Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, officials asked a federal court Thursday to force former President Donald Trump and his counsel to pay them more than $65,000 in attorneys fees after he brought a lawsuit against the state challenging their election results, marking the third request for legal fees in the case and bringing Trump’s potential payment to Wisconsin officials up to at least $253,000.
Trump sued Wisconsin officials after the presidential election and challenged the state’s voting rules, trying to have the court instead compel the GOP-controlled state legislature to choose Wisconsin’s electors, but his lawsuit ultimately failed in both the lower court and at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Milwaukee County officials asked Thursday for Trump and his counsel to pay them $65,520 in attorneys fees that were accrued through April 3—plus any fees that come up after that, as well as sanctions—due to the “extreme, unprecedented, and antidemocratic relief” he asked for in the case.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers filed a similar request last week asking Trump and his counsel to pay $145,174.90 in attorneys fees, saying there was “no doubt that Trump and his attorneys brought and litigated this lawsuit in bad faith.”
Several city officials in Racine, Kenosha and Green Bay, Wisconsin, filed a separate request for attorneys fees on Friday on similar grounds, which asks for $42,570 in fees.
$253,264.90. That’s exactly how much Trump and his lawyers could be forced to pay in attorneys fees to the various defendants in Wisconsin so far.
Trump’s lawyer William Bock denied the claims against the ex-president in a statement to Reuters made after Evers’ request for attorneys fees, and said they would respond to the motion in court. “They’re attacking in the pleadings my motives and the motives of my partners, of which they know nothing,” Bock said. “The statements made about our motives were absolutely false.”
“Fees are warranted here because the extraordinary relief that Trump sought—to nullify the election results in Wisconsin—was objectively unreasonable. There was no plausible legal or factual basis for such far-reaching, anti-democratic relief,” the Milwaukee request for fees argues. “But Trump’s and his attorneys’ dogged insistence on pursuing it anyway forced the parties and the Court into expedited and costly litigation.”
Trump’s Wisconsin lawsuit was struck down in district court by a federal judge who he appointed, who said the president’s legal argument was “contrary both to the plain meaning of the Constitutional text and common sense.”
Trump and his GOP allies led a widespread legal campaign after the election challenging the results in battleground states won by President Joe Biden, which was overwhelmingly unsuccessful and resulted in more than 60 court losses. Many are now facing consequences for their actions: Trump is also facing attorney fees requests in Georgia and the Arizona GOP has already been forced to pay $18,000, and far-right lawyers who pushed post-election lawsuits like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood are now potential disbarment, along with sanctions and other consequences. In addition to his request for Trump to pay legal fees, Evers is also asking for approximately $100,000 in legal fees in a separate case Powell led, which alleged widespread voter fraud and similarly failed at both the lower court level and at the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump’s campaign against the election results has also now come under scrutiny in three lawsuits that allege the president helped incite the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building through his actions.
Wisconsin cities: Trump should pay legal bills for challenge (Associated Press)