United States President Donald Trump suffered yet another setback in his efforts to overturn the Nov. 3 election results, as a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by his campaign to reject millions of votes by correspondence in the State of Pennsylvania.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann ruled on Saturday that Trump’s campaign failed to demonstrate widespread electoral fraud in the vote, which Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
“This Court has been presented with unfounded strained legal arguments and speculative accusations,” Brann wrote.
“In the United States of America, that cannot justify the deprivation of the right to vote of just one voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populous state,” the scathing opinion said. “Our people, our laws and our institutions demand more.”
The trial, led by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, aimed to prevent officials from certifying Biden’s victory in the state, arguing that some counties had wrongly allowed voters to correct errors on their ballots by mail.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the seven-majority Biden counties pursued by the campaign had argued that Trump had already raised similar claims and lost.
They told Brann that the remedy sought by the Trump campaign – rejecting millions of votes on alleged isolated issues – was far too extreme, especially after most of them were counted.
“There is no justification at any level for the radical deprivation of their voting rights,” Boockvar’s lawyers wrote in a brief filed Thursday.
Giuliani, who made his first courtroom appearance in 30 years for a hearing in the case on Tuesday, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Biden and Trump campaigns also did not immediately answer questions.
‘End of line’
Giuliani and other Trump lawyers pitched a variety of conspiracy theories at a press conference Thursday, claiming the election was marred by widespread voter fraud. But they have had little success in court.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, tweeted shortly after Brann’s decision, saying, “Another bites the dust.”
Trump and his allies have now won two election-related cases and lost 34, according to Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias.
Democrats said Saturday’s scathing verdict was further proof the accusations were false.
“This is what a full kick of the president’s legal effort looks like,” Elias, who was involved in the Pennsylvania case, wrote on Twitter.
Giuliani has signaled in legal documents that he will be filing an appeal, but he has little time to do so before the state formalizes Biden’s victory on Monday.
“When it comes to litigation, I think that’s the end of the line for them,” said Benjamin Geffen of the Public Interest Legal Center, who was also involved in the case.
Trump seeks to invalidate or alter election results through recounts and direct pressure on lawmakers in several states. It is expected to prevail in at least three states to prevent Biden from being sworn in as president on January 20. Trump’s critics have called the effort an unprecedented push by a sitting president to reverse the will of voters.
In the state of Michigan, Republicans wrote to state officials on Saturday asking them to wait 14 days to certify Biden’s victory in order to allow an audit of ballots in Wayne County, which includes the predominantly black city of Detroit. The letter cited allegations of “irregularities” which were not substantiated. Biden won 154,000 more votes than Trump in Michigan.
This effort faces long chances. A spokesperson for Michigan’s top electoral authority said state law does not allow audits until the vote is certified, which is expected to take place on Monday. The allegations of widespread fraud were found to be baseless, the spokesperson said.
Two leading Michigan Republican lawmakers, who came to Washington at Trump’s request, said after meeting with him on Friday that they had no information that would change the state’s election result.
In Wisconsin, an official said ill-trained observers for the Trump campaign were slowing a partial recount by challenging every ballot and raising other objections.
“Observers are disruptive. They ask question after question, telling the tabulators to stop, to stop what they are doing and it’s irrelevant, it’s not acceptable, ”Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said.
A manual recount and an audit in Georgia confirmed on Friday that Biden was the winner in Southern State, the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in nearly three decades.
The Trump campaign has two business days to request a recount in Georgia. Trump’s legal team also said they were planning a trial in the state, but did not provide details.
Trump’s accusations continued to inflame his tough Republican base.
Hundreds of supporters gathered at the Statehouse in Atlanta on Saturday, with a video posted online showing speakers denouncing the media for calling Biden the winner of the election, as well as Republican state leaders for certifying the results.
Police officers in riot gear were deployed to separate them from counter-protesters who gathered nearby.
The General Service Administration, led by a person appointed by Trump, did not recognize Biden’s victory, barring his team from accessing government offices and funding normally provided to a new administration before the day of the election. inauguration on January 20.
Critics say Trump’s delay and refusal to concede has serious implications for national security and the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 255,000 Americans.
Biden, who denounced Trump’s attempt to reverse the election results as “totally irresponsible,” spent Saturday meeting with transition counselors and attending church.
Trump attended a virtual summit of the 20 largest economies in the world, then went golfing at his club in Sterling, Virginia.