It turns out that outgoing Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is a political hack. Fox recently joined the Clown Circus by signing onto a frivolous legal challenge on behalf of a defeated President Donald Trump. He voluntarily threw away his integrity, and in the process, embarrassed not only himself, but the entire State of Montana, by joining a wingnut lawsuit filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a man who is under indictment for securities fraud and is the subject of several FBI investigations involving bribery.
Fox’s caving into Trump’s paranoia clearly demonstrated his willingness to do whatever it takes, including attempting to destroy the fundamentals of American democracy, in order to stay on the good side of a president who will soon be out of office. By supporting an effort to throw out the vote of tens of millions of Americans in four states, Fox has demonstrated his contempt for the voting public, including voters from the State of Montana.
When an attorney signs and presents to a Court any document, he/she is making certain promises. Under Rule 11, of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the filing attorney represents to the Court that the document (1) is not being presented for any improper purpose such as to harass or cause unnecessary delay, (2) that it is warranted by existing law and is not a frivolous argument, and (3) there is factual evidence to support the filing.
The Texas lawsuit was predicated on the idea that the election of Joe Biden was fraudulent. However Trump’s own lawyers have admitted before judges in several states that their cases are not about fraud. And U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has said publicly that the Department of Justice, including the FBI, had not uncovered anything that would alter the election’ s outcome. Simply put: the Texas lawsuit was filed without any evidence whatsoever to substantiate this claim. It’s just a case of putting lipstick on the same pig that has been summarily tossed out of every lower court dozens of times.
Unfortunately for Fox, his actions may have triggered serious personal consequences.
Attorneys who violate Rule 11 are subject to sanctions by the Court, including monetary and nonmonetary sanctions. Additionally, an attorney who violates Rule 11 has also committed an ethical violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which are the ethical rules that attorneys in Montana must follow. It is the duty of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) to prosecute attorneys who violate these Rules. The penalty for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct can range from written or verbal reprimands to disbarment.
Montanans should be appalled that an elected official, using taxpayer funds, has taken part in this fiasco and violated his own oath to protect and defend the Constitution and to protect the country from all enemies foreign and domestic.
Everyone who supported Tim Fox should feel an enormous sense of regret. Montana needed an attorney general who should have been a voice of reason against Trump’s hysteria and lies but instead we got a cheerleader whose disgraceful partisanship is in full view for all to see.
Sadly, Fox has wholeheartedly joined the Clown Circus.
Steve Nardi lives in Lakeside.
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