Judge Denies Trump Bid to Invalidate Georgia Election Result
President Donald Trump failed again to invalidate his election loss in Georgia and allow the state’s Republican-led legislature to declare him the winner — his latest courtroom defeat in a quixotic effort to remain in office despite losing the Nov. 3 vote.
U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen in Atlanta on Tuesday ruled that Georgia’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was carried out validly under state law, and that the court can’t tell Congress which Electoral College votes it can count, a person familiar with the matter said.
The ruling came in a Dec. 31 lawsuit filed by Trump that rehashed claims of voter fraud previously made by his campaign and allies in dozens of other cases that were universally rejected by courts. The latest suit came just days before Trump held a controversial call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a defendant in the case, asking him to “find” just enough votes to overturn Biden’s win.
The hearing was held via videoconference for the lawyers and parties, but the public wasn’t permitted to call in after Trump’s lawyer declined to allow such access. The person familiar with the hearing, who asked not to be identified, provided details of the proceeding.
Cohen’s clerk confirmed Trump’s motion was denied and said a written order would be issued later today.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Raffensperger, both Republicans, told the judge in a court filing Monday evening that Trump’s demands were “absurd,” and that his lawsuit was the result of a “manufactured crisis.”
Granting Trump’s request would “disenfranchise millions of Georgia voters” and “thrust the State of Georgia into constitutional chaos,” the officials said in the filing.
During the hearing, the person said, Cohen said Trump waited too long to challenge Georgia’s rules for mail-in voting during the pandemic, which were established in March, and that the president’s claims of rampant voter fraud should have been made earlier.
Trump’s lawyer, Kurt Hilbert, said in court that the president failed to challenge Georgia’s March settlement agreement with Democrats over how the state would manage mail-in ballots during the pandemic because Trump didn’t know how the election would play out, according to the person.
Trump had asked the judge to issue an order declaring Georgia’s election “null and void” and directing the state to “de-certify” Biden’s victory. That would have paved the way for Georgia’s legislature to choose electors for Trump, even after he lost the state.
Hilbert didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The states’ Electoral College votes will be opened and counted on Wednesday during a normally procedural joint session of Congress that dozens of Republicans will use to challenge Biden’s victory.
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