Hey, what happened to “trial by combat”? Team Trump abruptly withdrew the four outstanding lawsuits relating to the 2020 general election in Georgia, claiming in a press release that the state settled the case by agreeing to review Team Trump’s evidence. Nonsense, Georgia attorney general Christopher Carr responded — the state made no such deal, and Trump’s team withdrew rather than submit the evidence in a court of law:
President Donald Trump’s explanation on Thursday for why he’s dropping a Hail Mary lawsuit to reverse his election loss in Georgia is false, the state’s Republican attorney general said.
The outgoing president told a federal judge he’s voluntarily dismissing the suit seeking to invalidate the election result because he reached an out-of-court settlement agreement to sit down with state officials and discuss data allegedly showing voter fraud. But no such deal exists, Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr said in a filing responding to Trump. …
Carr said in Thursday’s filing that Georgia had balked at repeated efforts by Trump to discuss a settlement because they viewed his claims as “frivolous” and believed the state would prevail. In an email exchange attached to the state’s filing, the attorney general rejected Trump’s framing of a letter from Carr’s office.
“The letter was not a settlement offer, as you characterize it,” Carr’s office said in the email to Trump’s lawyer, Kurt Hilbert. Hilbert went on to tell the judge that Trump had reached a settlement with the state anyway.
Huh? Just yesterday, Rudy Giuliani insisted that Team Trump’s crack legal team had new evidence that would blow the lid off the Dominion conspiracy. They couldn’t wait to force Georgia and other states into defending against their new “expert” who would explain why ballots counts shifted late in the process … apart from, y’know, the fact that Donald Trump demanded that his voters not use the mail and absentee ballots that got counted after Election Day returns in many states. (In Pennsylvania, they got counted afterward specifically because Republicans in the state legislature refused to allow them to be counted any earlier.) Rudy didn’t just want a trial — Trump’s top attorney on election challenges wanted “trial by combat!”
In that sense, this looks like desertion in the face of the enemy. Why didn’t they show that evidence in court? Secretary of state Brad Raffensperger has a pretty good idea, given that the trial would have started tomorrow:
Raffensperger said there was a trial scheduled for Friday in front of Cobb County Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs.
“Rather than presenting their evidence and witnesses to a court and to cross-examination under oath, the Trump campaign wisely decided the smartest course was to dismiss their frivolous cases,” said Raffensperger.
“Spreading disinformation about elections is dangerous and wrong,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “It was wrong when Stacey Abrams and her allies made false claims about Georgia’s election processes following the 2018 election and run-up to the 2020 election, and it’s wrong when the President and his allies are doing it now.”
Why not appear in court and present the blockbuster evidence Giuliani promised at the rally on the Mall yesterday? There could be three reasons, not necessarily mutually exclusive:
- The counting of the Electoral College votes in Congress yesterday mooted the challenge
- The violence on Capitol Hill convinced Trump to concede
- The lawyers didn’t want to violate good-faith ethics requirements by entering obviously false representations in court
YMMV, but consider that (1) and (2) don’t really fit. The challenges were moot a month ago, when Georgia certified its slate of electors, and certainly by December 14 when the Electoral College met to receive them; Congress doesn’t have authority or jurisdiction to certify and/or validate electors outside of having a second certified slate of electors to compete for recognition. As for (2), Trump still hasn’t conceded, despite plenty of opportunities to do so. He pledged early this morning (through Dan Scavino) to transfer power in an orderly manner, but only while insisting that he won the election.
That leaves us with (3), which is what Raffensperger assumes as well. This is the same kind of withdrawal excuse Team Trump’s lawyers pulled in Michigan too, when they abruptly withdrew their a challenge because Wayne County had supposedly stopped their certification. The problem with that explanation was that the county had already completed certification at that point. The state complained at the time that Trump’s lawyers misrepresented the circumstances in court filings, much like what Carr and Raffensperger allege here too.
The obvious conclusion here is that Giuliani was lying about the blockbuster new evidence of massive election fraud at the rally yesterday. If they had such evidence, they would have submitted it in court just to vindicate their public claims. The lawyers didn’t want to go to court in Michigan to test their claims about Wayne County, and now they’ve run away from a hearing tomorrow that would have put those claims on the table for full scrutiny rather than demagoguery. The retreat therefore speaks for itself.
Final thought: This retreat makes Giuliani’s speech yesterday even more juicy for Dominion’s upcoming defamation suit against Rudy and everyone involved in yesterday’s rally, doesn’t it?
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