An attorney for President Donald Trump recently admitted that the failed reelection campaign was not alleging fraud in Philadelphia.
On Friday, Judge James Crumlish of Philadelphia County’s Court of Common Pleas quizzed Trump lawyer Linda Kerns as to just what, exactly, the 45th president was complaining about in the briefs.
“Having read your moving papers, would you agree with me that you are not proceeding based on allegations of fraud or misconduct; is that correct?” the judge asked, according to a full transcript of those proceedings obtained by Law&Crime.
“I am not proceeding on those allegations,” Kerns confirmed. “I’m simply proceeding on 3157 of the election code as well as 3246.”
The Trump attorney was apparently referring to sections of the Pennsylvania Election Code which deal with: (1) procedural appeals to county election boards; and (2) rules governing the canvassing of official absentee ballots, respectively. To be clear: the second referenced statute is actually section 3146.8–based on a later citation, in the hearing transcript, to the law’s specific language.
Judge Crumlish pressed on and asked for his question to be answered directly.
“All right,” he said, acknowledging the lawsuit’s genesis. “More directly to my question, you are not alleging fraud or irregularity as the basis, you are alleging an error of law; is that correct?”
To which Kerns replied: “I’m alleging that these ballots were not filled out correctly, yes. That’s what I’m alleging.”
Crumlish took the opportunity to dig a bit deeper into Trump’s theory.
“It is important, and I’d ask you to listen carefully if I’m not being clear,” the judge said. “You are alleging that the [Philadelphia County] Board [of Elections] committed an error of law in deciding to vote to count these ballots; is that correct?”
Kerns replied in the affirmative–crystallizing the plaintiffs’ case.
The judge later asked whether the Trump campaign was challenging the basic eligibility of any particular voters. Kerns said they were not.
“[I]f I may ask, do we all agree that the thousands of ballots that are under challenge all represent eligible voters?” the judge inquired.
“Was the question that I agree that these were eligible voters?” Kerns asked.
Crumlish responded: “Yes, taking aside, for the moment, whether or not they properly filled out the mail-in or absentee ballot envelope.”
And Kerns acceded: “Yes, I’m not challenging their eligibility.”
Philadelphia was more than happy to accept those admissions–though the county hotly disputed that the elections board was wrong.
“[W]e certainly agree with Ms. Kerns’ statement that there’s no issue of fraud raised here, no issue of voters’ desires or wishes being overwhelmed,” said Philadelphia County Board of Elections counsel Michele Hangley. “This is an issue of whether minor technical errors, or irregularities, on a declaration envelope are a basis for the board to throw out a vote, to tell that voter that their vote doesn’t count.”
“It’s our position that under the plain language of the statute and under all of the precedents of this commonwealth that directs us to respect the voters’ wishes, to interpret the law in favor of allowing people to vote except in issues of fraud, which are not raised here, that these irregularities were no basis for the board to toss out these votes,” Hangley continued. “The board made a correct legal decision, that this court should defer to it and affirm.”
Late Friday, Judge Crumlish ruled in favor of the City (County) of Brotherly Love.
Kerns also made news on Monday morning by complaining–via a court motion–about a voicemail she received from an attorney who works with elite law firm Kirkland & Ellis.
That voicemail apparently contained a baby crying in the background and the firm itself said the attorney was acting on their own accord–and slightly unprofessionally.
Kerns apparently said she didn’t want to but had to complain.
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) November 16, 2020
Read the transcript!
[image via Joshua Roberts/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]