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Democrats Compare Trump’s Legal Team to Monty Python Sketch in Response to Pennsylvania Appeal


WASHINGTON, DC - July 24: President Donald Trump speaks as he presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Olympic track and field athlete and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Ryun in the Blue Room of the White House on July 24, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Ryun, a former Kansas congressman, was the first high school runner to run a mile in under four minutes. He competed in three Olympic Games and won a silver medal in 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

The arm of the Democratic Party representing U.S. citizens living overseas filed documents in federal court on Tuesday castigating the Trump campaign for baselessly impugning the security of mail-in voting and failing to abide by the most basic procedural rules of the court—all while attempting to disenfranchise millions of voters in Pennsylvania.

Democrats Abroad filed the amicus brief in response to the Trump campaign’s appeal to the Third Circuit seeking to force a district court judge to allow the campaign to file another amended complaint in its lawsuit aimed at overturning the results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.

The campaign filed its initial complaint on Nov. 9 asking a federal judge to block the state from certifying its election results due to widespread fraud, but quickly scaled back the lawsuit with a Nov. 15 red-lined amended complaint that completely abandoned the unsubstantiated allegations of fraudulent activity.

In that same span, nearly all of the attorneys representing the campaign withdrew from the lawsuit, leading to the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani taking the reins and making his first appearance in federal court since 1992 to argue the case. As previously reported by Law&Crime, Giuliani’s performance was characteristically off the walls, with the former mayor of New York City to one point alleging that 1.5 million votes had been illegally counted in Pennsylvania (though he couldn’t answer how he arrived at the astronomical number). Later on, he told the judge minutes later that “This is not a fraud case.”

In the days after the hearing, the campaign asked U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann for leave to file a second amended complaint to once again allege voter fraud, claiming now-withdrawn campaign attorney Linda Kerns “incorrectly omitted numerous allegations and counts” in the first amended complaint. In its appeal, the campaign argued that the court “abused its discretion” in refusing to allow the campaign an opportunity to document the additional allegations and grievances in that would-be second amended complaint.

In Tuesday’s amicus brief, Democrats Abroad compared the conduct of the Trump campaign’s attorneys to Monty Python and urged the court to put an end to their legal shenanigans.

“The attorneys for the President of the United States should not need ‘three last chances’ to coherently state a cause of action,” Democrats argued, citing to the comedy troupe’s 1970 Spanish Inquisition sketch. “Yet, apparently, that third, last chance is all they seek from this Court. All the while, they have – with no apparent sense of irony given the amount their theory of the case turns on technical defects with ballots – blown past the statutory deadline to certify the election results and now seek to have this Court disregard technical defects in their pleadings and motion practice below.”

The brief also pointed out that mail-in voting—which has been widely used since the Civil War—is essentially the only way more than nine million U.S. citizens living overseas can exercise their right to vote, asserting that tossing their ballots would be patently unconstitutional.

“Appellants’ prayed-for relief bears no connection – let alone the connection required by strict scrutiny – to their alleged interests,” the brief stated. “Appellants’ new request (that is, the request added by the proposed Second Amended Complaint) of simply tossing the election to the Assembly is not narrowly tailored to anything resembling compelling government interest. Instead, it is only tailored to President [Donald] Trump’s desire to have some chance of reversing the overwhelming result of this election.”

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed its response to the Trump campaign’s appeal on Tuesday, arguing that Pennsylvania’s governor “within the last few hours” had certified the results of the election, making the appeal moot.

“The certification of the November 3, 2020 general election in Pennsylvania is complete, and there is nothing to enjoin. The Court should dismiss this appeal,” the DNC brief stated.

The brief also took aim at the campaign legal team’s “erratic” conduct.

“In any event, the district court correctly denied Plaintiffs leave to amend and certainly did not abuse its discretion. As the record of erratic filings reveals, the proceedings below were chaos,” the brief stated. “Not only did Plaintiffs bombard the district court with ‘strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations,’ while seeking to disenfranchise ‘all the voters of [the] sixth most populated state’ based on unfounded accusations of a nationwide conspiracy, but they also continuously moved the goalposts during their own emergency proceedings.”

The Commonwealth’s brief wasn’t much kinder, calling Giuliani’s claims “Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster.”

See below for the Democrats Abroad and DNC briefs in the case.

DNC Response to 3rd Circuit Appeal by Law&Crime on Scribd

DemAbroad Response by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via Samuel Corum/Pool/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.