Trump taps Rudy Giuliani to lead U.S. election legal challenges: reports

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U.S. President Donald Trump has tapped his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to lead his legal challenges against the results of last week’s election, according to multiple reports.

The news was first reported by the New York Times Friday and was later confirmed by both the Wall Street Journal and ABC News, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The former New York City mayor has not publicly commented on his new role for the Trump campaign, although a spokesperson for Giuliani confirmed the move to ABC News. The Trump campaign has not responded to requests for comment.

The move comes after the Trump campaign faced a series of legal setbacks Friday in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan. All are close battleground states that have been called for President-elect Joe Biden and where Republican lawyers are seeking to either invalidate votes or stop the certification of results altogether.

Giuliani has been a public face of Trump’s legal efforts to contest the election, which Biden was declared the winner of last Saturday.

That same day, Giuliani held a bizarre press conference outside a northern Philadelphia landscaping company where he discussed baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud there. Giuliani has continued to push those claims on his social media and video channels, as well as in some conservative media outlets.

The Trump team’s latest legal blows began Friday morning when a federal appeals court rejected an effort to block about 9,300 mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day in Pennsylvania. The judges noted the “vast disruption” and “unprecedented challenges” facing the nation during the coronavirus pandemic as they upheld the three-day extension.

The ruling involves a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to accept mail-in ballots through Friday, Nov. 6, citing the pandemic and concerns about postal service delays.

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Republicans have also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the issue. However, there are not enough late-arriving ballots to change the results in Pennsylvania, given Biden’s lead. The Democratic former vice-president won the state by about 60,000 votes out of about 6.8 million cast.

The Trump campaign or Republican surrogates have filed more than 15 legal challenges in Pennsylvania as they seek to reclaim the state’s 20 electoral votes, but have so far offered no evidence of any widespread voter fraud. A Philadelphia judge found none as he refused late Friday to reject about 8,300 mail-in ballots there.

In Michigan, a judge Friday refused to stop the certification of Detroit-area election results, rejecting claims the city had committed fraud and tainted the count with its handling of absentee ballots. It’s the third time a judge has declined to intervene in a statewide count that shows Biden up by more than 140,000 votes.

And in Arizona, a judge dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking the inspection of ballots in metro Phoenix after the campaign’s lawyers acknowledged the small number of ballots at issue wouldn’t change the outcome of how the state voted for president.

The campaign had sought a postponement of Maricopa County’s certification of election results until ballots containing “overvotes” — instances in which people voted for more candidates than permitted — were inspected. Biden has a more than 10,000 vote lead over Trump in that state.

Meanwhile, legal giant Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, which had come under fire for its work for the Trump campaign, withdrew from a lawsuit that seeks to stop Pennsylvania officials from certifying the election results.

Porter Wright filed the motion Thursday, as criticism grew that law firms backing the Republican election challenges were helping Trump defy the will of the American people.

Overall, Trump’s team and the Republicans have lost nearly all of the legal challenges they’ve filed since Nov. 3, and the evidence they’ve presented to show fraud has mostly proven to be unfounded.

In response to hundreds of pages of affidavits from Republican poll watchers filed with the Michigan lawsuit that was rejected Friday, for instance, Detroit and local county officials said the statements showed “an extraordinary failure to understand how elections function.”

Trump’s own administration issued a resounding rebuke Thursday to his claims of fraud.

“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” according to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which spearheaded federal election protection efforts. “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”

–With files from the Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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