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Trump Campaign Comically Unveils ‘Marking Device’-gate Lawsuit After ‘Sharpiegate’ Branding Falls Flat


Sharpiegate is dead, at least the one about the 2020 election rather than the one about Hurricane Dorian’s trajectory and the censorship of government scientists.

On Monday, the Trump campaign unveiled a new lawsuit repackaging debunked claims that poll workers gave Trump supporters markers—knowing that those markers would bleed through ballots and that the ballots would not be counted, and all to help Joe Biden win Arizona.

Not long after Law&Crime published a story on conservative lawyers withdrawing a lawsuit on the “Sharpiegate” conspiracy theory, a representative of The Kolodin Law Group PLLC sent us a copy of the law firm’s new complaint about this issue, dated Nov. 9. Unlike the original complaint, the new suit names the Trump campaign as a plaintiff. Also unlike the original suit, the facts of the case do not refer to a Sharpie but to a “marking device.”

The lawsuit included exhibits of declarations that were signed on Nov. 4 or Nov. 5. The exhibits, which predated the notice of dismissal for the initial complaint, were the only parts of the filing that referred to Sharpies by name; neither the facts of the case nor the section on causes of action in the updated complaint did so.

Read the 29-page filing below:

Original story below.

Conservative lawyers who catered to the conspiracy that leftist poll workers intentionally disenfranchised Trump supporters by giving them Sharpies to fill out their ballots—knowing that these ballots would be rejected as a result—have quietly dropped their “Sharpiegate” lawsuit.

We have to talk about this because Sharpiegate gained significant traction on the right over the last week, in no small part because of a lawsuit targeting Maricopa County, Arizona. Supporters of President Donald Trump, concerned that ballots marked up by Sharpies were not being counted, swarmed a vote-counting center in Arizona last Wednesday.


This idea, entirely unfounded, was debunked several times over in the ensuing days:

Nonetheless, the Sharpiegate conspiracy spread to Michigan and beyond.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) said last Thursday that her staffers had received some harassing and threatening phone calls from people referencing Sharpies.

“Dear members of the public: Please stop making harassing & threatening calls to my staff. They are kind, hardworking public servants just doing their job. Asking them to shove sharpies in uncomfortable places is never appropriate & is a sad commentary on the state of our nation,” Nessel said.

Law&Crime reached out to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s (D) office for additional information about the nature of these phone calls.

Benson’s Director of Media Relations Tracy Wimmer said that people falsely believed ballots marked up by Sharpies would be rejected.

“I’m not aware of any threats, but I do know a rumor was circulating that ballots filled out with sharpie wouldn’t be counted. This is false. Blue or black sharpie is perfectly acceptable and using them on ballots is not reason for rejection,” Wimmer said.

One way of knowing a lawsuit lacks merit is if a presiding judge says so and throws out the litigation (which we have seen several times in the last week). Another way of coming to that conclusion is if the plaintiffs, on their own, stop pursuing the case. That is what happened with Sharpiegate.

The Kolodin Law Group PLLC—which bills itself as a “small firm – that’s brought big government to its knees”—and a conservative law firm called the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) first filed the lawsuit on Nov. 4.

The lawsuit contained allegations that ballots that had Sharpie ink bleeding through them were not being counted.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) promptly debunked the claims.

And it wasn’t just Democratic officials saying that there was no evidence to support the conspiracy theory.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, said last Thursday, “Do I think based on what I’ve heard now and what I’ve seen that maybe this was a little overblown? I think that I will, at this point, say that I will believe what the election officials have said verbally and take them at their word.”

“At the end of the day, think about this, if indeed there was an issue with Sharpies, I mean, I’m not a math whiz, but that would have affected both parties equally,” he added. In short, a Republican attorney general backed away from the matter.

The Maricopa County Elections Department also dispelled the rumors.

The Associated Press reported on Saturday that a notice of dismissal was filed in the case but that the notice didn’t provide a reason for said dismissal. The Kolodin Law Group PLLC’s Alexander Kolodin didn’t comment.

PILF’s website lists the lawsuit under its “cases” section, but the website currently doesn’t indicate that the case has been dismissed.

[Image via YouTube screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.