A federal judge in Pennsylvania threw out a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign seeking to block certification of the state’s election results, rejecting a request for an order that would overturn the projected victory of President-elect Joe Biden, Bloomberg reports.
The state’s motion to dismiss the campaign’s case was granted Saturday by U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, freeing election officials to certify the results as soon as Monday. Major media outlets have declared Biden the winner of Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes with a lead of more than 80,000 votes.
“This court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence,” the judge said. “In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state.”
It’s the latest and perhaps highest-profile courtroom defeat for Trump since the U.S. election Biden won by nearly 6 million ballots. Suits filed by the campaign and its GOP allies have failed in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona as judges declined to toss out millions of votes based on vague assertions by lawyers and sworn affidavits from voters who interpreted every perceived irregularity as evidence of a Democratic conspiracy.
Georgia certified its results on Friday and Michigan and Pennsylvania are both likely to do so on Monday, leaving the president an uncertain path to flip enough electoral votes to reverse his defeat.
Pennsylvania, the largest of the six battleground states, was a particular focus of the Trump campaign’s legal challenges, with suits filed in both state and federal courts. The Trump campaign has suggested it will appeal, and the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has said he sees the case as a “vehicle” to get the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority to decide the election.
Giuliani personally argued against the state’s motion to dismiss before Brann on Tuesday, making wild claims at the hearing of a vast Democratic conspiracy to steal the election.
Read More: Trump Says He Has Until Dec. 8 to ‘Decertify’ Pennsylvania Loss
Giuliani and other campaign lawyers made even more outlandish accusations at a press conference two days later, describing a scheme involving child voters, dead voters and secretive overseas ballot tabulation directed by George Soros and “communist money” from Venezuela and Cuba.
But the actual claims in the campaign’s lawsuit were always narrower than its public allegations. The suit’s most consistent claim was that certain Democratic-led counties in the state had more lenient rules in accepting “defective” ballots or letting voters “cure” such ballots than Republican-led ones, which the campaign claimed violated the Constitution’s due process and equal protection guarantees. The state denied those claims and also said the campaign’s proposed remedy of disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters was implausible.
Pressed by Brann on Tuesday if he was actually alleging voter fraud, Giuliani acknowledged that he was not.
The campaign has also suggested that hundreds of thousands of ballots in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh should be invalidated because they were allegedly counted without proper oversight by Republican observers, exposing them to potential fraud. Claims tied to such allegations were left out of an amended complaint filed on Sunday but partially reinstated in a second revised complaint filed on Wednesday.
Monday is the deadline for Pennsylvania counties to certify their results, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is expected to certify shortly thereafter.
Boockvar, a Democrat, and Pennsylvania county officials argued GOP observers were present while all ballots were canvassed, and that the pre-election “cure” of some ballot deficiencies was allowed under state law.
The second amended complaint also added a proposal that Brann declare the entire Pennsylvania vote “defective” and let the Republican-controlled state legislature decide the election in favor of Trump.
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