Tuesday, April 13, 2021
April 13, 2021

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Pro-Trump lawyer L. Lin Wood enlists ‘Army of Patriots’ in battle to retain law license

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ATLANTA — Atlanta attorney L. Lin Wood took to social media over the weekend with a dramatic plea: “I need the help of We the People.”

Wood, famous first as a defamation lawyer and now as a proselyte of former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud, had just received a nearly 1,700-page document from the State Bar of Georgia that threatened to end his 43-year legal career. In it, the Bar’s Disciplinary Board said it had initiated a grievance against Wood over his conduct in connection with his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

On the internet messaging service Telegram on Saturday, Wood enlisted an “Army of Patriots” to investigate his accusers, to scrutinize their social media posts, their political affiliations, their connections and clients — anything that would challenge their “competence, qualifications or objectivity.”

He posted the names of the Disciplinary Board’s 18 members, along with their addresses. For at least four board members, Wood provided his followers with home addresses.

More than 350,000 Telegram users viewed Wood’s post. And within hours, his army was reporting its findings. One post listed intimate facts about a board member: her wedding date in 2019, her husband’s name, his work as a lawyer, the city where they live. It also included rank speculation: “Works with lobbyists for the state. Gives her husband plum appointments. Must be recused.”

The episode shows that Wood, one of Trump’s most vocal advocates since the November election, will fight the State Bar’s disciplinary action with the same tenacity he has shown while taking on news organizations, business executives and others he has accused of defaming his clients, beginning with Richard Jewell, the initial suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park Bombing of 1996.

In an interview Monday, Wood defended identifying the disciplinary panel’s members, 14 of whom are lawyers. He said their names and addresses already were public information.

“Why are they so nervous about people investigating them?” he said. “Nobody’s harassing them. No one has called for them to be attacked or threatened. I would never do that.”

He added: “They started the fight with me. I did not start it with them. But I’m going to finish it.”

Officials at the State Bar did not respond to requests for comment. The disciplinary process normally is confidential unless the Bar takes formal action against a lawyer.

Last month, the Bar acknowledged it had ordered Wood to undergo a psychiatric examination after it received two complaints about his conduct. Wood said Monday he never received a formal order, and he wrote on Telegram that his internist had declared him mentally competent after several examinations last year.

In the grievance notice dated Feb. 5, the disciplinary panel said Wood may have violated several of the Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct, including those that prohibit lawyers from making false or specious claims and that require truthfulness in their public conduct.

The panel cited lawsuits Wood filed or helped prepare that alleged election fraud. All were rejected either on procedural grounds or for a lack of credible evidence.

In a Michigan case, the panel said, Wood cited a “former U.S. military intelligence expert” who actually had failed a training program and was not an intelligence analyst. A Wisconsin case was filed in the name of a defeated Republican congressional candidate who said he hadn’t agreed to be a plaintiff. In Arizona, a judge ruled that Wood and his associates presented “little to no relevant or reliable evidence” of alleged fraud.

“Allegations that find favor in the public sphere of gossip and innuendo cannot be a substitute for earnest pleadings and procedure in federal court,” U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa wrote.

The disciplinary panel also referred to some of Wood’s most inflammatory social media posts of recent months. Several posts accused U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts of pedophilia. And on Jan. 6, hours before Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Wood declared the day to be “1776 Again.”

“The time has come, Patriots,” he wrote. “This is our time. Time to take back our country. Time to fight for our freedom. Pledge your lives, your fortunes & your sacred honor. There will not be a second chance.”

Later, as Trump supporters approached the Capitol, Wood tweeted that Vice President Mike Pence was a “TRAITOR” who should be arrested, and he reposted an exhortation from a conservative activist: “Enter the U.S. Capitol Building. Enter both Houses. … Fight for us. Fight for Trump.”

The following day, after Pence refused Trump’s request to reject the Electoral College results, Wood tweeted: “Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST.”

Twitter has since banned Wood from its platform.

In the interview, Wood described his tweets as constitutionally protected “rhetorical hyperbole.” He said he told U.S. Secret Service agents the same thing when they questioned him last month.

Any suggestion that he incited violence, Wood said, is “errant nonsense.”

In the interview and on social media, Wood continued to claim that Trump actually won the election and that President Joe Biden does not legitimately hold the office. “I believe the United States military knows exactly what happened in this case,” Wood said in a video he posted to Telegram. “It’s just a matter of time. They have a plan.”

The Bar’s investigation, Wood said, is intended to retaliate against him for advocating on Trump’s behalf. After the election, he alleged that Georgia officials had committed crimes while ensuring Biden was declared the winner in the state, and he thinks those officials may be using the Bar to drive him out of the practice of law.

“I’m going to find out who’s involved,” Wood said. “And when I do, I’m going to sue every damn one of them.”

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