A federal judge on Monday railed against two lawyers who filed a frivolous voter fraud lawsuit after the 2020 election, condemning them for trying to “manipulate gullible members of the public and foment public unrest” and ordering them to pay nearly $180,000 to the defendants they sued, CNN reports.
“They need to take responsibility for their misconduct,” Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter of the US District Court in Colorado wrote in his order, according to CNN. He added that the lawsuit defamed the defendants.
“I believe that rather than a legitimate use of the legal system to seek redress for redressable grievances, this lawsuit has been used to manipulate gullible members of the public and foment public unrest,” Neureiter said. “To that extent, this lawsuit has been an abuse of the legal system and an interference with the machinery of government. For all these reasons, I feel that a significant sanctions award is merited,” he ruled.
Now, attorneys Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker will have to pay attorneys fees of $50,000 to Facebook (now Meta), about $63,000 to Dominion Voting Systems, about $63,000 to the non-profit Center for Tech and Civic Life, more than $6,000 to the state of Pennsylvania and nearly $5,000 to the state of Michigan, CNN reported, citing court records.
The swift ruling from the federal magistrate adds to the judiciary’s condemnations of attempts by attorneys supporting Donald Trump to use the courts to vet right-wing conspiracies about the 2020 election.