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US Election: Trump’s Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania lawsuits fail

President Donald Trump and his allies lost court rulings in three states on Thursday in their effort to stop President-elect Joe Biden from taking office, underscoring their dwindling options even as they continued to claim a viable path to victory.

In Georgia, a judge appointed by Trump denied a request by Lin Wood, a conservative lawyer, to halt certification of Biden’s victory in the state. The lawsuit alleged Georgia election officials improperly changed the process for handling absentee ballots.

‘To halt the certification at literally the eleventh hour would breed confusion and disenfranchisement that I find have no basis in fact and law,’ said US District Judge Steven Grimberg in Atlanta during a court hearing.

Meanwhile a state judge in Arizona also tossed a Republican-backed lawsuit seeking to stop Phoenix officials from certifying Biden as the winner – and said the suit could not be reworked and brought again.  

And in Pennsylvania, a state judge rejected the Trump campaign’s bid to invalidate about 2,200 ballots in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, over purported defects such as missing ‘secrecy envelopes’.

The trio of losses came as Trump’s legal advisers, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, drilled down on their unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and laid out what they said was a path to victory during a fiery press conference in Washington on Thursday. 

President Donald Trump and his allies lost court rulings in three states on Thursday in their effort to stop President-elect Joe Biden from taking office, underscoring their dwindling options even as they continued to claim a viable path to victory

President Donald Trump and his allies lost court rulings in three states on Thursday in their effort to stop President-elect Joe Biden from taking office, underscoring their dwindling options even as they continued to claim a viable path to victory

President Donald Trump and his allies lost court rulings in three states on Thursday in their effort to stop President-elect Joe Biden from taking office, underscoring their dwindling options even as they continued to claim a viable path to victory

The trio of losses came as Trump's legal advisers, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, drilled down on their unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and laid out what they said was a path to victory during a fiery press conference in Washington on Thursday (pictured)

The trio of losses came as Trump's legal advisers, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, drilled down on their unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and laid out what they said was a path to victory during a fiery press conference in Washington on Thursday (pictured)

The trio of losses came as Trump’s legal advisers, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, drilled down on their unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and laid out what they said was a path to victory during a fiery press conference in Washington on Thursday (pictured) 

Trump’s strategy for retaining power is focused increasingly on persuading Republican legislators to intervene on his behalf in battleground states Biden won, three people familiar with the effort told Reuters.

The campaign’s efforts have become increasingly frantic following a string of defeats in the past week as more than a dozen of its cases across multiple states were denied or pulled.  

The judge who handed down Georgia’s ruling on Thursday appeared to acknowledge the mounting desperation, calling the suit that Wood filed in his capacity as an average voter ‘creative’, but saying that didn’t give him a basis to sue.  

‘There is no doubt that the right to vote, even an individual’s right to vote is sacrosanct,’ Judge Steven Grimberg in the Northern District of Georgia said. But, he added, that ‘doesn’t mean that individual voters have the right to dictate’ how their vote is counted.  

Conservative attorney L Lin Wood (pictured) filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of votes in Georgia

Conservative attorney L Lin Wood (pictured) filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of votes in Georgia

Conservative attorney L Lin Wood (pictured) filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of votes in Georgia 

Wood’s suit seeking to stop the certification of votes accused Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of harming him as a voter by agreeing to a March settlement agreement on signature matching in ballots.  

Georgia’s assistant attorney general Russell Willard dismissed Wood’s claims as an attempt to ‘change the rules at the end of the game in order to alter the score’.  

Willard also said that ruling in favor of Wood would result in ‘the largest disenfranchisement in Georgia since the abolition of the poll tax and the vestiges of Jim Crow’.   

Judge Grimberg sided with Willard, noting how Wood waited eight months to challenge Raffensperger’s March settlement agreement until after the election was called for Biden.  

‘It is well established that garden-variety election disputes do not rise to the level of a constitutional deprivation,’ the judge said. 

