Attorneys for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday lit into a “thirteenth hour” effort by President Donald Trump to decertify the results of the state’s Nov. 3 election, calling it a belated bid to nullify the ballots of millions of voters.
“There have been numerous suits filed since the November 3, 2020, general election, challenging most of the issues set forth in [Trump’s] motion. In all resolved suits, the claims have been flatly rejected,” lawyers from Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr’s office said in a filing on behalf of the state leaders.
“Plaintiff nevertheless seeks to disenfranchise millions of Georgia voters at the thirteenth hour — despite Plaintiff’s own dilatory and confusing actions,” the state’s brief continued.
Trump’s lawsuit, filed on New Year’s Eve, marked his latest attempt to overturn the results in a key state won by President-elect Joe BIden. But the state’s first filing in the case comes amid an explosive scandal over Trump’s attempt to privately pressure Raffensperger to embrace his claims of fraud and “find” thousands of additional votes to flip the outcome.
The legal brief was also lodged just as Trump took the stage in Georgia on the eve of Senate runoff elections that will determine control of the U.S. Senate. Trump wasted little time before attacking Kemp and Raffensperger at the rally intended to boost the Senate campaigns of David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler to assail the presidential election results even further.
“I’m going to be here in a year and a half,” Trump said, “and I’m going to be campaigning against your governor and your crazy secretary of state.”
Trump has baselessly alleged widespread fraud and misconduct by election officials, charges he reiterated repeatedly on his hourlong Saturday call with Raffensperger, despite the secretary’s forceful pushback and rejection of his claims. Since the tape of their extraordinary call came out Sunday in the Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Raffensperger has also conducted TV interviews in which he defended his handling of the Nov. 3 election process. Monday night’s brief reinforced his arguments.
“The people, the Secretary, and the Governor all complied with and discharged their obligations under Georgia and federal law — as have the … properly certified presidential electors,” the state’s brief says.
With Trump and his supporters having filed about 60 lawsuits in various states, winning almost no relief, the new submission from Georgia officials contains little in the way of free-form legal argument. Instead, after forcefully rejecting Trump’s claims, the brief strings together quotes from the slew of court decisions — many written by Trump appointees — turning down the earlier challenges.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Cohen has set a hearing Tuesday morning on the Trump campaign’s suit and the plea for emergency relief. However, the judge dinged the president’s lawyers for not teeing up the case more quickly.
“Although Plaintiffs’ counsel could have requested … an immediate hearing over this past holiday weekend, and obtained a hearing before the duty district Judge, counsel did not do so,” Cohen wrote, while noting Trump wants to appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary by Wednesday, the day Congress is set to assemble to count the electoral votes.
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