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Attorney Sidney Powell speaking during a news conference in Washington, D.C, in November 2020. Photo: Sarah Silbiger for the Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Wednesday sanctioned attorneys — including Sidney Powell, an ex-campaign lawyer for former President Trump who spread baseless conspiracy theories — over an unsuccessful lawsuit that attempted to overturn Michigan’s 2020 election results.

Why it matters: U.S. District Judge Linda Parker formally requested a disciplinary body to investigate whether Powell and the other pro-Trump lawyers, including Lin Wood, should be disbarred for filing the lawsuit, which she said "abused the well-established rules applicable to the litigation process by proffering claims not backed by law."

  • Parker last December dropped the lawsuit that alleged widespread fraud in the state because she found that it was based on “speculation and conjecture," according to AP.
  • Parker required that Powell, Wood and the other lawyers pay the legal fees associated with the lawsuit and attend classes on the ethical requirements for filing lawsuits.

What they're saying: "It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election," Parker wrote in an order on Wednesday.

  • "It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here," she added.
  • "This lawsuit should never have been filed. The State Defendants and the Intervenor-Defendants should never have had to defend it."

The big picture: Rudy Giuliani, Trump's former personal attorney, was suspended from practicing law in New York after he made false statements about the 2020 election to courts, lawmakers and the public.

  • Powell, Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell also face multibillion-dollar defamation lawsuits from Dominion, a voting equipment company. The lawsuits allege that the pro-Trump figures made false claims of election fraud that defamed Dominion.

Go deeper

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Colin Powell dies from COVID complications at 84

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, died of complications from COVID-19, his family announced Monday. He was 84.

Driving the news: The Powell family said in a statement that he was fully vaccinated. He had undergone treatment for multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that can weaken the immune system, a spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.