Giuliani’s Wild Press Conference, Debunked: No Trump Campaign Voter Fraud Theories Are Holding Up In Court
Nov 19, 2020
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TOPLINE Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani—making baseless accusations alleging a wide-scale voter fraud conspiracy during a press conference Thursday—promised the campaign would “prove it in court,” but the GOP’s fraud allegations have so far entirely failed in the judicial system, with judges striking down or questioning the allegations or the Trump campaign backing off its claims of fraud under scrutiny.
Giuliani’s central claims of voter fraud Thursday relied on affidavits signed as part of a Republican-brought case in Detroit, but that evidence has already been struck down in court, with a judge ruling against the GOP plaintiffs and calling the affidavits alleging fraud “incorrect and not credible.”
Michigan Circuit Judge Timothy M. Kenny described specific affidavits that Giuliani referenced Thursday as “generalized,” “rife with speculation and guess-work” and having “no evidentiary basis.”
The campaign also provided affidavits in a case in Arizona alleging improprieties with in person votes that was ultimately dropped—but the judge in that case said he was “concerned” that the campaign compiled declarations from voters using a web form that also yielded many obviously false testimonies, saying the method of gathering affidavits was “not an indicia of trustworthiness” and the campaign couldn’t guarantee that its witnesses’ claims are true.
A Nevada judge also rejected a GOP-brought case that asked Clark County officials to stop using a signature matching program based on one alleged instance of voter fraud, due to a lack of evidence.
Trump campaign attorneys have repeatedly backed off its voter fraud claims in court and told judges they are not alleging ballots are fraudulent, and according to Democratic Party attorney Marc Elias, the campaign signed a joint stipulation in a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, case that specifically states “there is no evidence” of fraud, misconduct, impropriety or undue influence regarding the mail-in ballots in question.
Giuliani himself has backed down from voter fraud claims: Despite alleging widespread voter fraud in his opening arguments during a hearing in Pennsylvania, when the judge asked if he was actually alleging fraud and the judge should apply a higher degree of scrutiny, Giuliani responded, “This is not a fraud case.”
In addition to the Trump campaign’s voter fraud claims, its false suggestion that GOP poll watchers were blocked from watching votes being counted have also not held up in court. Those claims were refuted as part of the recent Michigan ruling, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the campaign’s case complaining poll watchers weren’t given meaningful access to Philadelphia’s vote count, overturning a lower court ruling that allowed poll watchers to stand closer to election workers counting ballots. The Trump team’s press conference Thursday also made allegations about conspiracy theories involving Dominion voting machines, which have been debunked and not addressed in the campaign’s legal challenges thus far.
“That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest,” wrote Chris Krebs, who President Donald Trump fired as the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency after Krebs debunked the president’s voter fraud allegations. The press conference, which was largely devoted to detailing debunked and false conspiracy theories without providing credible evidence, was even criticized by Fox News, which broadcast the rambling event.
Thursday’s press event was the latest stand in the Trump campaign and GOP’s broader legal effort to challenge the election results in battleground states, which has been decried as meritless by election law experts. Giuliani was recently put in charge of the legal strategy, which is broadly focused on stopping states from certifying their election results after previously focusing more heavily on challenging specific mail-in voting rules. The legal effort has so far been largely unsuccessful, however, and experts have said the campaign cannot realistically overturn the election results. “There is no path,” election law expert Rick Hasen wrote on his blog Monday. “Rudy Giuliani can say what he wants and the President can keep declaring that he’s won, but there’s no plausible legal way this election gets overturned.”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Giuliani promised Thursday the Trump campaign would file further lawsuits as part of its legal efforts, including in Georgia and potentially Arizona, even as the dates by which states must certify their election results rapidly approach.