Welcome

Lawyer Wood Booted Off Carter Page Case as Judge Rips Incitement

Jan. 11, 2021, 10:30 PM

Attorney L. Lin Wood, who led an unsuccessful effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election through the courts, lost the right to represent political operative Carter Page in Delaware on Monday, when a judge slammed him for inflammatory tweets, saying they partly “incited” the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

“At least one tweet called for the arrest and execution of our vice-president,” and “another alleged claims against” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that are “too disgusting and outrageous to repeat,” Judge Craig A. Karsnitz wrote. “No doubt these tweets, and many other things, incited these riots.”

But Karsnitz stressed that he was “not here to litigate if Mr. Wood was ultimately the source of the incitement.” The revocation of Wood’s authorization to represent Page was based on his election lawsuits, not his tweets before a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters sought to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, the judge said.

“The conduct of Mr. Wood, albeit not in my jurisdiction, exhibited a toxic stew of mendacity, prevarication, and surprising incompetence,” he wrote. “I acknowledge that I preside over a small part of the legal world in a small state. However, we take pride in our bar.”

The Delaware Superior Court ruling came three weeks after the judge ordered Wood to explain why his involvement in three cases challenging President-Elect Biden’s victory didn’t disqualify him from representing Page, the plaintiff in a defamation case stemming from the Mueller probe.

Karsnitz noted at the time that a judge had found the Georgia election case to have “no basis in fact or law,” using language found in a Delaware ethics rule setting forth the minimum requirements for any legal action. Wood also “filed or caused” the filing of a false affidavit in that case, according to the Dec. 18 order to show cause.

The Wisconsin cases, meanwhile, “appear” to have involved “multiple deficiencies” and improprieties, including having been brought “on behalf of a person who had not authorized it” and having referenced a “fictitious” citation in a filing signed by Wood’s co-counsel, the judge said at the time.

In his Jan. 6 response, Wood stressed that none of those actions could form the basis for discipline in Delaware because they all took place in other states. He was also a party, not counsel, in one of the Wisconsin cases, the filing noted.

Karsnitz acknowledged Monday that those assertions were accurate. The question is not whether Wood violated the code of conduct but whether he’s “of sufficient character” to practice in Delaware, the judge said.

“The Georgia case was textbook frivolous litigation,” and one of the Wisconsin complaints “would not survive a law school civil procedure class,” he wrote.

The decision removes Wood from Page’s case, which targets Oath Inc., the former name of Verizon Communications subsidiary Verizon Media, which includes Yahoo! and AOL.

The suit accuses Yahoo! of “maliciously” publishing “false accusations” that Page was “secretly plotting with Russian leaders to sabotage the 2016 presidential election"—using language that implied he had acted treasonously—to help Democrats “concoct” a “collusion” narrative “out of thin air.”

Page was investigated but never charged in connection with Russia’s election interference.

Page is represented by Bellew LLC, Miller Keefer & Pedigo PLLC, and Pierce Bainbridge PC. Oath Inc. is represented by Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP and Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.

The case is Page v Oath Inc., Del. Super. Ct., No. S20C-07-03, 1/11/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Leonard in Washington at mleonard@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

To read more articles log in.

Learn more about a Bloomberg Law subscription.