US wants $100,000-plus from immigrant who sued over forgery

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. officials want a Mexican immigrant and his lawyers to pay legal fees after he lost his effort to hold the government responsible for a federal immigration lawyer forging a document to try to get him deported.

Ignacio Lanuza sued in 2014, helping prompt a criminal investigation that sent the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement lawyer to jail.

His lawsuit also established legal precedent concerning constitutional rights during immigration proceedings and resulted in a small settlement from the lawyer.

But a judge rejected his effort to hold the federal government liable. The Justice Department says Lanuza’s claim was frivolous and wants his team to pay legal fees that will likely top $100,000.

Lanuza’s attorneys say their effort was creative, good-faith lawyering — not an abuse of the judicial process.