U.S. judge rejects pro-Trump election suit as ‘speculation and conjecture’
LANSING—A federal judge on Monday refused to issue an injunction in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Michigan’s election and declare Republican President Donald Trump the winner, calling it an “amalgamation of theories, conjecture, and speculation” not supported by facts.
Attorney and Trump ally Sidney Powell, on behalf of six GOP electors, sued the state Nov. 25, alleging fraud and irregularities in the presidential election that Democrat Joe Biden won by 154,188 votes. Among other things, the suit urged the court to de-certify the election results and name Trump the winner, or void the entire election and order a new one.
The complaint was “stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach” because it sought to “disenfranchise the votes of the more than 5.5 million Michigan citizens who, with dignity, hope, and a promise of a voice, participated in the 2020 General Election,” District Court Judge Linda V. Parker, a Democratic appointee, wrote in her 36-page opinion denying Powell’s request for injunctive relief as the suit proceeds.
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“This lawsuit seems to be less about achieving the relief Plaintiffs seek – as much of that relief is beyond the power of this Court – and more about the impact of their allegations on People’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government,” she continued. “Plaintiffs ask this Court to ignore the orderly statutory scheme established to challenge elections and to ignore the will of millions of voters. This, the court cannot, and will not, do.”
Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment left with her office.
It’s the latest in a series of legal losses for Trump and his allies in Michigan. On Friday, the state Court of Appeals declined to reconsider a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to overturn the election, ruling the president’s team “failed to follow the clear law” by requesting a hand recount of paper ballots, which would have been the appropriate avenue to pursue fraud allegations.
Similarly, Parker ruled that Powell’s request for a temporary restraining order against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is “moot” because Michigan’s election was certified Nov. 23 and Whitmer transmitted the names of the state’s 16 Biden electors to the Archivist of the United States that same day.
The Powell complaint, like those from the Trump campaign, alleged fraud and irregularities during Detroit’s absentee ballot count at the TCF Center, where city officials temporarily barred new challengers from entering an already crowded counting room, citing COVID-19 capacity. Hundreds of Republican, Democratic and nonpartisan challengers remained in the room.
Powell’s suit alleged “systematic” and “disparate” treatment of Republican poll challengers in Detroit, alleging many were denied “meaningful opportunity to observe the conduct of the election” in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Even if those claims were true, there is no evidence that the “alleged schemes” caused votes for Trump to be changed to votes for Biden, wrote Parker, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and previously served as director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
The only allegation that physical ballots were altered in any way came from GOP poll challenger Articia Bomer, who stated in an affidavit that, “I believe some of these workers were changing votes that had been cast for Donald Trump and other Republican candidates.”
But a “belief” is not evidence and “falls far short of what is required to obtain any relief, much less the extraordinary relief plaintiffs request,” Parker wrote.
The suit also alleged a global conspiracy involving Dominion Voting Systems equipment used in two dozen states and parts of Michigan, including Antrim County, where a human error in the Republican clerk’s office led to a reporting error that initially gave more votes to Biden. It was quickly corrected.
The complaint also included data analyses that were riddled with errors, including demonstrably false claims over impossible voter turnout in several Michigan communities.
“The closest plaintiffs get to alleging that election machines and software changed votes for President Trump to Vice President Biden in Wayne County is an amalgamation of theories, conjecture, and speculation that such alterations were possible,” Parker wrote.
“With nothing but speculation and conjecture that votes for President Trump were destroyed, discarded or switched to votes for Vice President Biden, Plaintiffs’ equal protection claim fails.”
Trump’s legal team claimed a legal victory in Michigan on Friday when state Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer granted a local citizen’s request to review Dominion voting machines used in Antrim County because of a one-vote discrepancy on a local marijuana proposal.
The Trump campaign is not involved in that litigation, but the county was expected to allow “forensic imaging” of the machines by the Allied Security Operations Group, one of whose members testified alongside Rudy Giuliani last week in Lansing.
Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud have spurred a series of protests by his supporters, including a Saturday night demonstration outside the home of Benson, the Democratic Secretary of State.
In a statement, Benson said that “dozens of armed individuals” stood outside her house, “shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns in the dark of night” while she and her four-year-old son were finishing up Christmas decorations.
“Through threats of violence, intimidation, and bullying, the armed people outside my home and their political allies seek to undermine and silence the will and voices of every voter in this state, no matter who they voted for,” Benson said. “Their goal is to overturn and upend the results of an election that are clear and unequivocal, and that 5.5 million Michigan citizens participated in.”
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