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Federal judge dismisses Trump campaign trial in Pennsylvania

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“It is not in the power of this court to violate the Constitution,” Judge Matthew Brann of the US District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania wrote on Saturday in a withering decision, hours after the latest round of filings in the ‘case. The judge wholeheartedly rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to defeat Pennsylvania’s vote, noting that Biden won the state and that the results will be certified by state officials on Monday. Biden has a margin of more than 81,000 votes in the state.

“In the United States of America, that cannot justify the deprivation of the right to vote of just one voter, let alone all voters in its sixth most populous state. Our people, our laws and our institutions demand more. “, wrote the judge. “Basically, the plaintiffs have failed to meet their onus of bringing a claim on which relief can be granted.”

While the case had always been unlikely to succeed, the backers and legal team of President Donald Trump – and in particular his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani – had placed their hopes on the Pennsylvania federal judge, lending some credibility to their suspicion of fraud and receiving Trump’s attempt. to overturn the popular vote for Biden.

But Brann, a longtime and well-known Republican in Pennsylvania, refused.

Shortly after the decision, Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania praised Biden as president-elect, breaking with party leaders and a large majority of Republicans in Congress who continue to support Trump’s efforts to challenge the results.

It was essentially the last major case seeking to reject or block enough votes that could tip a key state in favor of Trump, and Brann’s decision on Saturday is at least the 30th loss or removal of a case from the campaign. Trump and his allies since the election. Day. There were only two court wins for Republicans, pretty much a very small number of votes.

“The plaintiffs are asking this court to strip nearly seven million voters of their voting rights. This court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in a election, due to the sheer volume of votes that have been requested to be canceled. ”Brann wrote on Saturday.

In the case, Trump’s legal team led by Giuliani tried to claim that the equal protective rights of two Pennsylvania voters had been violated because the state had allowed counties to decide whether the ballots by correspondence sent with technical problems could be solved by voters. The two voters involved in the trial said that in their counties they were not allowed to “cure” their ballots, and therefore had their ballots rejected, while other counties, such as the strongly Democratic county of Philadelphia, allowed voters to “heal” missing ballots. This discrepancy, they argued, meant that the entire Pennsylvania election results would have to be blocked by a court ruling, which, theoretically, could rob Biden of the state’s 20 electoral college votes.

Brann called the legal reasoning behind the Trump campaign’s claim for equal protection a “Frankenstein monster.”

“The answer to invalid ballots is not to invalidate millions of others,” Brann wrote.

Brann also warned the Trump campaign not to present any factual evidence of electoral fraud or other allegations – evidence that Giuliani and Trump supporters have repeatedly stated in the making but never materialized. Election officials from several states as well as judges said there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Giuliani, who brushed off the case at the last minute ahead of a hearing before Brann on Tuesday, has been widely criticized for ignoring legal reasoning, leading a team that made botched mistakes in their filings, and for pushing absurd allegations and unfounded conspiracy. against Trump in Democratic-leaning cities.

“One would expect that, in seeking such a surprising outcome, a complainant would be formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual evidence of rampant corruption, so that the Court would have no choice but to Unfortunately to grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens. This has not happened, “added Brann.” Instead, this Court was presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, not justified in the operational complaint and not supported by evidence. ”

Counties in the state are due to certify their election results on Monday.

The judge said any further consideration of this matter “would unduly delay the resolution of the issues” regarding the certification, and closed the case. His Saturday order notes that the Trump campaign cannot attempt to resurface in an invigorated version of the trial.

Saturday night’s Trump campaign announced it would appeal Brann’s decision, and quickly, with the intention of taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Toomey has emerged as a rare Republican voice so far, acknowledging that Trump’s legal avenues have come to an end.

“With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and impartial lawyer, to dismiss the Trump campaign trial, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania, “the GOP senator said in a statement.

“These developments, as well as results across the country, confirm that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States.”

Mike Gwin, a spokesperson for Biden, praised the decision to dismiss the lawsuit.

“The judge’s ruling could not be clearer: our people, our laws and our institutions demand more and our country will not tolerate Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of an election he lost forever,” Gwin said in a press release.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro also welcomed the decision in a statement Saturday night. “These claims were baseless from the start and for an audience. The will of the people will prevail. These baseless lawsuits must end,” he said.

This story has been updated.

Kelly Mena and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.

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