Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has asked a court to force former President Donald Trump, his lawyers, and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees over their presidential election lawsuits.
In court documents filed on Wednesday, attorneys for Evers called lawsuits that disputed the 2020 election results “meritless” and “built on inscrutable conspiracy theories.”
He called for $106,000 in sanctions against Powell, and $144,000 against Trump and his attorneys, according to court documents.
“This litigation imposed significant costs on the taxpayers of Wisconsin,” attorneys for Evers said in court documents filed against Trump. “Those costs were needless, because Trump’s suit never had any merit, this litigation was precluded by exclusive state-court proceedings, and the costs were exacerbated by strategic choices made by Trump and his lawyers.”
The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate Wednesday, right as the state sees an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and faces another potential surge.
In a 4-3 decision, the conservative majority court ruled Evers, a Democrat, violated state law and exceeded his authority by unilaterally issuing multiple emergency orders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
After lawmakers opted not to require face coverings indoors, Evers used the emergency declarations to impose and extend the mandate four times over the past year, including as recently as February. The court found that after the expiration of the first 60-day mandate, which Evers issued in August, the governor needed legislative approval to expand the order.
State law says governors can issue health emergencies for 60 days, after which the legislature must approve any extensions. Evers argued he could issue new emergency declarations without lawmakers’ approval in the face of an unpredictable pandemic.
The decision comes as the state grapples with another round of rising COVID-19 cases. The seven-day daily average jumped from fewer than 400 cases earlier this month to more than 500 as of Tuesday, the AP reported. A state health official told the outlet the state is seeing “warning signs” of another possible surge in infections.
Evers responded to the defeat in a series of tweets Wednesday morning, saying he’s “worked to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe” since the beginning of the pandemic, and has “trusted the science and public health experts to guide … decision making.”
“This is no run-of-the-mill case,” she wrote. “We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that so far has claimed the lives of over a half million people in this country. And with the stakes so high, the majority not only arrives at erroneous conclusions, but it also obscures the consequence of its decision. Unfortunately, the ultimate consequence of the majority’s decision is that it places yet another roadblock to an effective governmental response to COVID-19.”
Republican lawmakers celebrated the decision Wednesday, according to the AP, saying people and businesses should be free to make their own decisions and “don’t need state government telling them how to live their lives.”