Trump lawsuit amended before hearing
There has been an amendment in the litigation by Donald J. Trump for President Inc. against state Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar ahead of a hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today in U.S. Middle District Court in Williamsport.
The hearing is before U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann.
The amendment was due to a Friday ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a separate case, according to the Trump lawyers.
“The campaign strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit to rely on claims of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the attorneys said.
A claim that 682,479 ballots were improperly processed and counted remains a part of the suit.
The amended complaint added plaintiff David John Henry of Lancaster County, an elector. Henry was notified that his ballot was canceled three days after the election due to it not being enclosed in a secrecy envelope.
Another plaintiff, Lawrence Roberts, of Uniontown, is added to the complaint.
Roberts, an elector, learned on Nov. 9 that his voter services website indicated that his ballot was canceled. No one called or notified him of the fact, according to the Trump attorneys.
Philadelphia and Allegheny counties received and processed 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots without review by the political parties and candidates, according to Trump officials.
“We are still arguing that 682,479 ballots were counted illegally, in secret,” said Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director.
“Our poll watchers were denied meaningful access to watch the vote counting and we still incorporate that claim in our complaint.”
The lawsuit also claims violations of the Equal Protection Clause because some voters who mailed ballots in Philadelphia were alerted by election workers that their ballots may have contained mistakes or defects that would cause them to be rejected.
Those voters were given the opportunity to cast provisional ballots in the event that their mailed ballots were thrown out.
However, voters in other counties of Pennsylvania were not afforded that same opportunity, according to the Trump lawyers.
In addition, since the Philadelphia voters were forewarned that their ballots could be defective, it is an indication that poll workers were pre-canvassing those ballots prior to Election Day, which would be a clear violation of Pennsylvania law, the president’s team said.
Also Monday, a lead Trump attorney asked a judge to sanction a law firm representing Boockvar due to a voicemail message at the attorney’s firm, which ran afoul of “professional conduct.” Linda A. Kerns, the Philadelphia attorney representing the Trump campaign, did not provide contents of the message left in the court document, according to court documents.
In response, an attorney with Kirkland & Ellis, the Washington, D.C. firm representing Boockvar, said it was a firm associate who left the message who was not affiliated, which is serving as outside counsel to Boockvar.
Daniel T. Donovan, a partner with Kirkland & Ellis, said the message was left by an associate of the firm but not part of the firm’s litigation group and he has not worked on the Trump reelection campaign case.
The associate acted on his own without knowledge or authorization of the firm, Donovan said.
“The firm expects that every lawyer will conduct themselves with the highest standards of professional conduct, including being respectful of and courteous to other members of the bar,” Donovan said.
Separately, four people dropped their lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf and Boockvar seeking to prevent certification of votes.
Brann dismissed the lawsuit filed by Centre County residents — Lamarr Pirkle, Theodore Dannerth, Lauren Danks and Casey Flynn of Montour County, each claiming their right to vote had been infringed by “vote dilution because illegal ballots were cast and counted.”
The dismissal was requested in light of the passage of time and expiration of deadlines proposed in their original motion, according to court documents.