Here’s the latest from the bullying, virtue signaling, mostly Democratic, anti-President Donald J. Trump segment of the legal profession.
Superior Court Judge Craig A. Karsnitz of Baltimore ruled last week that former Trump adviser Carter Page could not be represented by his choice of legal counsel, L. Lin Wood, in a defamation case stemming from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
Judge Karsnitz said a couple of hyperbolic tweets by Wood in support of Trump’s claims of election fraud “no doubt” helped “incite” the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. It’s not clear how Judge Karsnitz knows this, let alone know it to a certainty. He did not point to any actual evidence that Wood’s impassioned (some would say inflammatory) tweets incited anything but backlash against Wood.
No Election Fraud?
Judge Karsnitz’ ruling bordered on breathless.
For one thing, he concluded there was no election fraud in Georgia and that Wood’s lawsuit to that effect was “without basis in law or fact.”
Georgia U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten’s ruled that Wood, who was only a party in the Georgia lawsuit, lacked standing to bring the case. Moreover, Batten’s ruling is being appealed.
Georgia legislators held two hearings where dozens of witnesses testified to the existence of voter fraud. Among other things, it was alleged 40,279 voters had moved across country at least 30 days prior to election day and 10,315 voters were dead. A notorious video showed state officials continuing to count ballots, pulled from underneath covered tables, after election observers went home. Biden won Georgia by only about 12,500 votes.
Judge Karsnitz also criticized Wood for a filing in Wisconsin that contained spelling errors, summarily rejecting Wood’s claim that as “Counsel for Notice” he did not write or proofread the document.
No Jurisdiction But …
Judge Karsnitz acknowledged he had no jurisdiction to sanction Wood for improper conduct but he nevertheless effectively sanctioned Wood for improper conduct. He withdrew his permission granted last August for Wood to represent Page in the Baltimore case as an out of state attorney. Judges routinely allow attorneys who are not members of the state bar to represent clients in lawsuits filed in the state.
“The conduct of Mr. Wood, albeit not in my jurisdiction, exhibited a toxic stew of mendacity, prevarication and surprising incompetence,” said Judge Karsnitz.
Twitter suspended Wood’s account so his tweets are no longer available but there appears to be a discrepancy in Judge Karsnitz’ ruling. He said Wood “called for” the arrest and execution of Vice-President Michael Pence. Other sources, including Wikipedia, claim Wood suggested Pence would “face execution by firing squad” for treasonous conduct. There’s a difference.
Judge Karsnitz also said Wood made claims against U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that are “too disgusting and outrageous to repeat.”
Judge Karsnitz did not address why Wood is not entitled to freedom of speech even if that speech is obnoxious to Judge Karsnitz.
Denial of Counsel
Perhaps the most serious consequence of Judge Karsnitz’ ruling is that Page was deprived of the services of his chosen counsel.
Wood is a well known expert in defamation law, having successfully represented Richard Jewell, the security guard falsely accused in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996..
Page sued Oath Inc., a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, now Verizon Media, the owner of Yahoo! and former owner of HuffPost, which was sold to BuzzFeed in November. He claims Yahoo! and HuffPost falsely portrayed him as a traitor who plotted with Russian leaders to sabotage the 2016 election. Mueller did not find any wrongdoing by Page.
Karsnitz’ party affiliation is not clear but he was appointed to the Superior Court of Delaware by Democratic Gov John Carney in Oct. 22, 2018. He is a former personal injury attorney.