‘The fact that the candidate or candidates that this plaintiff voted for… did not prevail in an election does not meet the legal standard of harm, much less irreparable harm.’ 

Georgia is set to certify that Biden won its 16 electoral college votes on Friday, after Raffensperger announced that a hand-audit of ballots had confirmed the results.  

Trump supporters waving banners and flags rally for a 'stop the steal' protest outside the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday

Trump supporters waving banners and flags rally for a 'stop the steal' protest outside the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday

Trump supporters waving banners and flags rally for a ‘stop the steal’ protest outside the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday 

Disenfranchisement was also at the center of Thursday’s ruling in Pennsylvania, where the Trump campaign sought to exclude more than 2,000 ballots for technical reasons. 

Judge Robert Baldi of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas ordered local election officials to count all of those ballots because there was no evidence of fraud.  

‘It must be noted that the parties specifically stipulated in their comprehensive stipulation of facts that there exists no evidence of any fraud, misconduct, or any impropriety with respect to the challenged ballots,’ Judge Baldi wrote in his ruling. 

‘There is nothing in the record and nothing alleged that would lead to the conclusion that any of the challenged ballots were submitted by someone not qualified or entitled to vote in this election.

‘At no time did Petitioners present evidence or argument to the contrary.’  

The Trump campaign still has one federal lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania, but the judge overseeing that case expressed skepticism about the lawyers’ arguments earlier this week.  

In Pennsylvania, a state judge rejected the Trump campaign's bid to invalidate about 2,200 ballots in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, over purported defects

In Pennsylvania, a state judge rejected the Trump campaign's bid to invalidate about 2,200 ballots in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, over purported defects

In Pennsylvania, a state judge rejected the Trump campaign’s bid to invalidate about 2,200 ballots in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, over purported defects

The Arizona case that was thrown out on Thursday had been filed by the state’s Republican party, which had asked Judge John Hannah to order a new audit of ballots in Maricopa County, where the majority of Arizonans live, arguing it had been conducted in a manner that violated state law.

Judge Hannah did not explain why he was denying the request but said he would issue a lengthier decision soon.

The Arizona Republican Party said in a statement that it had sought ‘judicial clarification’ of a law relating to determining a sample for a post-election audit of ballots. 

The statement said the dispute should be clarified through future legislation.

The Biden campaign praised Judge Hannah’s decision, calling the lawsuit ‘frivolous and rightfully dismissed’.  

‘Arizona’s election was well-run and transparent, and far-right fringes of the Arizona Republican Party should stop trying to undermine Arizonans’ faith in free and fair elections,’ said Geoff Burgan, communications director for the Biden campaign in Arizona.   

MEET THE ELITE STRIKE FORCE LEGAL TEAM TRUMP IS RELYING ON

President Donald Trump’s attorneys – the group of lawyers working to overturn the election results in his favor – pegged themselves as ‘elite strike force team’ in a bizarre press conference at the Republican National Committee.

But the group of five – Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Boris Epshteyn, Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing – are more known for their engagement with conservative media, appearances on Fox News and their public advocacy for Trump rather than for winning election cases. 

Here’s a look at the president’s legal team: 

Rudy Giuliani: Hair apparent 

He made his name in New York City as a top federal prosecutor where he battled the mob. He became a national hero on September 11th, when, as mayor, he led the city through the worst terrorist attack in American history.

But at 76, he has served as Trump’s personal lawyer for years and has fed him conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine and argued it was a Ukrainian company that had the server with Hillary Clinton’s emails.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said they believe Giuliani is a target of an influence operation from the Russian government. Giuliani is believed to have business clients with ties to the Ukraine although he has not revealed his client list. 

Now he’s reported to have asked the Trump campaign for $20,000 a day to spearhead Trump’s effort to overturn the election results.   

He’s told the president that his other advisers have not been telling him the truth about his chances of success in his legal battles to overturn the results of the election, The New York Times reported.

