Attorney Lin Wood was one of several lawyers who unsuccessfully challenged President Biden’s election win in courtrooms in Michigan and Wisconsin last year.
He was also among those who called for Trump supporters to fight in the weeks leading up to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington.
“It’s 1776 in America again,” Wood said in a December 2020 rally in Georgia, claiming the election was rigged by Democrats and the Chinese government. “You’re not going to take our freedom. We’re going to fight for our liberty.
Now, Wood is fighting to keep his position as a guest lawyer in a defamation case filed by Carter Page against Oath, Inc., the one-time parent company of Yahoo News and Huffington Post which is incorporated in Delaware.
Wood was denied what’s called pro hoc vice, a Latin phrase meaning “for this occasion.” That allows an out of state lawyer to be added to a case even if they’re not licensed to practice in that state.
Following the Jan. 6 attack, Wood’s out-of-state legal accommodation was denied by Superior Court Judge Craig Karsnitz. His ruling pointed to Wood’s activities in courts in other states as a “toxic stew of mendacity, prevarication, and surprising incompetence.”
Karsnitz’s ruling also pointed to tweets Wood posted or shared that called for the arrest and execution of then-Vice President Mike Pence. “No doubt these tweets, and many other things, incited these riots,” the judge wrote.
Karsnitz would go on to say that his ruling wasn’t based on those tweets or his involvement in the events of Jan. 6. Instead, he ruled that it would be “inappropriate and inadvisable” to allow him to work in Delaware based on his role in federal litigation in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan contesting the 2020 presidential election.
A Michigan judge called Wood’s effort to decertify that state’s election results alongside fellow Trump attorney Sidney Powell “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.” Wood was among nine attorneys penalized by a federal Judge Linda Parker for what she called “historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”
Delaware lawyer Ron Poliquin appeared before the state Supreme Court this week, to appeal Wood’s rejection.
Even though Karsnitz said the activity related to Jan. 6 wasn’t part of his decision-making process in Wood’s access to court in Delaware being revoked, Poliquin argued Wood’s actions outside of Delaware should not have even been mentioned.
“At the time of revocation, Mr. Woods was not under investigation for any such misconduct,” Poliquin said. “The right for a litigant to choose its own counsel is paramount and should only be infringed in very few situations.”
Poliquin also claimed Woods was denied an opportunity for a fair hearing after the court’s ruling was issued.
“What did the trial court do? It cancels a scheduled hearing, issues a decision not only finding Mr. Wood in violation of its rules of professional conduct, but also holds Mr. Wood partially responsible for the horrible events of January 6, 2021, in our nation’s capital, without giving Mr. Wood any opportunity to respond.”
Poliquin claimed the Delaware court decision could affect Wood’s future job prospects. “Mr. Wood is routinely admitted as outside counsel in other states. A decision like this affects those admissions,” he said.
Attorney Matthew Boyer argued for the state in favor of revoking Wood’s access to Delaware courts.
He said when the decision was issued just days after the Jan. 6 attack, the events of that day were still very raw in the minds of many. But he adds Karsnitz’s mentioning of Wood’s role in fomenting the rioters didn’t play a factor in the judge’s decision.
“That was, some would say, a cataclysmic event. So, it’s the elephant in the room that perhaps you could say maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned. But the fact that he mentioned it doesn’t mean he relied upon it, particularly when he expressly states as a sitting judge: ‘I am not relying on this,’” Boyer said.
Pointing to legal battles Wood faces around the country, Boyer said the revocation of his access to Delaware courts is way down on the list of things that could impair his future employment.
“It’s really the tail wagging the dog to suggest what happened here in the Superior Court in Delaware is causing Mr. Wood his difficulties,” he said. “That would be blinding ourselves to what really went on and what was addressed by the court in Michigan, in its opinion that came out in August.”
It’s not clear when the Delaware Supreme Court will issue its ruling.
The Wood case is not the only matter related to the 2020 election being decided by Delaware courts.
Justices are also considering a case brought by the conservative foundation Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation who sued the University of Delaware over the school’s denial of requests to access documents from President Biden’s 30 years in the U.S. Senate.
The demand to access the thousands of papers Biden donated to UD in 2011 when he was VP stems from sexual assault accusations against Biden from former staffer Tara Reade nearly 30 years ago. Biden has denied those allegations.
The Supreme Court has not yet issued a ruling in that case after oral arguments were heard in September.