Judge throws out Trump bid to stop Pennsylvania vote certification

Supporters of Donald Trump host a Stop the Steal protest outside of the Georgia State Capital building on November 21, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (AFP)
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Updated 22 November 2020

Judge throws out Trump bid to stop Pennsylvania vote certification

  • Judge calls Trump claim challenging Biden win in Pennsylvania ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit critical to President Donald Trump’s long-shot bid to overturn his Nov. 3 election loss to Democratic President-elect
  • In the US, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter

WASHINGTON: A US federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit critical to President Donald Trump’s long-shot bid to overturn his Nov. 3 election loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, calling his legal claim a “Frankenstein’s Monster.”
The Trump campaign had sought to prevent state officials from certifying the results of the election in the state.
US District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, described the case as “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”
Brann, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, said that he “has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let alone millions of citizens.”
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a statement that he was disappointed with the ruling. “Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court,” he said.
The campaign will ask the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to review the ruling on an accelerated timetable, according to Giuliani. A majority of that circuit’s judges were nominated by Republican presidents. Four were nominated by Trump.
The lawsuit before Brann was filed on Nov. 9 and had alleged inconsistent treatment by county election officials of mail-in ballots. Some counties notified voters that they could fix minor defects such as missing “secrecy envelopes” while others did not.
“This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together,” wrote Brann.
For Trump to have any hope of overturning the election, he needs to reverse the outcome in Pennsylvania, which is scheduled to be certified by state officials on Monday.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the rule of law, and for the voters of Pennsylvania, whom the Trump campaign sought to disenfranchise on the flimsiest legal theory imaginable,” wrote election law scholar Rick Hasen on Twitter.
The Trump campaign and its supporters have filed dozens of lawsuits in six closely contested states. The campaign’s only victories extended the Election Day voting hours at a handful of polling places in Nevada and set aside some provisional ballots in Pennsylvania, according to court records.
Attempts to thwart the certification of the election have failed in courts in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona.
In the Pennsylvania case, Brann also denied a campaign request to amend the suit to claim violations of the US Constitution. The campaign wanted Brann to allow Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled state legislature to appoint electors who would back for Trump at the Electoral College vote on Dec. 14.
Under Pennsylvania law, the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state gets all the state’s electoral votes.
A presidential candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the election, and Biden leads in the electoral vote count by 306-232.
Electoral votes are allocated among the 50 states and the District of Columbia based roughly on population.


Northeast Nigeria attack claimed at least 110 lives: UN

Updated 10 min 21 sec ago

Northeast Nigeria attack claimed at least 110 lives: UN

  • The massacre took place on Saturday in the village of Koshobe near the city of Maiduguri
  • "At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack," Kallon said

ABUJA: A weekend attack on a village in northeast Nigeria blamed on the Boko Haram militant group left at least 110 dead, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country said Sunday.
"At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack," Edward Kallon said in a statement after initial tolls indicated 43 and then at least 70 dead from Saturday's massacre by suspected Boko Haram fighters.
"The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year," Kallon said, adding: "I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice."
The bloodletting took place in the village of Koshobe near the main city of Maiduguri, with assailants targeting farmers on rice fields.
Borno Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum attended the burial Sunday in the nearby village of Zabarmari of 43 bodies recovered on Saturday, saying the toll could rise after search operations resumed.
The assailants tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats, according to a pro-government anti-extremist militia.
The victims were among labourers from Sokoto state in northwestern Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, it said.
Six were wounded in the attack and eight remained missing as of Saturday.
Kallon, citing "reports that several women may have been kidnapped", called for their immediate release and return to safety.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack, saying: "The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings."
The attack took place as voters went to the polls in long-delayed local elections in Borno State.
The polls had been repeatedly postponed because of an increase in attacks by Boko Haram and a rival dissident faction, ISWAP.
The two groups have been blamed for increasing attacks on loggers, farmers and fishermen whom they accuse of spying for the army and pro-government militias.