Michigan Court of Claims judge rules against Trump campaign's efforts to stop counting absentee ballots
DETROIT (FOX 2) - A Michigan court of claims judge has ruled against President Donald Trump's campaign that challenged access by Republican challengers to observe the counting of absentee election votes.
The suit was filed in the Michigan Court of Claims and Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled against the campaign after questioning Trump’s attorneys over the evidence that she called hearsay.
Shortly before the race for President was called in Michigan, the President’s campaign filed a lawsuit to halt counting election votes, saying the campaign has not had proper access to review the opening and processing of absentee ballots.
The counting of votes continued, however, and Biden was declared the winner around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday but the lawsuit was still filed by the Trump campaign. Trump’s attorney argued in a brief oral argument that a Republican poll watcher had been removed from a counting room. Judge Stephens questioned if that information was hearsay.
Moments after the suit was announced, a group of GOP challengers tried to enter TCF Center in Detroit where hundreds of thousands of ballots are being counted but election staff told FOX 2's Jessica Dupnack they are at capacity for both Democrat and Republican challengers.
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An attorney for the Democratic party is calling the lawsuit filed by Republicans as "hearsay" who "sued the wrong defendant." Instead of suing the Michigan Secretary of State, the Republican party should be suing the county boards who oversee ballot counting.
"All of this is simply an effort to stop the counting of ballots cast," says Democrat lawyer Kevin Hamilton.
Judge Stephens questioned the legitimacy of suing the Secretary of State despite her having direct control over the counting process. Thor Hearne, the Republican attorney cited a previous case where the Michigan Secretary of State was involved in vote counting. Hearne says the request is that Secretary Benson make video of ballots being cast available to poll watchers and asked for challengers to review the video.
“This goes to the theme of the whole complaint we've filed," Hearne said, referring to having access to video footage that tracked ballot drop boxes before the election, in addition to allowing challengers "be able to access the process" to watch the votes being counting.
Stephens pointed out both legal teams wanted a free and fair election, but discrepancies over keeping plaintiffs from performing duty as a qualified watcher in Roscommon County.
During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Stephens ruled against the President’s lawsuit.
An appeal from the Trump campaign is expected.