Woes mount for legal loyalists who pushed Trump’s election conspiracies

Photo: Ben Gray / AP
A group of conservative attorneys, still spreading disinformation reflecting Donald Trump's false claim that the election was rigged, are now battling federal investigations, libel suits, and bar association reviews that are threatening to cripple their legal career.
Former Justice Department officials say Trump's legal loyalists are weakening confidence in the American electoral system by persistently repeating his unsubstantiated claims. They note that some Republicans are actively supporting efforts in key states to change electoral laws that are seen as undermining voting rights for communities of color.
Related: "Pure madness": E-mails reveal Trump's attempt to overthrow the election defeat
Take Sidney Powell, a pro-Trump conspiracy promoter and ex-federal attorney.
Powell was ridiculed in late May after a brief stint in Trump's legal department last December, where she made wild allegations of election fraud over a voting machine maker's alleged links to Venezuela that sparked a $ 1.3 billion libel suit against her because they are a Dallas. QAnon-Meeting had told that Trump could be "reinstated" this summer.
There is also suffrage veteran Cleta Mitchell, who attended Trump's infamous January conversation with Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where Trump asked him to “find” more than 11,000 votes to block Joe Biden's victory. Mitchell is now leading a $ 10 million FreedomWorks campaign in seven states to tighten electoral laws in what is seen as restricting voting rights.
Trump's high pressure call prompted the Fulton District Attorney to open a criminal investigation.
Meanwhile, Atlanta attorney L Lin Wood, who worked with Powell in Georgia on a failed attempt to undo Biden's victory by filing unsubstantiated fraud lawsuits, told Talking Points Memo that he donated $ 50,000 to help address a bizarre one Fund voting "test" in Arizona's largest county - although Biden's victory was certified there.
Lin is known for his frenzied pro-Trump advocacy, including accusations that Vice President Mike Pence was about to be executed by firing squad, and has other legal troubles in Georgia, where he is battling a prosecutor's request to acquire confidential intellectual competence Examination after carefully examining his alleged legal misconduct.
In addition, Georgia election officials opened an investigation in February into allegations that Wood may have voted illegally in the state last year after buying a home in nearby South Carolina. Wood has denied the illegal voting.
But among Trump's ardent legal allies, Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney during the campaign, faces the greatest threats in an expanding federal investigation into whether he breached lobbying disclosure laws by representing foreign officials in Ukraine while he was working on it to collect dirt over Biden there in order to test Trump's election chances or
Sidney Powell with Rudy Giuliani in November in Washington. Photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
The federal investigation, led by US attorneys in the same New York office that Giuliani once headed, received potentially harmful evidence in late April when FBI agents raided Giuliani's Manhattan home and office and confiscated more than 10 cell phones and other electronic devices.
Other pro-Trump lawyers are also feeling the heat of the law.
Former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, who shared a $ 1 million contract with a Ukrainian oligarch who opposed extradition to the US on allegations of bribery and allegedly supported Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine, appear to be part of the Giuliani -Being involved in the investigation. With a search warrant, federal agents took a Toensing cell phone with them in late April on the same day as the Giuliani raids, but Toensing said it was not a "target".
Former senior Justice Department officials express dismay at the behavior of Trump's legal allies.
Donald Ayer, former assistant attorney general in George HW Bush's administration, said he was amazed at the turn of Giuliani, Powell and diGenova "cheerleaders for Trump and his attack on democracy."
"I've known them all at times over the past few decades, when they each held positions of respect and prestige," said Ayer. "It is a real headache for me, given this background, that they are all so completely disconnected from reality to pursue a completely unworthy cause."
Other department veterans say pro-Trump attorneys likely have mercenary motifs.
"Lawyers who make absurd and counterfactual statements to the public usually only do so if there is something in it for them - and that usually means money," said Paul Pelletier, a former acting chief of fraud at the DoJ.
But there is no doubt that Trump's legal allies will have painful consequences from making suspicious allegations.
Both Powell and Giuliani were charged with $ 1.3 billion in defamation suits from Dominion Voting Systems.
Powell and Giuliani have separately argued that the lawsuits should be dismissed. Powell has stressed that their dubious claims were protected by the first freedom of expression amendment.
Related: U.S. Covid deaths hit 600,000 as ex-Biden advisor says a high number was preventable
Still, Powell's defense was marred in May when her lawyers inappropriately alleged that it was just exaggeration in accusing Dominion of links with left-wing Venezuela and that "reasonable people would not accept such statements as facts, only view them as allegations based on waiting for an exam ". by the courts in adversarial proceedings ”.
However, the legal threats Giuliani faces are significantly higher as prosecutors have been investigating for two years whether he was an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian officials who assisted the lawyer in his search for harmful information about Biden.
The criminal investigation is reportedly centered on Giuliani's part in Trump's dismissal of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in May 2019, a move that Giuliani and two close associates, separately charged with campaign finance violations, promoted , and a key issue with Trump's first impeachment.
Giuliani condemned the federal investigation following the recent FBI raid that resulted in his legal gadgets: he said he had not influenced anyone in the US government on behalf of foreign officials and told Fox News the investigation was trying to “frame him ".
But more damaging details of Giuliani's pro-Trump Ukraine blitz came out on CNN last week after it received a secret 2019 tapping Giuliani aggressively persuaded a senior Ukrainian official to help Trump by he investigated baseless conspiracies with Biden, whose son was on the board of directors of a Ukrainian gas company.
After Giuliani's attorneys cited legal secrecy to limit the use of potentially harmful materials from the raid, a New York judge, at the request of the federal prosecutor, hired a retired judge to act as a "special master" to review the seized materials and decide what investigators could do in the prosecution can use criminal charges.
In this article:
Donald Trump
45th President of the United States
Sidney Powell
American lawyer
Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City Mayor
Joe Biden
46th President of the United States
Cleta Mitchell
American lawyer, politician, and conservative activist

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