Trump bid to overturn U.S. election faces test in Pennsylvania court

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump will take the fight to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election to a court in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where another legal setback would likely doom his already long-shot prospects.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump plays golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., November 15, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, who sits in Williamsport, will hear arguments in a lawsuit the Trump campaign brought on Nov. 9 that seeks to halt the state’s top election official from certifying President-elect Biden as the winner.

Hours before the hearing, the Trump campaign asked the court for permission to let Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appear before the court. Trump tweeted on Saturday that Giuliani was spearheading a new team to pursue the legal fight.

On Monday, three lawyers representing the Trump campaign asked to withdraw from the case, saying the campaign had consented but offering little explanation. Brann allowed two of the three to drop out.

Legal experts say the lawsuits have little chance of changing the outcome. A senior Biden legal adviser dismissed the litigation as “theatrics, not really lawsuits.”

The campaign and Trump supporters have filed lawsuits in multiple states challenging the Nov. 3 election result but have yet to overturn any votes. Any hope of reversing the outcome hangs on Pennsylvania.

Biden clinched the election by winning Pennsylvania to put him over the 270 state-by-state electoral votes needed. Biden, a Democrat, won 306 Electoral College votes overall to the Republican Trump’s 232, Edison Research said on Friday.

The Trump campaign, after narrowing the scope of the case, is focusing on a claim that voters were improperly allowed to fix ballots rejected because of technical errors like a missing “secrecy envelope.”

The campaign alleges Democratic-leaning counties unlawfully identified mail-in ballots before Election Day that had defects so that voters could fix, or “cure,” them.

Pennsylvania officials have asked a judge to toss out Trump’s lawsuit, saying all of the state’s counties were permitted to inform residents if their mail-in ballots were deficient, even if it was not mandatory for them to do so.

Pennsylvania officials have also said the dispute only affects a small number of ballots in the state, where Biden is projected to win by more than 70,000 votes, giving him 49.9% of the state’s votes to 48.8% for Trump.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is due to certify the election results on Nov. 23, meaning Brann is expected to rule quickly.

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