One of President Trump’s Pennsylvania election lawyers says she got an “abusive voicemail” from an attorney on the other side of the case — and she wants the judge to impose punishment over the expression of “ideological hatred.”
In federal court papers, Linda Kerns said a lawyer with the firm of Kirkland & Ellis, which is representing Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, left her a one-minute voicemail at 8:43 p.m. Saturday.
Kerns didn’t detail the message, but said it “by any measure falls afoul of standards of professional conduct,” which require lawyers to “demonstrate respect for the legal system and for those who serve it.”
Kerns, a solo practitioner in Philadelphia, noted that she’s already “been subjected to continuous harassment in the form of abusive e-mails, phone calls, physical and economic threats, and even accusations of treason — all for representing the President of the United States’ campaign in this litigation.”
“It is sad that we currently reside in a world where abuse and harassment are the costs of taking on a representation unpopular with some,” she wrote.
“It is sanctionable when that abuse and harassment comes from an elite law firm representing the Secretary of State. An appropriate sanction should issue — one which deters such misconduct in the future.”
In response, Kirkland & Ellis lawyer Daniel Donovan disagreed with Kerns’ “characterization of the voicemail” but said he’d admitted to her that it “was discourteous and not appropriate.”
Donovan also asked that Kerns’ motion be dismissed, describing the lawyer who left the voicemail as an unidentified associate “who is not part of the Firm’s litigation group, has never worked on this case, and was not aware of Kirkland’s role in the case.”
“That associate was acting unilaterally, in his personal capacity, without the knowledge or authorization of undersigned counsel or the Firm,” he added.
In a reply brief, Kern doubled down on her request for sanctions, arguing that “one of the world’s largest law firms thinks its very size excuses the conduct of one of its lawyers.”
“And the associate who foolishly chose to vent his ideological hatred in a way no lawyer should has yet to even apologize,” she added.
The controversy follows last week’s decision by the firm of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur to quit representing Trump in the case after coming under fire from the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project.
At least one Porter, Wright attorney resigned in protest over the firm’s decision to do election-related work for Trump and the Republican Party, the New York Times reported.
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