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One-time advisor of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
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(Reuters) – The Delaware Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a state judge's decision blocking conservative lawyer L. Lin Wood from representing former Donald Trump advisor Carter Page in a defamation lawsuit.
The high court found Delaware Superior Court Judge Craig Karsnitz abused his discretion when he revoked Wood's admission status, finding that Karsnitz made factual assertions without developing a record or giving Wood a chance to appear before the court.
Wood is among the attorneys who attempted to overturn former President Trump's 2020 defeat to Joe Biden through lawsuits alleging widespread election fraud, which Karsnitz cited in his January 2021 ruling disqualifying Wood from appearing in Page's case.
Although the Delaware Supreme Court's order favors Wood, he won't be able to help Page – the high court on Wednesday also upheld the dismissal of Page's defamation lawsuit.
Page sued Oath Inc, then the parent companies of Yahoo! News and the Huffington Post, over a series of articles the outlets ran in 2016 and 2017. Page alleged the articles falsely accused him of working with Russian agents to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
In his ruling last year, Karsnitz cited a Georgia court that described one of Wood's election cases as "textbook frivolous litigation." But the Delaware Supreme Court said there was no ruling at either the trial or appellate level finding Wood's complaint in the Page case was "frivolous or filed in bad faith."
Karsnitz also said he had "no doubt" that Wood's now-deleted tweets alleging election fraud played a role in inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building by pro-Trump supporters. But the Delaware Supreme Court said Karsnitz's "willingness to pin" the Jan. 6 attack on Wood "without any evidence or giving Wood an opportunity to respond is indicative of an unfair process."
Wood praised the court's ruling in an email, calling it a "refreshing and much needed reminder to the public that the rule of law is and must remain non-partisan."
Del. judge blocks Lin Wood as repercussions grow for lawyers who pressed election claims
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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.
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