Embattled pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood could soon be in even more legal hot water, following allegations by former law partners that he lied to a judge and covered up a scheme to steal their share of settlements involving former Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann.
Making matters worse for Wood, his one-time partners say he wrote the alleged scheme down in a series of late-night emails—documents they now have.
While Wood made his name as a lawyer for people like falsely accused Atlanta Olympics bombing suspect Richard Jewell, he’s since faced a series of professional setbacks after pivoting toward hunting vaporous evidence of “voter fraud” and promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory.
In August, a federal judge in Michigan referred Wood, Sidney Powell, and other lawyers involved in a 2020 election case to their state bars for potential suspension or disbarment, and ordered them to pay legal fees that could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wood is already facing an unrelated potential disbarment in his home state of Georgia after refusing to take a mental-health exam.
Since September 2020, Wood and three former partners in his office—Nicole Wade, Jonathan Grunberg, and Taylor Wilson—have been locked in a legal fight over the fate of an undisclosed amount of money from settlements involving former Kentucky high school student Nick Sandmann. While Sandmann is only described as an unnamed “Disputed Client” in legal filings around the case, it’s clear from details in the motions that he’s the person being described.
Sandmann’s much-discussed 2019 encounter with a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial created a national media debate and turned the MAGA hat-wearing student into a conservative cause célèbre. With Wood as one of his attorneys, Sandmann settled cases against CNN and The Washington Post for undisclosed amounts in 2020.
Those settlements are now at the center of the lawsuit between Wood and his ex-partners, who quit his practice in 2020 after a series of bizarre incidents involving Wood, including an alleged assault on one of the lawyers. For his part, while Wood concedes he described the lawyers as his “partners,” he says they were never truly partners in his firm.
As part of the firm’s break-up, Wood agreed in a March 2020 agreement to pay his ex-partners an undisclosed amount of what he would receive from Sandmann’s settlements. But now, the plaintiffs in the case say Wood was already scheming behind the scenes to dupe them out of the settlement money.
Around 3 a.m. one day in February 2020, the ex-partners allege, Wood sent two emails to Todd McMurtry, his co-counsel on the Sandmann cases. In the emails, entitled “A good idea!” and “Taylor, Jonathan, and Nicole,” Wood purportedly pressed McMurtry to work with the “Disputed Client” to sign an agreement that would take advantage of a Georgia legal rule about payments by objecting to the three other lawyers receiving any money from the Sandmann cases.
“In short, I need your help and the help of [Disputed Client] to nip this nonsense in the bud quickly and quietly… Will you help me?” Wood wrote, according to one court filing.
If genuine, the emails show Wood plotting, in detail, to make sure that his ex-partners wouldn’t receive money from Sandmann’s cases, even as he moved closer to signing an agreement with them to share the funds.
“Their efforts to be greedy could damage me, my family, my legacy, and my clients—which include your clients [REDACTED] if the disputes become public,” Wood allegedly wrote to McMurtry. “This needs to be nipped on the bud and quickly so.”
In July 2020, when Wood was due to hand over the agreed share of the Sandmann money to his ex-partners, he instead insisted that he couldn’t give them any money because the unnamed client had objected to anyone besides Wood receiving money. Wood would later claim that he had no role in the client’s decision not to share the funds—an allegation undermined by his own emails, according to his ex-partners.
“That is fraud,” the former partners allege in one court filing.
Complicating Wood’s position in the case, his ex-partners say he didn’t hand over the emails during discovery, the process in which opposing sides exchange relevant documents in a case. Instead, they say Wood concealed the emails’ existence, lying under oath that he had provided them with all of the documents they asked for.
“Defendants hid their own emails revealing their fraud and actively lied about it to plaintiffs and the court,” the ex-partners allege in their new filing, referring to Wood and his firm.
But while Wood allegedly hid the emails, he had already forwarded them to another attorney in Nevada, who gave them to the plaintiffs earlier this month.
In an email to The Daily Beast, Wood called the accusations that he had lied to a judge about the alleged existence of the scheme and the emails “provably false.” He went on to suggest this article was a part of “Operation Mockingbird,” a conspiracy theory popular with QAnon believers that holds that the CIA controls media outlets.
“This latest motion is just another in a long line of motions seeking to gain negative publicity against me in Communist Mockingbird propaganda rags like The Daily Beast,” Wood wrote. “Litigation by false accusations will not end well for my opponents.
Andrew Beal, the attorney for Wood’s ex-partners, told The Daily Beast his clients “carefully considered” the motion containing the potentially explosive emails.
“We feel real strongly about the motion that we filed,” Beal said.
Despite facing legal issues across the country, Wood has kept up his promotion of conspiracy theories. At a fundraiser this month for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor, for example, Wood claimed the United States government carried out the 9/11 attacks, and said that former President George W. Bush will either be imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay or executed by firing squad for his supposed role in 9/11.
Wood also declared that Joe Biden has never “set foot” in the White House, an apparent reference to conspiracy theories that the Biden administration is being faked, possibly on a Hollywood soundstage.