Thursday, 19 November 2020

Giuliani's court bid to overturn Biden victory turns to farce as he forgets judge's name, calls other lawyer 'that angry man,' claims the 11 biggest cities are conspiring to steal election, then gets directions to the nearest martini bar

 Rudy Giuliani returned to federal court for the first time since 1992 to argue for his client Donald Trump Tuesday, as the president ran out of lawyers and legal options, and was left using the former mayor as his frontman.

But the hearing was far from smooth or convincing, with Giuliani stumbling over the law and the facts, calling his opponent 'that man who was angry at me' and needing the meaning of 'opacity' explained to him by the judge.

'In the plaintiffs' counties, they were denied the opportunity to have an unobstructed observation and ensure opacity,' Giuliani said. 'I'm not quite sure I know what opacity means. It probably means you can see, right?'

'It means you can't,' said U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, PA.

'Big words, your honor,' Giuliani, 76, said.

The case is one of Trump's few remaining opportunities to stop hundreds of thousands of votes in Pennsylvania counting towards the election result, offering him the beginning of a legal path which could overturn the election result.

The Trump campaign is seeking to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying its election. 

The lawsuit is based on a complaint that Philadelphia and six Democratic-controlled counties in Pennsylvania let voters make corrections to mail-in ballots that were otherwise going to be disqualified for a technicality, like lacking a secrecy envelope or a signature.

Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani (second right) appeared in person in federal court in Pennsylvania to argue a case – only to have the state Supreme Court overturn a lower court win for Team Trump

Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani (second right) appeared in person in federal court in Pennsylvania to argue a case – only to have the state Supreme Court overturn a lower court win for Team Trump

Legal chief: Rudy Giuliani - seen at the infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference on the day the election was called for Trump  - had to appear in court for the president as he runs out of lawyers

Legal chief: Rudy Giuliani - seen at the infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference on the day the election was called for Trump  - had to appear in court for the president as he runs out of lawyers

'The man who was very angry with me, I forgot his name.': Mark Aronchick, who appeared for the Pennsylvania counties including Allegheny and Philadelphia, mocked Giuliani and later told MSNBC: 'You can say what you like at Four Seasons Total Landscaping'

'The man who was very angry with me, I forgot his name.': Mark Aronchick, who appeared for the Pennsylvania counties including Allegheny and Philadelphia, mocked Giuliani and later told MSNBC: 'You can say what you like at Four Seasons Total Landscaping'

It is not clear how many ballots that could involve, although some opposing lawyers say it is far too few to overturn the election result. President-elect Joe Biden won the state by more than 70,000 votes.

Giuliani began the legal case saying he wants around 600,000 cases thrown out, but the number went up in the court of the day to as many as two million. 


As lawyer after lawyer quit his side, Trump's legal adviser Giuliani ended up in court himself. His last federal appearance was as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan in 1992, the job which made him famous; his last court date was representing his alleged mistress's daughter in Florida in 2018.

Over the next several hours, he fiddled with his Twitter account - retweeting another Trump lawyer who said his opening argument was 'excellent' - forgot which judge he was talking to and threw around wild, unsupported accusations about a nationwide conspiracy by Democrats to steal the election.

No such evidence has emerged since Election Day.

Giuliani needled an opposing lawyer, calling him 'the man who was very angry with me, I forgot his name.'

He mistook the judge for a federal judge in a separate Pennsylvania district who rejected a separate Trump campaign case: 'I was accused of not reading your opinion and that I did not understand it.'

During several hours of arguments, Judge Brann - an Obama appointee - told Giuliani that agreeing with him would disenfranchise the more than 6.8 million Pennsylvanians who voted.

'Can you tell me how this result could possibly be justified?' Brann questioned. Giuliani responded: 'The scope of the remedy is because of the scope of the injury.'

The line of questioning on legal matters tripped up Giuliani repeatedly, with the judge asking what 'standard of review' - there are two - he should apply.

'Err, the normal one,' Giuliani replied. In fact they are called rational inquiry or strict scrutiny.  

