Geopolitics

Donald Trump and his attorneys have made intensive public fees of electoral fraud. They are saying nothing of the type in courtroom

N.Early two weeks after the election for President-elect Joe Biden was scheduled, Donald Trump and his legal team continued to make false and dangerous claims that the election was “rigged”. In a November 19 press conference, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani described the election as “massive fraud” while a Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell claimed without evidence a far-reaching program carried out by “massive influence of communist money”. ”She also seemed to propose a revolution, comparing this moment to” the year 1775 of our generation and beyond “.

But Trump and his allies’ public allegations are in stark contrast to what his lawyers actually claim – bound by ethical rules – in election-related cases in court. In three separate lawsuits in Pennsylvania and in Arizona and Nevada cases, Trump’s attorneys have dismissed large-scale fraud allegations and instead focused on relatively minor complaints.

Here’s a look at some of the prominent cases in which Trump’s lawyers have conspicuously refused to use the language of “fraud” while standing before judges and tacitly undermining the increasingly histrionic public stance of the president and his allies.

Rudy Giuliani speaks to the press on November 19, 2020 at the Republican National Committee Headquarters in Washington, DC about various legal disputes related to the 2020 elections.

Drew Angerer – Getty Images

Pennsylvania

In a recent federal case in Pennsylvania, Giuliani alleged “widespread national election fraud” in his opening speeches. But when the judge was questioned, he withdrew. “This is not a case of fraud,” Giuliani later admitted. In the same case, Trump attorney Linda Kearns specifically stated that she “did not act” on fraud allegations.

In a separate case in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, a judge asked Trump attorney Jonathan S. Goldstein on charges of fraud. “Your honor of accusing people of fraud is a pretty big step,” Goldstein said. “And it rarely happens that I call someone a liar and I don’t call the board of directors [Democratic National Committee] or anyone else involved is a liar. Everyone comes in with good faith. “The judge urged Goldstein to answer the specific question,” Do you claim that there is fraud related to these 592 controversial ballots? ” Goldstein replied: “As far as I know, currently no.”

In another state case in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Trump’s attorneys signed a Joint Understanding of Facts explicitly acknowledging that despite repeated public claims by the president and his attorneys, they did not accuse of fraud, according to Marc Elias, an attorney working for she works Democrats on election-related cases. The statement of the facts reads in part: “The petitioners do not allege fraud in connection with the contested ballots and there is no evidence of it.” The provision also states that they do not have any “wrongdoing” or “inappropriateness” in relation to the contested ballots. claim or have evidence of it.

On Thursday, a judge denied the Trump campaign’s attempt to remove postal ballot papers in the Bucks County case, stating, “The parties have made a comprehensive fact finding that there is no evidence of fraud, wrongdoing, or inappropriateness of respect gives to the challenged ballot papers. There is nothing on the file or anything that would allegedly lead to the conclusion that any of the contested ballots were submitted by someone who did not qualify or vote in that election. “

Arizona

Trump attorneys dodged and weaved again in a state ballot case in Maricopa County, Arizona. On November 12, the day the president himself tweeted about hundreds of thousands of votes stolen from him, a Trump campaign attorney, Kory Langhofer, told a judge, “We are alleging no fraud in this lawsuit. We are not claiming that someone stole the election. “

While Trump has repeatedly claimed that glitches in voting machines were signs of bad game, Langhofer also threw cold water on the idea, saying instead that the case “a limited number of cases” of “bona fide errors in operating machines “concern. The Trump campaign has since dropped this case.

On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, without any evidence, claiming that interference in electronic voting machines wrongly favored Biden. “It has never shown that a single actual software vote was unlawfully moved from one candidate to another,” said Carlson. “Not one.”

Nevada

Attorneys representing Trump’s campaign sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on November 5, accusing Nevada of “criminal electoral fraud”. But attorneys representing Trump never made this claim in court records. Instead, as in many other election cases in the Trump campaign, filings in Nevada focus on much smaller claims, including questions about using a scanning device to verify signatures and whether observers had adequate access to watch the vote count.

While prominent Republicans have largely remained silent when Trump tried to undermine the election, the lack of evidence his legal team has presented in court could inspire some to speak up. Two Republican senators released statements Thursday based on Trump’s negligence in court. “Based on what I read on their records, when they stood under oath on trial, Trump campaign lawyers repeatedly refused to claim serious fraud because there are legal ramifications for lying by judges,” said Ben Sasse, Senator from Nebraska, in part.

“After failing to bring even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy to a court of law, the president has now resorted to open pressure on state and local officials to undermine popular will and overthrow elections “Utah Senator Mitt Romney tweeted. “It’s hard to imagine that a sitting American president would act worse and more undemocratic.”

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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@time.com.

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