Wednesday 18 November 2020

Donald Trump LOSES key court case claiming poll watchers could not see votes in Philadelphia - as Rudy Giuliani appears in federal court to claim Democrats has 'nationwide fraud' to steal election

 Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday against Donald Trump's presidential campaign's complaint that observers weren't allowed close enough to observe the electoral count in a state that provided a crucial 20 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.

The 5-2 decision ruled that Pennsylvania counties could determine the particulars of election observers, and that state law only required they be 'in the room' when votes are counted.

The ruling came minutes after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared in federal court to allege a nationwide conspiracy of widespread voter fraud.  

The state supreme court found that restrictions that Philadelphia election officials put in place 'were reasonable in that they allowed candidate representatives to observe the Board conducting its activities as prescribed under the Election Code.'

Among the evidence cited were claims made in the campaign's own witness statements, including by a lawyer who served as an observer and shared observations from inside a vote canvassing facility. The court's opinion, which reversed a lower court ruling which was the Trump camp's only significant victory, noted that the campaign's 'own witness' provided testimony which contradicted the claim.

It said the restrictions 'did not deprive' the observer of the ability to observe what went on with the canvassing process in a meaningful way.

The legal setback snatched away the Trump camp's lone win after filing a series of state lawsuits challenging actions by county election officials in states that went to Democrat Joe Biden. 

Giuliani  took his allegations of widespread voter fraud from the conservative airwaves to federal court, arguing in case in Pennsylvania that the president was the victim of a nationwide conspiracy.

'You'd have to be a fool to think this was an accident,' Giuliani said in federal district court in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

'It’s a widespread nationwide voter fraud of which this is a part.' Trump and his lawyers have yet to provide evidence of such a nationwide conspiracy – although they have increasingly pointed to voting machines that the president claims 'deleted'  votes from him and 'switched' them to Joe Biden. 

Giuliani did not raise complaints about voting machines in court, instead claiming Democratic-controlled counties didn't allow Republicans to see 'a single absentee ballot' during counting.

'I used to vote by absentee ballot a lot, because I traveled a lot,' Giuliani acknowledged during his argument. 

Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani (fourth from left) appeared in person in federal court in Pennsylvania to argue a case – only to have the state Supreme Court overturn a lower court win for Team Trump

Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani (fourth from left) appeared in person in federal court in Pennsylvania to argue a case – only to have the state Supreme Court overturn a lower court win for Team Trump

Giuliani traveled in person to make his case in court, amid chaos and drama amid the president's legal team – with lawyers removing themselves from cases, a shakeup, reports of a legal 'coup,' and a report denied by Giuliani that the former mayor of New York is getting paid $20,000 per day.

Rather than cite case law, Giuliani described a conspiracy to rig the election with simultaneous actions in big cities located within states Joe Biden won, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to Detroit and Milwaukee.

'The places it happened, it just all happened to be big cities controlled by Democrats,' he said.

He even invoked the close 1960 election and the infamous Daley machine in Chicago.

He called Philadelphia 'well known for voter fraud.' Without evidence, he accused big cities of 'holding back' votes.

Federal district court judge Matthew Brann allowed Giuliani to talk at length as he wove together his scenario, even amid a string of individual legal defeats and having individual claims of dead people voting fall apart, including by a 94-year-old widow who told she cast one of the ballots Trump claimed was submitted by a dead voter.

'This mail in system new mail-in system …. This whole situation on a smaller scale goes back to as early as 1960 when Mayor Daley held back votes in Chicago so that he could tidy up the result to make sure it would go the way he wanted,' Giuliani said.

'This practice of holding back votes, which happens in my city also your honor, is a time honored practice.'

After hearing arguments and motions for a total six hours, Brann peppered Giuliani with questions and gave his team until 5pm Wednesday to file a new brief. After a long day of arguments, he advised counsel on both sides 'off the record' about area restaurants, as well as a martini bar and a brew pub. 

ABC News reported that there has been 'infighting and disillusionment' on the Trump campaign since Trump put Giuliani in charge of his legal effort days ago. Trump has refused to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. Giuliani and lawyer Jenna Ellis have been installed in what was being called a campaign 'coup.'

The New York Times reported that Giuliani, who represented Trump pro bono during impeachment, was seeking $20,000 per day, above what even the nation's top lawyers bill.  

Giuliani denied it, saying his pay would be determined later.

'I never asked for $20,000,' he told the paper. 'The arrangement is, we'll work it out at the end.' 

Demand was so high to hear Trump's lawyer in action that there were technical problems when a call-in line that was supposed to be equipped for 4,000 people got swamped. The judge said 8,000 people tried to get on. was on for part of the hearing but the call cut out twice.

The judge then paused the hearing while officials tried to work out technical glitches.  

In the federal case, attorney Daniel Donavan of Kirkland & Ellis, representing state officials, argued that the Trump team didn't have standing and couldn't make an case under the Constitution's Equal Protection clause based on counties providing different levels of ability for voters to 'cure' ballots.

He noted that Giuliani's claims of fraud weren't in the latest version of his team's complaint, and that many of the allegations had been deleted. 

'That's not in the complaint judge. There are not such allegations,' he said. 

