Donald Trump accused Wisconsin’s Democratic governor of impugning his character in a motion for legal fees stemming from the former president’s lawsuit to reverse the result of the 2020 election.
Gov. Tony Evers used “inflammatory adjectives” like “outrageous,” “baseless” and “cynical” to describe Trump’s lawsuit and falsely described the case as an “attempt to hijack the democratic process,” Trump said in a filing late Monday challenging the state’s request.
“Governor Evers’ filings were expressly intended to be ‘punitive,’ and his attention-grabbing invective was foreseeably quoted directly in numerous press stories,” Trump said in the filing in Milwaukee federal court, adding that the state’s March motion was too late.
The clash is part of the legal fallout from dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits by Trump and his supporters seeking to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden by nullifying millions of votes in swing states.
The governor’s lawyer, Jeffrey A. Mandell, said in a statement that the motion was filed on time and that Trump’s lawsuit was “factually baseless and wholly without legal justification.”
“The lawsuit was an abuse of the legal system,” he said. “That is why the governor is asking the court to require Trump and his lawyers to reimburse the costs this frivolous litigation foisted upon Wisconsin taxpayers.”
Evers is seeking $145,000 from Trump to cover the legal expenses the state spent fighting the suit, which aimed to toss out Wisconsin’s 3.3 million votes. Wisconsin is also asking for $106,000 from former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, who filed a separate lawsuit to overturn the election result in the state.
In his filing Monday, Trump argued that his lawsuit wasn’t “frivolous,” as Wisconsin said, because the claims were “recognized to be grounded in viable legal principles” by a federal appeals court as well as three Justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the attorneys generals of at least 18 states, and three Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Indeed, a vote audit is in progress in Arizona's most populous county, while momentum is growing for a similar vote review in Pennsylvania, in the aftermath of the election, during which Trump alleged widespread fraud.
“Governor Evers therefore cannot prevail in his contention that President Trump’s claims were beyond the pale of legitimate constitutional argument,” the ex-president said.
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