A federal judge in Colorado sanctioned two pro-Trump attorneys Wednesday who had filed a lawsuit after the presidential election alleging widespread fraud, with the judge saying in a scathing ruling that their claims were “disorganized and fantastical.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neuriter ordered Ernest Walker and Gary D. Fielder to pay the attorney fees and expenses for the defendants in their lawsuit, which included state leadership from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia; Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan and voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems.
The litigation, filed in December 2020 and dismissed in April, was a purported class-action lawsuit filed “on behalf of all American registered voters” that made wide-ranging claims of election fraud and sought damages of $1,000 per voter—adding up to $160 billion, which the judge noted is “greater than the annual GDP of Hungary.”
Neuriter said sanctions were warranted in the case because Walker and Fielder “did not conduct a reasonable inquiry into” whether their fraud claims were actually true, describing the lawsuit as “litigation by ‘cut-and-paste’” as the attorneys included fraud allegations from other post-election lawsuits in their complaint without speaking to the lawyers who filed those lawsuits or looking further into their claims.
The judge also awarded sanctions based on the plaintiffs’ basic legal mistakes, writing it “should have been as obvious to Plaintiffs’ counsel as it would be to a first-year civil procedure student” that state officials in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia couldn’t have been sued in Colorado for elections in their states.