Judge peppers lawyer of Arizona election suit about case viability

Dec 8, 2020, 3:00 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge presiding over a lawsuit seeking to decertify the election results that gave Democrat President-elect Joe Biden his Arizona win over President Donald Trump peppered a lawyer with questions Tuesday about why the legal challenge should remain alive in court.

The challenge alleges Arizona’s election systems have security flaws that let election workers and foreign countries manipulate results and that those systems switched votes from Trump to Biden.

Attorneys for the state’s election officials have said the lawsuit uses conspiracy theories to make wild allegations not backed up by any proof against Dominion Voting Systems, one of Maricopa County’s vendors for voting equipment, to back up its claims of widespread Arizona election fraud.

U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa said the federal lawsuit makes claims similar to those in a separate legal challenge that was filed in state court and dismissed last week.

“It is based on the same sort of argument and evidence, isn’t it?” Humetewa asked. “How can it be any different?”

Julia Haller, an attorney who argued to keep the federal lawsuit alive, said the cases don’t pose identical issues and that the ongoing case alleges widespread voter fraud tied to voting equipment.

“They are very different allegations,” Haller said.

Justin Nelson, an attorney who argued on behalf of Arizona election officials and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, characterized the lawsuit as “an attack on democracy.”

Those promoting the federal lawsuit have failed to show a connection between the widespread fraud they allege and their allegations that votes were changed from Trump to Biden in Arizona, Nelson said.

“The allegations are not remotely plausible,” Nelson said.

No evidence of voter fraud or election fraud has emerged during this election season in Arizona.

Tuesday’s hearing focused on whether Humetewa should throw out the lawsuit, which was filed by former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell on behalf of proposed Trump electors in Arizona.

The judge said she planned to release her decision by Wednesday afternoon.

Six other election challenges in metro Phoenix — which has 61 percent of Arizona’s voters — have been dismissed, including a GOP lawsuit that sought to undo Biden’s win in Arizona.

The judge who last week dismissed Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward’s lawsuit seeking to reverse Biden’s Arizona’s victory concluded that Ward failed to prove fraud in her challenge to the election results for metro Phoenix.

The state’s election results were certified a week ago, showing Biden won Arizona. The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on Monday.

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Judge peppers lawyer of Arizona election suit about case viability