Washington AG wins sanctions against attorney behind voter fraud lawsuit

Washington state’s attorney general Bob Ferguson (C) speaks to the media next to Washington state solicitor general Noah Purcell (R) outside the U.S. federal courthouse in downtown Seattle. REUTERS/Dan Levine

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  • Top state prosecutor will also ask Washington bar to discipline Virginia Shogren
  • Dozens of lawsuits claiming fraud in the 2020 elections rejected by courts

(Reuters) – Washington State’s top prosecutor said Wednesday that his office won court sanctions against an attorney behind a post-2020 presidential election lawsuit alleging state officials were illegally registering non-citizens to vote, and said he will also ask bar officials to discipline the lawyer.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the Washington Supreme Court last month ordered lawyer Virginia Shogren to pay nearly $19,000 in attorneys fees for violating a rule against frivolous appeals. The court also directed Shogren’s client in the lawsuit, the Washington Election Integrity Coalition United, to pay about $9,500 in costs.

Shogren on Wednesday declined to comment, saying the case is still pending. The Washington State Bar Association website lists her as a solo attorney admitted to the association in 2003 and eligible to practice.

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WEICU, which describes itself on its website as a nonprofit “committed to transparent, trackable, secure and publicly verified elections,” did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Shogren and WEICU have until mid-June to challenge the award amount.

Five of the court’s justices last month granted a request from Ferguson’s office to grant sanctions against the plaintiffs, after the state attorney general argued the lawsuit violated the rule against frivolous appeals.

WEICU’s petition, filed in Oct. 2021 in Washington Supreme Court, alleged without direct evidence that Governor Jay Inslee and other state employees were knowingly registering non-citizens to vote. An affidavit attached to the complaint cited statements made by a former state Department of Licensing employee at an “election integrity” event in August 2021.

State Supreme Court Commissioner Michael Johnston in January dismissed the lawsuit, saying the petitioners failed “to present competent evidence in support of their bald assertions of widespread noncitizen voter fraud.”

Ferguson said in a statement that he plans to soon file an ethics complaint against Shogren with the Washington State Bar Association.

“We will continue fighting to protect our elections from these baseless lawsuits that push ‘the Big Lie,’” he said.

Courts in 2020 and 2021 rejected dozens of lawsuits that sought to overturn the 2020 election results. Some courts have issued sanctions against attorneys behind those complaints, including Sidney Powell, an ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Other lawyers tied to election fraud claims are facing investigations from state bars. The Texas state bar last week sought discipline against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over an election lawsuit he led at the U.S. Supreme Court, and a New York appellate court last year suspended the law license of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani for making baseless allegations of election fraud.

Read more:

Giuliani’s law license suspended over false Trump election claims

Texas seeks discipline for top lawyer over ‘dishonest’ election claims

‘Profound abuse’: Judge disciplines pro-Trump lawyers over election lawsuit

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