Second Federal Judge Considers Sanctioning Attorneys Over a 2020 Election Lawsuit

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
July 17, 2021 Updated: July 17, 2021

A federal judge on Friday closely questioned lawyers who filed a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election, the second such hearing in the United States in less than a week.

U.S. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter queried lawyers Gary Fielder and Ernest Walker on whether they conducted due diligence before filing a suit last year that claimed Dominion Voting Systems, whose equipment is used in the state, and other defendants colluded to interfere in the 2020 election.

“Did you analyze any of the information, pick up the phone and call them, ask difficult questions?” the judge asked Fielder, Colorado Politics reported.

Fielder said the suit was filed based on his decades of legal experience and evidence including affidavits.

The filing included 11 affidavits, statements, or reports, including a report from The Thomas More Society’s Amistad Project, run by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who lost his legal license in 2013.

The report outlines how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg funded a nonprofit called the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which doled out grants to a number of jurisdictions to help them with election operations. That effort, and others like it, amounted to “an unprecedented and coordinated public-private partnership to improperly influence the 2020 presidential election on behalf of one particular candidate and party,” name President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, the report stated.

The suit sought approximately $160 billion, or $1,000 for each American voter. Neureiter, appointed by fellow judges to his position in 2018, dismissed it in April, claiming plaintiffs lacked standing.

Dominion, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, the Center for Tech and Civil Life, Facebook, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer later filed motions asking the court to sanction the lawyers who brought the case.

“Sanctions are warranted against Plaintiffs’ counsel under both Rule 11 and 28 U.S.C. § 12973 to deter future baseless lawsuits regarding the 2020 presidential election,” Dominion said in its motion.

Stan Garnett, a former Boulder County District Attorney who is representing Dominion, told the judge that the case stemmed from “nonsense from the Internet” and accused Fielder and Walker of not researching the claims.

In a filing before the hearing, Walker and Fielder told the judge: “All of these Defendants can dispute the factual allegations in said pleadings, and the specific evidence of election fraud that has already been exposed. However, their position on the facts conflicts with the well-grounded averments in the Plaintiffs’ complaints.”

Neureiter did not immediately rule on the sanctions. He is considering whether to dismiss or grant them, according to minutes from the hearing.

A similar hearing played out in federal court in Michigan earlier in the week. U.S. District Judge Linda Parker, an Obama nominee, also did not immediately rule on motions to sanction a group of lawyers who brought an election challenge in the state, including Lin Wood and Sidney Powell.

Last month, the New York Supreme Court suspended the law license of former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, claiming he made “false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers, and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign.”

Giuliani protested the decision and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said he’s never seen such a ruling made without a hearing.

“I’ve never seen a case where they take away somebody’s bar certificate because they don’t believe that he was telling the truth about a disputed matter without an opportunity to prove it at a hearing,” he told The Epoch Times.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.