Attorney regulators in Michigan have dropped disciplinary charges against two lawyers who were involved in attempting to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in the state. The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission made the decision to dismiss its disciplinary cases against Emily Newman and Stefanie Lambert Junttila. These lawyers were part of a failed lawsuit led by conservative attorney Sidney Powell that alleged widespread voter fraud tainted Donald Trump’s loss to Biden.
This decision comes on the same day when Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from Georgia charged Donald Trump, Sidney Powell, and 17 others with participating in a criminal racketeering enterprise aimed at overturning Trump’s election defeat. It’s important to note that Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing, often labeling such legal actions as a “witch hunt.”
While the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission decided to drop the disciplinary cases against Newman and Junttila, the commission did not provide explicit reasons for this decision. The initial disciplinary cases were brought against these lawyers after a judge deemed their Michigan lawsuit to be frivolous.
Michael Smith, the lawyer representing Junttila, released a statement expressing his client’s victory in the bar grievance, emphasizing that Junttila did not violate any ethical rules. On the other hand, there has been no immediate response from an attorney representing Newman, nor from any commission official regarding this development.
It’s worth noting that the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals had previously upheld sanctions against Powell and other lawyers involved in the Michigan election case, although sanctions against Junttila and Newman were dismissed by the court. This dismissal was based on the finding that Junttila and Newman had contributed minimal effort to the case.
As previously reported, Junttila, a Detroit defense lawyer, played a significant role in Trump’s campaign to contest the election results in 2020. More recently, Junttila pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally accessing voting machines in Michigan. In a separate connection, Newman, based in Virginia, had served as the former chief of staff to the U.S. Agency for Global Media during the Trump administration.
This development is part of a larger trend where lawyers who were involved in challenging the outcome of the 2020 election have faced attorney disciplinary actions. For instance, earlier this year, a state judge dismissed disciplinary charges brought by Texas bar officials against Sidney Powell, citing “numerous defects” in the evidence. The state bar is currently appealing this decision. Powell has consistently denied violating any ethics rules.
Rudy Giuliani, former personal lawyer to Donald Trump, had his law license suspended in New York due to false claims of voter fraud. Additionally, a Washington, D.C., attorney ethics committee recommended Giuliani’s disbarment last month. Giuliani, who is also named in the recent Georgia indictment, maintains his innocence regarding these charges.
Furthermore, lawyers Jeffrey Clark and John Eastman, both named in the Georgia indictment, are facing attorney disciplinary actions in Washington, D.C., and California, respectively. These actions stem from their efforts to support Trump’s bid to remain in the White House. While they have not yet responded to the criminal charges, they have defended their actions in the disciplinary cases.
In conclusion, the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission’s decision to drop disciplinary charges against Emily Newman and Stefanie Lambert Junttila adds to the ongoing legal saga surrounding the aftermath of the 2020 election. As various lawyers navigate criminal charges and attorney disciplinary actions, the legal community continues grappling with the implications of these high-stakes cases.