US President Donald Trump failed again to invalidate his election loss in Georgia and allow the state’s Republican-led legislature to declare him the winner — his latest courtroom defeat in a quixotic effort to remain in office, despite losing the vote on Nov. 3 last year.
US District Judge Mark Cohen in Atlanta on Tuesday denied Trump’s motion to “decertify” US president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
During the hearing, for which there was no public dial-in access, Cohen said that the election was carried out validly under state law, and the court cannot tell the US Congress which US Electoral College votes it can count, a person familiar with the matter said.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Trump on Thursday last week that rehashed claims of voter fraud made by his campaign and allies in dozens of other cases that were universally rejected by courts.
The latest lawsuit came just days before Trump held a controversial call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a defendant in the case, asking him to “find” just enough votes to overturn Biden’s win.
The hearing was held via videoconference for the involved lawyers and parties, but the public was not permitted to call in after Trump’s lawyer declined to allow such access.
The person familiar with the hearing, who asked not to be identified, provided details of the proceeding.
Cohen’s clerk confirmed that Trump’s motion was denied and said that a written order was to be issued later yesterday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Raffensperger told the judge in a court filing on Monday evening that Trump’s demands were “absurd,” and that his lawsuit was the result of a “manufactured crisis.”
Granting Trump’s request would “disenfranchise millions of Georgia voters” and “thrust the State of Georgia into constitutional chaos,” the officials said in the filing.
The person quoted Cohen in the hearing as saying that Trump waited too long to challenge Georgia’s rules for mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, which were established in March last year, and that his claims of rampant voter fraud should have been made earlier.
The person quoted Trump’s lawyer, Kurt Hilbert, as saying that the president failed to challenge Georgia’s March settlement agreement with Democrats over how the state would manage mail-in ballots during the pandemic because Trump did not know how the election would play out.
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