In a flurry of Saturday evening legal filings, attorneys for the State of Georgia buried Sidney Powell‘s so-called ‘Kraken’ lawsuit which aimed to upend the state’s certification of the 2020 presidential election in favor of Joe Biden.
Some of the papers even slammed Powell’s team’s colloquial name for the case.
“Much like the mythological ‘kraken’ monster after which Plaintiffs have named this lawsuit, their claims of election fraud and malfeasance belong more to the kraken’s realm of mythos than they do to reality,” the state’s lawyers wrote.
“Plaintiffs ask this Court to enjoin certification of an election decided by the ballots of millions of lawful voters, discard their clear decision selecting President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as the winner of the presidential race in Georgia, and declare that the state’s electoral college votes will be awarded to President Donald J. Trump instead,” the state said while in earlier papers kicking off its counterargument in response to Powell’s lawsuit. “Granting this relief would transform the political process as Georgians and Americans have long understood it, into something antithetical to our nation’s most cherished democratic principles. It would also require this Court to step outside the constitutionally prescribed role of federal courts. Plaintiffs’ Motion is as factually baseless as it is unprecedented. Plaintiffs purport to find fault in an eight-month-old settlement agreement, which they mischaracterize and misunderstand, and they rely on unfounded conspiracy theories of election fraud, and specious affidavits about absentee voting and the recount process.”
The first of several documents filed, a 32-page response which opposed Powell’s emergency motion for an injunction, goes on to articulate a plethora of legal reasons why the case should be summarily thrown out of court and the election results declared final. “Plaintiffs lack standing to bring these claims; their decision to wait eight months and challenge the settlement agreement after the election legally bars this lawsuit; and 2 they have entirely failed to meet Rule 8’s plausibility requirements, to say nothing of Rule 9(b)’s heightened pleading standard for claims sounding in fraud,” the state said. “The Court could deny Plaintiffs’ Motion for these reasons alone. The Motion’s lack of legal authority and relevant supporting evidence provide ample additional reason for denial.”
The “settlement agreement” referenced above was the upshot of litigation between Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State and various groups of Democrats who complained that the right to vote was being unduly burdened by state election procedures. As part of the agreement, both sides came to a compromise over a procedure by which rejected ballots could be cured and how signature matches would be conducted; the compromise resulted in the litigation being withdrawn from court. Georgia now argues that Powell’s lawsuit waited too long to challenge the agreement and, therefore, her claims should not be heard in court. The argument is similar to one used by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to recently rubbish a lawsuit in that Commonwealth concerning the 2020 election.
“By all credible accounts, Georgia’s 2020 election was one of the most transparent and accurate in history,” the state’s argument continued in the still-present Georgia litigation. It went on:
Elections officials worked hard under difficult conditions to administer the nation’s first-ever presidential election to be held in the middle of a pandemic, and then to accurately count millions of ballots cast by lawful voters. Claims of fraud or misconduct have been debunked. U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr has stated that the Justice Department has not uncovered voting fraud that could have affected the results of the presidential election. Nevertheless, a small number of zealous partisans have launched a misinformation campaign to sow doubt about the results of the election. Part of this effort has been an unprecedented wave of litigation attempting to deliver the presidential election to President Trump, in direct contradiction to the will of the people. Each of these lawsuits have failed. This one should, as well.
The state’s response, penned primarily by attorney Adam M. Sparks of the Atlanta law firm Krevolin and Horst, said the Powell complaint made the “disjointed” argument that state officials “engaged in an elaborate conspiracy” to “fraudulently manipulate the vote count to make certain the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States” (internal punctuation omitted). Sparks, writing for the state, called Powell’s allegations “incredible.”
“Plaintiffs’ Complaint cobbles disparate legal theories into claims that are not cognizable,” he wrote. “And it purports to allege claims of constitutional violations without identifying any supporting legal theory . . . [i]t states a series of ‘facts,’ many of which are bereft of any actual evidentiary support.”
It concludes, in part, that Powell and her team “manifestly failed to carry their burden of demonstrating a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
The state submitted the papers in litigation before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Earlier this week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to get involved with the case after Powell and her team submitted a literal eleventh-hour filing with the higher court. Powell was chastised for saying before the 11th Circuit that electronic voting machines changed voted for Biden to favor Trump.
Georgia officials have argued against the forensic testing Powell wishes to conduct on state elections machines because reverse engineering the software could leave it prone to hacking.
Among Powell’s arguments is that Georgia Republicans likely did not turn out at the polls to cast votes for Joe Biden.
Read the state’s initial 32-page response below. Additional documents were also filed to dismiss the case as a whole and to prevent various Powell witnesses from testifying. Those documents argue that Powell’s experts produced “unreliable reports written by unqualified individuals.”
[photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]
Editor’s note: this report has been updated after its initial publication to include additional material.
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