Giuliani representing Trump in Pennsylvania election case

Giuliani argued in a courtroom in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, that the Trump campaign has been blocked from observing ballot processing in key cities and saying Democrats could have conspired to commit election fraud by counting absentee votes — both assertions others judges have rejected repeatedly in court as unfounded or wrong.

With Giuliani’s entrance in court, the hearing may be the grand finale of the Trump campaign’s flailing effort in court to stop the formalization of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

“If this is allowed without serious sanctions, this will become an epidemic,” Giuliani told Judge Matthew Brann, in his first oral arguments before a trial judge in decades. “It just all happened to be in big cities controlled by Democrats who all of a sudden decided you don’t have the right to inspect an absentee ballot. … You’d have to be a fool to think this was an accident.”

Giuliani jumping in to argue the case is the latest in a wild legal scramble for Trump. Since the Pennsylvania case was filed in federal court six days after the election, the Trump campaign has swapped lawyers twice. First, a mid-sized regional firm pulled out of the case, and Monday night the second group of lawyers withdrew, following a decision by Giuliani who had taken over Trump’s election strategy in court.

The Trump campaign drastically reduced its complaints in the case in recent days, after an appeals court ruling shut down the legal path of voters trying to claim their votes were unconstitutionally diluted after an election.

Trump and his backers have faced ridicule from the legal community for bringing meritless lawsuits to challenge the election and spread disinformation to undermine Biden’s win, and legal experts have repeatedly said the cases won’t give Trump a second term in office.

Since the election, judges in multiple states have quickly rejected the Trump campaign’s and his supporters’ suspicions of voting fraud, because even in-court witnesses have shown no reason to believe there’s widespread fraud.

Fact checking Trump's barrage of lies over the weekend

The Pennsylvania case has always been extremely unlikely to succeed. But among a smattering of legal complaints, it’s considered the most notable of Trump’s last-ditch efforts to block battleground state’s votes for Biden. Tuesday’s hearing is before Brann, an Obama appointee who is a longtime Republican and known as a straight-shooter. Before the election, Brann refused a Republican attempt to block funding of absentee voting.

Since the election, in press conferences and other appearances, Giuliani has pushed conspiracy theories about voter fraud and promised a dazzling legal strategy that hasn’t materialized. He’s also clashed with election law brass in the Trump campaign, as the President has refused to concede or even acknowledge Biden’s win.

Lawyer Marc Scaringi, who took on the Pennsylvania case on Monday night for the campaign as well, has said on his radio show that Trump’s election cases wouldn’t work, and he wrote a blog post saying Biden “successfully claimed” the presidency and was President-elect. The blog post appears to have been taken down overnight.

The last-minute scrambling was on display already Monday when the Trump campaign asked for a delay of the arguments, a request Brann refused.

Michigan lawsuit

Trump’s most sweeping election case in Michigan has had its own set of hiccups in recent days. The federal judge this morning pointed out that the Trump campaign’s lawyers hadn’t taken steps to move their case along quickly. Judge Janet Neff wrote in a court order that the Trump campaign didn’t serve the lawsuit to the defendants, Michigan’s Secretary of State and Wayne County election officials, nor had it asked for the court to consider its case an emergency.

Lawsuits that tried to disrupt Biden's wins in four states are withdrawn

The Trump campaign lawyers had outlined they would need intervention to stop the election results in Michigan in the next few weeks because of an initial Electoral College deadline to finalize popular vote results on December 8.

“Despite setting forth these looming deadlines and despite having characterized their pleading as one requiring ’emergency’ relief, Plaintiffs have, to date, neither Plaintiffs have, to date, neither served their Complaint on Defendants nor filed any motions for immediate injunctive relief,” Neff wrote.

If the lawsuit is to continue at all, the Trump campaign has to serve the suit to the Michigan officials by 5 p.m. Tuesday, she added.

This story has been updated with details from Tuesday’s hearing.

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