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Trump campaign's appeal stalls in Michigan as court demands missing documents

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

The Michigan Court of Appeals warned President Donald Trump's campaign Monday that his appeal seeking a stop to the counting and certification of Michigan's election results would be dismissed because of a failure to attach necessary filings. 

Lawyer Mark "Thor" Hearne told The Detroit News he plans to file the additional documents Monday afternoon. He had filed an appeal with the court on Friday after state Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens denied a preliminary injunction seeking to stop the counting of ballots. 

But Hearne's filing lacked copies of Stephens' order, the lower court docket or register of actions, a transcript of the lower court hearing and additional copies of a brief, according to a Monday letter from the appellate court. 

Boxes are lined up near the middle of TCF Center's Hall E while absentee ballots are counted in Detroit on Nov. 3, 2020.

"Unless the above is filed within 21 days of the date of this letter, your case may be dismissed for failure to pursue the case in conformity with the rules," wrote Mark McElwee, commissioner docket clerk for the court. 

Stephens issued a Friday written opinion finding that ballot counting was already concluded and that the suit was filed against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson when local clerks were the ones responsible for administering elections. Though the lawsuit alleged a poll challenger was denied access, it never detailed where the challenger was denied access, when or why, Stephens said. 

Hearne's appeal asks the courts to overturn Stephens' ruling and instead stop the canvassing and certification process so challengers can observe "the conduct of the election" and videos from unattended ballot drop boxes.

He argued election workers still are reviewing overseas voter ballots and challenged absentee ballots. Further, he said, Benson was the appropriate defendant in the case since she's considered "chief elections officer."

"Local election officials must follow Secretary Benson's instructions regarding the conduct of elections," Hearne argued. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com