And while the hearing was going on, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled against Donald Trump's presidential campaign's complaint that observers weren't allowed close enough to observe the electoral count.

The 5-2 decision ruled that Pennsylvania counties could determine the particulars of election observers, and that state law only required they be 'in the room' when votes are counted.

The state supreme court found that restrictions that Philadelphia election officials put in place 'were reasonable in that they allowed candidate representatives to observe the Board conducting its activities as prescribed under the Election Code.'

Hot seat: U.S. District Judge William Brann ran the hearing and ended by directing Giuliani to the nearest martini bar

Hot seat: U.S. District Judge William Brann ran the hearing and ended by directing Giuliani to the nearest martini bar

Among the evidence cited were claims made in the campaign's own witness statements, including by a lawyer who served as an observer and shared observations from inside a vote canvassing facility. The court's opinion, which reversed a lower court ruling which was the Trump camp's only significant victory, noted that the campaign's 'own witness' provided testimony which contradicted the claim.

It said the restrictions 'did not deprive' the observer of the ability to observe what went on with the canvassing process in a meaningful way.

The legal setback snatched away the Trump camp's lone win after filing a series of state lawsuits challenging actions by county election officials in states that went to Democrat Joe Biden.  

Giuliani, however, was unbowed as he argued his case in federal court, launching lengthy tirades about fraud despite the case not being about it.

 This mail-in system, new mail-in system, this whole situation on a smaller scale goes back to as early as 1960 when Mayor Daley held back votes in Chicago so that he could tidy up the result to make sure it would go the way he wanted
Rudy Giuliani 

'It's a widespread nationwide voter fraud of which this is a part. You'd have to be a fool to think this was an accident,' Giuliani said.

Trump and his lawyers have yet to provide evidence of such a nationwide conspiracy – although they have increasingly pointed to voting machines that the president claims 'deleted'  votes from him and 'switched' them to Joe Biden. 

Giuliani did not raise complaints about voting machines in court, instead claiming Democratic-controlled counties didn't allow Republicans to see 'a single absentee ballot' during counting. This was not in the legal complaint the campaign had filed.

'I used to vote by absentee ballot a lot, because I traveled a lot,' Giuliani acknowledged during his argument. 

Rather than cite case law, Giuliani described a conspiracy to rig the election with simultaneous actions in big cities located within states Joe Biden won, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to Detroit and Milwaukee.

'The places it happened, it just all happened to be big cities controlled by Democrats,' he said.

He even invoked the close 1960 election and the infamous Daley machine in Chicago.

Legal analysis: The other leading figure in the Trump legal challenge, Jenna Ellis, tweeted this after the case closed. The advice was offered to both set of lawyers

Legal analysis: The other leading figure in the Trump legal challenge, Jenna Ellis, tweeted this after the case closed. The advice was offered to both set of lawyers

Venue: Rudy Giuliani was in court in Williamsport, PA, to try to overturn the election result

Venue: Rudy Giuliani was in court in Williamsport, PA, to try to overturn the election result

He called Philadelphia 'well known for voter fraud' and described poll workers as a 'little mafia.' Without evidence, he accused big cities of 'holding back' votes.

The dozens of affidavits Trump's lawyers filed in the case, however, do not assert widespread fraud, but rather the potential for something fishy to occur because partisan poll watchers weren't given an opportunity to view the results.

Judge Brann allowed Giuliani to talk at length as he wove together his scenario, even amid a string of individual legal defeats and having individual claims of dead people voting fall apart, including by a 94-year-old widow who told DailyMail.com she cast one of the ballots Trump claimed was submitted by a dead voter.

'This mail-in system, new mail-in system, this whole situation on a smaller scale goes back to as early as 1960 when Mayor Daley held back votes in Chicago so that he could tidy up the result to make sure it would go the way he wanted,' Giuliani said.

'This practice of holding back votes, which happens in my city also your honor, is a time honored practice.'

Demand was so high to hear Trump's lawyer in action that there were technical problems when a call-in line that was supposed to be equipped for 4,000 people got swamped. The judge said 8,000 people tried to get on. DailyMail.com was on for part of the hearing but the call cut out twice.