 Another lawyer for the election officials, Mark Aronchick, went after Giuliani by name over and over again, saying he doesn't know if he 'has even read' a key opinion he cited.

'He remembers from his first year law school class something about standing,' Aronchick said in one of multiple lines from his own argument dripping with sarcasm.

'He called our election workers, our patriots … the mafia,' he said, again going after Giuliani. 'This just is disgraceful.'

Earlier Tuesday, Giuliani said the Trump campaign is preparing to lose election cases in Pennsylvania and other states in a strategy he said would ultimately hand a final decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Giuliani made the statement amid scrutiny of Trump's legal strategy, amid public calls for the president to provide evidence of the widespread fraud he claims resulted in a 'rigged' election that Trump claims he 'won.'

The president's personal attorney was due to appear in court on Tuesday to argue one of Trump's cases, an attempt to have hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots removed from the count in Pennsylvania.

It was the first time since 1992 he was due to appear in federal court, and the first time since 2018 in any court room, having appeared for his alleged mistresses' daughter in a Florida court two years ago.

'Frankly this is a case that we would like to get to the Supreme Court. So we're prepared in some of these cases to lose and to appeal and to get it to the Supreme Court,' Giuliani told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo Tuesday. 

The Supreme Court does not have to take up appeals and can simply leave lower-court rulings in place. And if Trump won, the state in which he won, or the Democratic party, could appeal to the Supreme Court too.

Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the Trump campaign is  'prepared in some of these cases to lose' at it seeks to get before the U.S. Supreme Court

'You might remember in Bush v. Gore the Bush campaign lost in the state of Florida because it was a Democratic court,' he said. 'You're not going to win every one of these ... But in some cases you win, some cases you lose, the most important thing is this will be now our first established vehicle on our way to the Supreme Court.'

Giuliani's comments appeared to be preparing the ground for legal setbacks – after multiple attorneys have withdrawn from representation amid public calls for Trump to accept the outcome of the election. President-elect Joe Biden is not getting secret intelligence briefings nor is an official transition underway after a Trump political appointee refused to assess that Biden was the winner. 

Biden leads Trump by about 60,000 votes in Pennsylvania, so any court would have to throw out a large number of ballots to have an impact on the result. 

Trump made his comments on the Fox Business Network

Trump made his comments on the Fox Business Network

Trump's new Pennsylvania lawyer Marc Scaringi cast doubt derailing a 'Biden presidency' through the courts immediately after Election Day

Trump's new Pennsylvania lawyer Marc Scaringi cast doubt derailing a 'Biden presidency' through the courts immediately after Election Day

Giuliani also pointed to a Trump campaign lawsuit in Michigan. 

'That case is also another vehicle to go to the Supreme Court. He also mentioned suits in Wisconsin and Georgia. 'Then we'll have three more right after that.' In all of those states, networks declared Trump the winner. There is a hand recount underway in Georgia. 

Giuliani continues to argue that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania votes should be tossed due to what he claims was insufficient monitoring.

'We have no idea if those 670,000 ballots were put in by Mikey Mouse or Biden's cousin ... or by some criminal who got paid money to produce ten thousand,' he said.  

'Pennsylvania has in fat reversed an election based on absentee irregularities,' he said. 

Trump called on Giuliani to help oversee his sprawling legal efforts. 

Trump in his early morning Nov. 4th statement where he claimed he 'won' the election said: 'we will be going to the Supreme Court.'

Conservatives hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, but many legal experts have predicted Trump's efforts will fail, with Biden having amassed 306 electoral votes. 

Trump in September signaled he believed an election case would ultimately land before the Supreme Court, as he made the case to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

'We need nine justices. You need that, with the unsolicited millions of ballots that they're sending,' he said.

A new member of Trump's Pennsylvania team said publicly that there aren't enough 'bombshells' out there that would prevent President-elect Joe Biden form taking office.

The Trump campaign brought on lawyer Marc Scaringi, who also has an AM radio show, after several other attorneys resigned under public pressure from efforts to declare the vote in Pennsylvania and other states invalid.

Scaringi himself cast doubt on the effort shortly after TV networks called the race for Biden after naming him the victor in Pennsylvania. 

'I've been saying since Wednesday morning that Biden would win and to my friends out there ... In my opinion there really are no bombshells that are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency, including these lawsuits,' he said on his show Nov. 7.   

'I really don't want to get into a discussion on any of these pending lawsuits file by the trump campaign or the state GOPs,' he continued. 'I will say that some of them have merit, like the lawsuits filed by our Pennsylvania Republican party ... several of the other lawsuits don't seem to have much evidence substantiated their claims,' he said. 

 'At the end of the day, in my view, the litigation will not work,' he said. 'It will not reverse this election.'

The Trump campaign lawyers are arguing that voters in Democratic-run counties were allowed to fix or 'cure' their mail-in ballots, while those in Republican-run counties were not – although the patchwork process occurred in part due to decisions by individual counties not to take guidance from a state elections officer.

The state advised county election officials the night before the election that county election boards 'should provide information to party and candidate representatives during the pre-canvass that identifies the voters whose ballots have been rejected' to facilitate provision ballots or contacts to allow them to 'cure' their ballots.

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