesday that reads like a laundry list of embarrassing procedural failures and omissions, highlighting what could well represent the nadir of post-election legal ineptitude.
Filed Tuesday in Wisconsin’s Eastern District, the complaint—which asked the court to direct the state to declare President Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election—proved immediately problematic, as one of the named plaintiffs stated that the attorneys used his name without permission.
“I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission,” Derrick Van Orden, who recently lost his bid for the House of Representatives, wrote Tuesday. “To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.”
I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission. To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.
— Derrick Van Orden (@derrickvanorden) December 1, 2020
Things only got worse from there, with Powell and Wood demanding the immediate production of 48 hours of security camera footage from the TCF Center, which is a convention center used as a voting station on Election Day. It is located in downtown Detroit, Michigan.
On Wednesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper, an appointee of Barack Obama, took the attorneys to task, bluntly laying out the litany of basic mistakes made in the complaint.
After pointing out that the complaint was “not verified,” Pepper went to work on the substantive errors, first noting that plaintiffs’ motion stated that that the requested relief was “laid out in an attached order.”
“This language was highlighted and in a larger font than the rest of the motion. There was no order attached,” she wrote.
Powell and Wood also declared that they had filed a motion seeking to file affidavits under seal and requesting an in camera review, stating they had delivered those filings to the Defendants “by mail and FedEx at the following addresses.”
But that apparently didn’t happen.
“No addresses were listed below this statement and no documents were filed under seal. There was no request for in camera review,” she wrote.
Powell and Wood attempted to correct some of their failures Tuesday afternoon by filing another document.
“It appears on the docket as a motion to amend or correct, but the document itself is captioned, ‘Plaintiffs’ Corrected Motion for Declaratory, Emergency, and Permanent Injunctive Relief.’ This motion indicates that the earlier motion was an inadvertently filed draft and acknowledges that the referenced proposed order had not been attached,” Pepper wrote.
The newly-added proposed order didn’t ask for a hearing on the matter, however, and didn’t indicate whether the Defendants had been notified about any of the filings.
“Because the afternoon motion indicates that the plaintiffs ‘will’ provide electronic notice to the adverse parties, the court does not know whether the plaintiffs have yet provided notice to the adverse parties or when they will do so,” Pepper wrote. “While the caption of the motion includes the word ‘emergency’ and the attached proposed order seeks an ‘expedited’ injunction, neither the motion nor the proposed order indicate whether the plaintiffs are asking the court to act more quickly or why. As indicated, the motion does not request a hearing. It does not propose a briefing schedule.”
Thus, under the court’s rules, the defendants have up to 21 days to respond to the complaint, meaning a response isn’t required until a week after the Electoral College votes President-elect Joe Biden into office.
Attorneys continued to have a field day with Powell and Wood’s lawsuit.
“The Kraken is clearly struggling in Wisconsin,” wrote Democratic Party and Biden campaign lawyer Marc E. Elias.
The Kraken is clearly struggling in Wisconsin.🐙 pic.twitter.com/mGGM7IeCmK
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) December 2, 2020
As attorney Mike Dunford put it: “it would appear that Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and the rest of their lunatics managed to get more things wrong while initiating a case than anyone should be able to possibly manage without making a conscious effort.”
The tl:dr is that it would appear that Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and the rest of their lunatics managed to get more things wrong while initiating a case than anyone should be able to possibly manage without making a conscious effort.
Let’s dig in: pic.twitter.com/znRgneRI4O
— Mike Dunford (@questauthority) December 2, 2020
Dunford also highlighted the order’s “brutal simplicity.”
“It’s simple, but any lawyer on the receiving end of something like this who had any remaining self-regard would die of shame. And we’re just starting out,” Dunford said.
“It’s a non-stop litigation what not to do 101 with these folks,” added Houston-based appellate attorney Raffi Melkonian.
What? It’s a non-stop litigation what not to do 101 with these folks. https://t.co/MGrqzrsGww
— Raffi Melkonian (@RMFifthCircuit) December 2, 2020
Read the full order below:
[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP / Getty Images]
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