The judge then paused the hearing while officials tried to work out technical glitches.  

Attorney Daniel Donavan of Kirkland & Ellis, representing county officials, argued that the Trump team didn't have standing and couldn't make an case under the Constitution's Equal Protection clause based on counties providing different levels of ability for voters to 'cure' ballots.

He noted that Giuliani's claims of fraud weren't in the latest version of his team's complaint, and that many of the allegations had been deleted. 

'That's not in the complaint judge. There are not such allegations,' he said. 

Another lawyer for the election officials, Mark Aronchick, went after Giuliani by name over and over again, saying he doesn't know if he 'has even read' a key opinion he cited.

'He remembers from his first year law school class something about standing,' Aronchick said in one of multiple lines from his own argument dripping with sarcasm.

'He called our election workers, our patriots … the mafia,' he said, again going after Giuliani. 'This just is disgraceful.' Aronchick called Giuliani's case 'fantasy land.'

Trump made his comments on the Fox Business Network

Trump made his comments on the Fox Business Network

Aronchick later appeared on MSNBC where he mocked Giuliani's approach calling it a 'fact-free presentation.'

'When you're in court you have to talk about the complaint, you have to talk about your facts, you have to talk about the law,' he said.

'When you're at Four Seasons Total Landscaping I guess you can talk about anything.' 

Trump's new Pennsylvania lawyer Marc Scaringi cast doubt derailing a 'Biden presidency' through the courts immediately after Election Day

Trump's new Pennsylvania lawyer Marc Scaringi cast doubt derailing a 'Biden presidency' through the courts immediately after Election Day

After hearing arguments and motions for a total of six hours, Brann peppered Giuliani with questions and gave his team until 5pm Wednesday to file a new brief. If they do not the case could be dismissed by default.

After a long day of arguments, he advised counsel on both sides 'off the record' about area restaurants, as well as a martini bar and a brew pub. 

Giuliani was defiant as he left court saying that if he loses, he will simply appeal. 

He had already said that the Trump campaign is preparing to lose election cases in Pennsylvania and other states in a strategy he said would ultimately hand a final decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

'Frankly this is a case that we would like to get to the Supreme Court. So we're prepared in some of these cases to lose and to appeal and to get it to the Supreme Court,' Giuliani told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo Tuesday. 

The Supreme Court does not have to take up appeals and can simply leave lower-court rulings in place. And if Trump won, the state in which he won, or the Democratic party, could appeal to the Supreme Court too.

Giuliani also pointed to a Trump campaign lawsuit in Michigan. 

He also mentioned suits in Wisconsin and Georgia. 'Then we'll have three more right after that.' In all of those states, networks declared Trump the winner. There is a hand recount under way in Georgia. 

Conservatives hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, but many legal experts have predicted Trump's efforts will fail, with Biden having amassed 306 electoral votes. 

Trump in September signaled he believed an election case would ultimately land before the Supreme Court, as he made the case to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

'We need nine justices. You need that, with the unsolicited millions of ballots that they're sending,' he said.

A new member of Trump's Pennsylvania team said publicly that there aren't enough 'bombshells' out there that would prevent President-elect Joe Biden form taking office.

The Trump campaign brought on lawyer Marc Scaringi, who also has an AM radio show, after several other attorneys resigned under public pressure from efforts to declare the vote in Pennsylvania and other states invalid.

Scaringi himself cast doubt on the effort shortly after TV networks called the race for Biden after naming him the victor in Pennsylvania. 

'I've been saying since Wednesday morning that Biden would win and to my friends out there ... In my opinion there really are no bombshells that are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency, including these lawsuits,' he said on his show Nov. 7.   

'I really don't want to get into a discussion on any of these pending lawsuits file by the trump campaign or the state GOPs,' he continued. 'I will say that some of them have merit, like the lawsuits filed by our Pennsylvania Republican party ... several of the other lawsuits don't seem to have much evidence substantiated their claims,' he said. 

 'At the end of the day, in my view, the litigation will not work,' he said. 'It will not reverse this election.'

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