Legal Ethics

Lawyer Fined $20K for ‘Wild Accusations’ in Suit Over Obama Citizenship


A Georgia federal judge has fined California lawyer Orly Taitz $20,000 for her litigation tactics in a suit questioning whether Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen.

U.S. District Judge Clay Land said he had no reservations about sanctioning Taitz, the Cincinnati Ledger-Enquirer reports. “A clearer case could not exist; a weaker message would not suffice.”

Land had dismissed Taitz’s suit contending Obama had no authority to deploy an Army captain to Iraq and told her never to pursue a “frivolous” claim again. She filed a motion for reconsideration the next day. Earlier this month she filed a recusal motion that implied Land may have dismissed the action because of an improper “whisper” by Attorney General Eric Holder, who was reportedly spotted in a coffeeshop near the courthouse. She also claimed Land was influenced by improper stock holdings.

“Counsel’s contention that the undersigned has a financial interest in this case is perhaps more preposterous than the phantom visit with the attorney general,” Land wrote in the order (PDF). “The action certainly did not implicate Microsoft or Comcast, the two investments specifically referred to in counsel’s motion.”

“The absolute absence of any legitimate legal argument, combined with the political diatribe in her motions, demonstrates that Ms. Taitz’s purpose is to advance a political agenda and not to pursue a legitimate legal cause of action,” Land said. “Rather than citing to binding legal precedent, she calls the president names, accuses the undersigned of treason, and gratuitously slanders the president’s father. …

“Counsel’s wild accusations may be protected by the First Amendment when she makes them on her blog or in her press conferences, but the federal courts are reserved for hearing genuine legal disputes, not as a platform for political rhetoric and personal insults.”

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