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Trump supporters want Supreme Court to review another Michigan election case

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Six of President Donald Trump's supporters in Michigan want the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their case to overturn the state's election results based on conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims of fraud.

It's an attempt that's unlikely to succeed, according to other lawyers involved the matter.

On Friday night, the nation's high court denied a lawsuit championed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who hoped to challenge the results in four battleground states, including Michigan, that voted for President-elect Joe Biden. The Supreme Court said Paxton lacked standing to bring his case, which focused on the states' election laws.

Also on Friday night, attorneys representing six Michigan residents informed the defendants in a separate case that they intended to seek an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their claims against the state's election.

Sidney Powell, right, speaks next to former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, as members of President Donald Trump's legal team, during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington.

Two days later, on Sunday, the Republicans' attorneys asked the high court to allow them to file new evidence under seal — meaning it's not released to the public — including a "forensic examination" of voting machines in Antrim County, according to a letter.

The examination was spurred by an ongoing legal fight in the Northern Michigan county, where an error initially and mistakenly put Biden thousands of votes ahead of Trump in unofficial results.

The attorneys wanted to provide the information under seal "primarily because of the protective order under which it was obtained," according to a letter they signed. A separate circuit court hearing in Michigan on whether the information can be released is scheduled for Monday morning. The Michigan Department of State has previously warned "voters to be wary of the claims" related to the Antrim County examination.

"This evidence is crucial to a just resolution of the cases pending before this court," the Michigan Republicans' attorneys wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court. "The petitioners stand ready to provide the evidence to the court under the procedures it deems appropriate."

The case in question involves Trump supporter and conservative attorney Sidney Powell. She originally brought the litigation in Michigan's Eastern District on behalf of three individuals who would have been presidential electors for Trump and three local GOP officials.

Trump supporters have engaged in a weeks-long effort to try to discredit Michigan's election. But many of their core claims have been based on speculation, are incorrect or have been rejected by election experts.

"The fraud" in Michigan "begins with the election software and hardware from Dominion Voting Systems Corporation," which is used by some counties in the state, Powell's initial Michigan suit said.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker ruled against the Republican plaintiffs, saying the effort aimed to "ignore the will of millions of voters." Biden, the Democrat, won Michigan 51% - 48%, by more than 154,000 votes.

The suit seemed "less about achieving the relief" the GOP plaintiffs sought and "more about the impact of their allegations on people’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government," wrote Parker of Michigan's Eastern District.

"The People have spoken," Parker ruled.

Now, the Republicans are hoping to go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court to get their appeal heard on an emergency basis. The Board of State Canvassers certified Michigan's results on Nov. 23 after bipartisan boards in each of Michigan 83 counties certified county results.

According to a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court obtained by The Detroit News, the Republicans want the nation's high court to decertify the election results or "certify the results of the general election for office of the president in favor of President Donald Trump." The filing hadn't shown up on the U.S. Supreme Court's official docket as of Saturday afternoon.

The petition claims there were "abuses of absentee ballots, fraudulent ballots, manufactured ballots, flipped votes, trashed votes and injected votes" in Michigan elections.

"The trial court completely and utterly ignorged (sic) the dozens of affidavits, testimonials, expert opinions, diagrams and photos that supported the petitioners' claim seeking an injunction of the voting process," according to a petition signed by multiple attorneys, including Powell.

But David Fink, an attorney for the City of Detroit, which intervened in the case, doesn't believe Trump's supporters will be successful. He noted Saturday that the Supreme Court has already rejected similar cases.

"Fifty lawsuits have not found one improperly counted vote," Fink said. "Donald Trump can’t believe that he lost, but he did, and by a very large margin.

"The people have spoken; it’s time for the Trump campaign and these Republican lawyers to dismiss their baseless lawsuits and go home."

In a previous filing, the City of Detroit labeled Powell's claims "little more than fevered rantings of conspiracy theorists built on the work of other conspiracy theorists."

Attorney Drew Paterson, representing voter Robert Davis, who intervened in the case, called the appeal attempt "desperate and frivolous."

"I have been licensed to practice law since 1969 and I can say with certainty that this appeal has a 0% chance of succeeding," Paterson said. "Enough is enough, the people have spoken and now it's time for the federal courts to sanction this unethical conduct and blatant abuse of the judicial process."