Pennsylvania federal Judge Matthew Brann has formally cancelled a previously scheduled evidentiary hearing that had been set for this Thursday as part of a challenge from the Trump campaign against the state’s election results. Brann concluded that the hearing was no longer needed after longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, who joined the Trump campaign’s legal team in court, had said that the ongoing Pennsylvania court challenge “is not a fraud case.” Instead, the Trump team’s allegations resemble smoke and mirrors — and smoke and mirrors don’t need a hearing at which to present evidence in court.
Brann also denied a request from Trump’s legal team to sanction the other side over what one of Trump’s lawyers, Linda Ann Kearns, claimed to be threatening phone calls. During a hearing in the case on Tuesday, Brann said that “the word I would use would be ‘mockery'” to describe the tone of the calls, which he admitted were “regrettable” but simply did not rise to the level of threat that the Trump legal team claimed.
Judge Brann puts in writing what he said in court: Tomorrow's previously scheduled evidentiary hearing is unnecessary and now off.
He also rejects an effort by Trump's counsel to sanction the lawyers on the other side for what she claimed to be a harassing phone call. 🔽 https://t.co/J2gFIjNukB
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) November 18, 2020
During the Tuesday hearing in the Pennsylvania case, Giuliani went on a lengthy rant in which he alleged that fraud had plagued electoral processes all across the United States — but the president’s team has not produced meaningful evidence in support of this claim. At one point during Tuesday’s hearing, Giuliani claimed that Republican observers saw “zero” ballots, which is false, but he insisted that when this imaginary Republican exclusion was taking place, there was a “wonderful opportunity to hold back and even produce votes” to sway the election to Biden. Nothing of the sort took place. The Department of Homeland Security itself recently noted that there is “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” which covers some of the fraud scenarios that the Trump team has alleged unfolded.
In the Pennsylvania case, the Trump team was originally seeking the invalidation of hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots, but they have since dropped this request. They originally based the request on the lie that Republican observers had been systematically excluded from the ballot-counting process. In a Tuesday ruling in a separate election-related challenge, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court poured cold water on the Republican claims of observer mistreatment, concluding that Philadelphia authorities had followed the law in demanding significant distance between election workers and observers. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated extra concern for physical safety.