Nessel asks judge to consider Sidney Powell's 'stunning admissions' in deciding sanctions

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday asked a federal judge to consider GOP lawyer Sidney Powell's "stunning admissions" in deciding whether to sanction her for a lawsuit filed after the November election in Michigan's federal eastern district court.  

In defending herself against a separate $1.3 billion libel suit from Dominion Voting Systems, Powell said "no reasonable person" could conclude her statements about Dominion were "truly statements of fact." Powell also said it was the court's responsibility, not hers, to investigate the truth of the statements. 

Attorney Sidney Powell has argued that Dominion Voting Systems shouldn't prevail in litigation against her because "no reasonable person" could conclude her statements about Dominion were "truly statements of fact."

The statements, Nessel wrote in a Tuesday motion, "go to the heart" of the argument for sanctions against Powell. 

Powell "all but admits that she and her co-counsel here have engaged in sanctionable conduct before this court," Nessel wrote. "...That approach to litigation is sanctionable under any standard."

"If there were any doubts about counsel’s mindset when filing this action, Ms. Powell has put them to rest— she and her co-counsel knew there was no reasonable basis for the statements they made in this litigation, but they made them anyway," the attorney general wrote.

Nessel, who asked the federal courts in January to sanction Powell and three other attorneys, filed an additional motion Tuesday with information from Powell's defense in the Dominion lawsuit. Nessel also is seeking attorneys' fees of $11,071.

In separate actions, Nessel has sought the disbarment of Powell and three Michigan lawyers for their involvement in the King v. Whitmer case. 

The sanctions Nessel seeks are connected to the Nov. 25 King v. Whitmer case, filed on behalf of six Michigan Republicans who relied on conspiracy theories and discredited claims when they asked a judge to require that President Donald Trump be named the state's winner. 

Trump lost Michigan to President-elect Joe Biden by 154,000 votes.

Detroit U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker rejected the lawsuit on Dec. 7. The suit seemed "less about achieving the relief" the GOP plaintiffs sought and "more about the impact of their allegations on people’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government," Parker wrote.

In February, the U.S. Supreme Court's nine justices declined to weigh in on the merits case. 

The city of Detroit and serial litigant Robert Davis also sought sanctions for Powell's involvement in the suit.