Georgia bar says mental health exam isn't key to Lin Wood's fate

5 minute read

Attorney L. Lin Wood speaks during a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S., December 2, 2020. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

(Reuters) - The Georgia state bar is pushing back against L. Lin Wood's attempt to dodge the attorney licensing body's request that he undergo a mental health evaluation.

In a series of filings made in Atlanta federal court on Monday, the state bar said Wood, who embraced conspiracy theories and gained a large social media following challenging former President Donald Trump's election defeat, would not lose his law license if he failed to be evaluated.

But the bar said its request for a mental health evaluation is part of its overall investigation into Wood, who has called for the execution of the former U.S. vice president and allegedly attacked two of his former law colleagues.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Wood could lose his license at the end of the investigation, but he will have numerous opportunities to contest the evidence against him, the bar said. That evidence includes allegations of physical violence Wood's former colleagues have made against him in a pending lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court.

Wood sued the members of the Georgia state bar's disciplinary board in March, alleging that its request for a mental health examination violates his First Amendment speech rights.

"The actions brought against me by the State Bar of Georgia, are frivolous," Wood told Reuters on Tuesday. "They are driven by the political agenda of the elite establishment that presently controls the Georgia bar."

Wood disputed the allegations in the Fulton County lawsuit, saying that he never assaulted his former colleagues. He also said he has evidence that Pence was guilty of treason, but claimed he didn't call for his execution, asserting he was using "rhetorical or political hyperbole" that was also protected speech.

The state bar argued the federal court has no jurisdiction to get involved in a disciplinary proceeding at the state level, arguing only the Georgia Supreme Court can weigh in. Similarly, Wood is also unable to obtain a preliminary injunction against the bar, the defendants contend.

Additionally, Wood is not entitled to receive compensatory damages or attorney fees, the state bar argued.

The defendants are also contesting Wood's motion to disqualify U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten from hearing the case. Wood has claimed Batten must be disqualified or recuse himself because he dismissed two election-related lawsuits Wood spearheaded.

"A reasonable person, apprised of all relevant facts, would not have any doubt regarding Judge Batten's impartiality simply because he previously served as judge in a case involving plaintiff," the state bar wrote in its filing.

Batten on Monday scheduled a May 13 hearing on Wood's motions for a preliminary injunction and a new judge. Wood told Reuters that he believed Batten "is corrupt or has been threatened."

The state bar's response comes more than a week after Wood quit a New York federal lawsuit he brought on behalf of a woman who has alleged she was defamed by MSNBC host Joy Reid.

Reid and her attorneys sought to oust Wood from the case after he claimed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and that U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is connected to a pedophile cult and illegally adopted two children with the aid of Jeffrey Epstein. Wood told Reuters last week he stepped aside because it was in the best interests of his client.

In January, Wood was banned from Twitter, where he regularly promoted conspiracy theories associated with QAnon to his large number of followers. He was also blocked from representing former Trump advisor Carter Page by a Delaware state judge who said Wood's claims about Roberts were "too disgusting and outrageous to repeat."

Attorneys at Nall & Miller, who are representing the state bar, did not respond to requests for comment.

The case is Wood v. Frederick, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1:21-cv-011169.

For Lin Wood: Lin Wood pro se; Ibrahim Reyes of Reyes Lawyers; and Larry Crain of Crain Law Group

For defendants: Robert Goldstucker and Patrick Arndt of Nall & Miller

(Note: This story has been updated to include comments from L. Lin Wood.)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

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 d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.