• Show Notes

Dear Reader,

I am not done commenting on the Kraken lawyers. You know who I’m talking about. These legal eagles include Trump’s election attorneys, Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, among others. The Kraken, according to Scandinavian folklore, is a humongous squid-like sea monster that rises up from the depths of the ocean to eat its enemies. But the term that now has come to embody this hapless and ridiculous confederacy of dunces was not first invoked by a critical Twitter troll to mock their efforts to overturn the election. No. Last November Ms. Powell herself injected it into the discourse when she appeared on Fox Business for an interview with Lou Dobbs and said this about her plans to undo the election result: “I am going to release the Kraken.” That is what social media types today call a self-own.

Because, as everyone knows, that was some subpar Kraken. Every single suit failed. Put another way: Snap, that Kraken didn’t pop. This happens sometimes. The problem is that many legal experts (and now a federal judge) question the ethics of filing those suits, rife with mistakes and falsehoods and unvetted affidavits, in the first place. The legal filings were so deficient that lawyers for the city of Detroit, where one federal lawsuit was brought by the Kraken, moved for sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. To a layperson, Rule 11 might sound like legal arcana. But to even the most junior or middling lawyer, the specter of Rule 11 sanctions looms like a professional guillotine. Such sanctions are rarely imposed because in the real world judges don’t relish punishing litigators, but every lawyer knows that the suits they sign must pass some basic legal muster – lies and innuendo and wishful allegations don’t suffice. And so this past Monday, Judge Linda Parker of the Eastern District of Michigan oversaw a very long hearing on the question of comeuppance for the Kraken.

It did not go well for the putative sea monsters. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turned into a spectacle. You would think that on the eve of potentially being punished by a federal District Court judge, which punishment might include a financial penalty and a referral to state bar authorities, the Kraken might have approached the proceeding with competence or contrition. They did neither. The Kraken lawyers, it seems, hired other Kraken lawyers for their defense.