On Saturday, Nov. 22, Judge Matthew W. Brann of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed the Donald Trump campaign’s federal lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s secretary of state and the many county boards of election there. Brann did not rule on the merits of the case itself; he ruled that the campaign and its lawyers, led by Rudy Giuliani, did not present sufficient evidence or compelling argument to allow the case to move forward. On Nov. 23, the campaign appealed the decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and fired Sidney Powell, a lawyer working on election result issues.
Brann explained in approachable terms exactly why he dismissed the lawsuit. He wrote:
“Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated. One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens.
“That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state.”
SCOTUS Will Not Rule on Election Fraud Here
The Third Circuit will not review the case itself but determine if Brann’s ruling to dismiss was in error legally. We don’t yet know when it might take action. Given Brann’s well-written and comprehensive memorandum to support his decision, the campaign lawyers now have an even steeper hill to climb to save their case. If they don’t like the result from the Third Circuit, which is likely to go against them, they may appeal to the Supreme Court, where they will face even longer odds. Keep in mind, if they get Brann’s ruling overturned, that doesn’t mean they win anything. It means that the case will resume, and an evidentiary hearing would be ordered. That will be a battle won with a war still to fight.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 22, Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis released a statement on Twitter:
“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”
That certainly is a curious way to announce a dismissal. Not “she is no longer” or “thanks for her efforts to date.” It’s almost as if Ellis and Giuliani wished to create confusion about whether she ever was an attorney for the campaign.
Powell has alleged a widespread criminal conspiracy to change the outcome of the presidential election and any election that involved certain software and polling machines that resulted in miscounting millions of votes. Appearing onstage with Giuliani at a press conference on Nov. 19, she was introduced as one of the attorneys representing “President Trump” and “the Trump campaign.” Giuliani said there were many attorneys working for the campaign, but those onstage, Powell included, were the “senior lawyers” working on these issues. On Nov. 22, Powell said on the Newsmax network: “Hopefully, this week we will get it ready to file, and it will be biblical.” At that time, she appeared to be a lawyer for the campaign still.
CBS reports that Powell responded: “I understand today’s press release. I will continue to represent #WeThePeople who had their votes for Trump and other Republicans stolen by massive fraud through Dominion and Smartmatic, and we will be filing suit soon.”
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.