On Friday, Trump put Giuliani in charge of all election-related litigation and communications for it. That resulted Thursday’s press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters where Giuliani, with hair dye dripping down both sides of his face, spouted baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud while praising the movie ‘My Cousin Vinny.’

Trump elevated Giuliani, a source told The Wall Street Journal, because ‘he was the only person telling the president he could win.’ 

Sidney Powell: Plans to unleash the Kraken 

She represented Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and has been a major promoter of viral conspiracy theories about vote switching – theories she repeated on Thursday.

In her series of bizarre claims, she said Hugo Chavez (who died in 2013) was part of a group of communists from China and Venezuela helping to rig the election in Joe Biden’s favor. 

She also claimed that operators of Dominion voting machines went in and injected votes for Biden while deleting votes for Trump. She has shown no proof of her claims. 

She has said she will ‘release the Kraken’ when it comes to proving voter fraud – a phrase that trended on Twitter.  

Trump first noticed her when she was on Fox News defending Flynn, her client. She has accused the Justice Department of prosecutorial misconduct against Flynn. 

She also has alleged special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was part of a plot by the intelligence community to force President Trump from office.

Jenna Ellis: Called Trump an idiot in 2016 

Ellis, a legal adviser to the Trump campaign, was reportedly part of an internal coup that put her and Giuliani in charge of the post-election legal strategy.

White House aides have expressed concern about her. 

She was viewed as an uncontrollable figure inside the campaign who often provided President Trump with questionable information about alleged voter fraud.

And she appeared on television without asking for approval from campaign officials, aides told The Washington Post. 

She dubbed herself ‘President-Elect Jenna Ellis’ on Twitter.

During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, she called Trump an ‘idiot,’ a ‘bully’ and agreed that he was someone intent to ‘destroy American democracy.’  

Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing: Anti-Soros conspiracy theorists 

The husband-and-wife legal team are panelists on Newsmax, a right-wing media outlet. They used to be regulars on Fox News until DiGenova made wild claims that much of the State Department was under the control of a well-known Jewish financier George Soros. 

Trump wanted them on his legal team for his impeachment trial – he was said to be impressed with diGenova’s defense of him on Fox News – but the two were unable to join due to conflicts of interest. 

They represent Ukrainian businessman Dmitri Firtash, who was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with bribery and racketeering. 

They also reportedly worked with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of Giuliani’s who were arrested on charges of campaign finance violations.

A former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, diGenova pushed the theory that lawmakers tried to frame Trump when they investigated whether his campaign colluded with Russia four years ago. 

Toensing represented Scooter Libby, the assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney, when Trump pardoned him.   

Boris Epshteyn: Eric Trump’s Russian-born friend 

He was the Chief Political Commentator at Sinclair Broadcast Group until December 2019 when he joined President Trump’s re-election campaign.

He was born in Moscow and emigrated to the United States as a child with his parents.  He met Eric Trump at Georgetown University, where Epshteyn received his law degree.

Epshteyn became a special assistant in the Trump administration when the president first took office. He wrote Trump’s controversial statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day in January 2017, which omitted any mention of the Jewish people. He later resigned from the White House in March 2017.

He also testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee as part of its probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.  

Rudy Giuliani was surrounded by a maskless group on stage including from left Sidney Powell, who is Mike Flynn's attorney, Joseph diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, a husband-and-wife lawyer team who have promoted conspiracy theories, and Boris Epshteyn, a Trump aide

Rudy Giuliani was surrounded by a maskless group on stage including from left Sidney Powell, who is Mike Flynn's attorney, Joseph diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, a husband-and-wife lawyer team who have promoted conspiracy theories, and Boris Epshteyn, a Trump aide

Rudy Giuliani was surrounded by a maskless group on stage including from left Sidney Powell, who is Mike Flynn’s attorney, Joseph diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, a husband-and-wife lawyer team who have promoted conspiracy theories, and Boris Epshteyn, a Trump aide

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