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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Trump Legal

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  His legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical.





Jeremy Roebuck, Maddie Hanna and Oona Goodin-Smith at The Philadelphia Inquirer:
What began five years ago with the made-for-TV announcement of Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions from the escalator of his ritzy Manhattan high-rise ended Saturday with his aging lawyer shouting conspiracy theories and vowing lawsuits in a Northeast Philadelphia parking lot, near a sex shop and a crematorium.

In hindsight, the hastily arranged news conference featuring Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, just minutes after Joe Biden had been declared the victor of the 2020 race, delivered a fitting end to a campaign that had been at times characterized by its slapdash techniques.

But the question of how a landscaping company in Holmesburg became the backdrop for what could have been one of the Trump team’s last public gasps in its bid to reverse the results quickly captured the public’s imagination.

It started Saturday morning, with a presidential tweet that, as has often happened during the last four years, Trump’s advisers quickly scrambled to correct.

Trump announced: “Lawyers News Conference Four Seasons, Philadelphia, 11 a.m.,” only to delete his post minutes later and replace it with one changing the venue from the upscale Center City hotel to a similarly named business: Four Seasons Total Landscaping on industrial State Road, next to Fantasy Island Adult Books and Novelties and across the street from the Delaware Valley Cremation Center.

Matt Friedman at Politico:

The first person Rudy Giuliani, the attorney for President Donald Trump, called up as a witness to baseless allegations of vote counting shenanigans in Philadelphia during a press conference last week is a sex offender who for years has been a perennial candidate in New Jersey.
Over the weekend, the Trump campaign promised major revelations in their legal efforts to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, but their lawyers stumbled out of the gate on Monday morning.

The Trump lawyers submitted a “defective” appeal of a Michigan judge’s ruling that dismissed their lawsuit. The judge found last week that the lawsuit contained “inadmissible hearsay within hearsay.”
“I regret to inform you that your submission is defective,” the Trump campaign was informed in a one-page letter, alerting them that their lawyers forgot to attach a copy of the judgment and the underlying evidence.

Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor and CNN analyst, called the mix-up an “embarrassing error but pretty minor.”

“Lawyers have paralegals and junior lawyers make filings all the time so these things happen,” Rodgers told Law&Crime in a text message. “But of course the broader point is this is not a sophisticated legal team the way you would expect from a presidential campaign. Long ago Trump ran through the top notch lawyers willing to work for him, so he’s working with lower-tier representation for sure.”

The technical error by the campaign’s attorney Thor Hearne marked an anti-climactic opening shot of a quixotic effort to prevent Joe Biden from assuming the office of the presidency on Inauguration Day.

It also represented a strained effort to a revive a legal action based on testimony by what poll watcher Jessica Connarn claims to have heard from an unidentified person who repeated a rumor and passed her a note.

“‘I heard someone else say something,’” Michigan Judge Cynthia Stephens said on Thursday, summing up Connarn’s affidavit. “Tell me how that is not hearsay. Come on now!”
Dartunorro Clark and Ken Dilanian at NBC:
The head of the branch of the Justice Department that prosecutes election crimes resigned Monday hours after Attorney General William Barr issued a memo to federal prosecutors authorizing them to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified.

Richard Pilger, who was director of the Election Crimes Branch of the DOJ, sent a memo to colleagues that suggested his resignation was linked to Barr’s memo, which was issued as the president’s legal team mount baseless legal challenges to the election results, alleging widespread voter fraud cost him the race.

“Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications, and in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition), I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch,” Pilger’s letter said, according to a copy obtained by NBC News.

“I have enjoyed very much working with you for over a decade to aggressively and diligently enforce federal criminal election law, policy, and practice without partisan fear or favor. I thank you for your support in that effort.”
Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Rachel Abrams and David Enrich at NYT:
Some senior lawyers at Jones Day, one of the country’s largest law firms, are worried that it is advancing arguments that lack evidence and may be helping Mr. Trump and his allies undermine the integrity of American elections, according to interviews with nine partners and associates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their jobs.

At another large firm, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, based in Columbus, Ohio, lawyers have held internal meetings to voice similar concerns about their firm’s election-related work for Mr. Trump and the Republican Party, according to people at the firm. At least one lawyer quit in protest.