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Michigan Appeals Court Denies Bid to Revive Election Suit That Was Based on Dominion Conspiracy Theory


Backers of President Donald Trump attempted to block certification of the vote in the Wolverine State based on a debunked conspiracy theory that voting machines in Detroit are the reason the incumbent so decisively lost the election in Michigan—and nationwide. It took the Michigan Court of Appeals little time to reject that.

Judge Michael Riordan denied the appeal because of the Trump supporters’ “failure to persuade the Court of the existence of manifest error requiring reversal,” in a three-sentence dismissal of their challenge.

A private company turned bugaboo of far-right media, Dominion Voting Systems has turned in Trump’s reason du jour as to why President-elect Joe Biden racked up more than 100,000 more votes for him in a state he relied upon to defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.

One America News Network, the Trump loyalists of the airwaves, amplified the baseless claim that Dominion machines deleted millions of votes nationwide.

When the narrative landed in court, however, judges found that poll watchers Cheryl A. Constantino and Edward P. McCall, Jr. could not back it up with facts beyond vague claims by Republican Melissa Carone.

“Ms. Carone’s description of the events at the TCF Center does not square with any of the other affidavits,” Judge Timothy Kenny found. “There are no other reports of lost data, or tabulating machines that jammed repeatedly every hour during the count. Neither Republican nor Democratic challengers nor city officials substantiate her version of events. The allegations simply are not credible.”

Carone’s interview on Fox Business was promptly panned by groups like the Lincoln Project and Republicans for Joe Biden.

The city of Detroit’s attorney David Fink has compared the relentless conspiracy-mongering in pro-Trump legal offensives to an unfunny version of the Bill Murray classic “Groundhog Day,” in which a TV newscaster relives the same day repeatedly.

Fink again struck the theme in his legal brief urging the denial of the appeal.

“This is one more in a series of ill-conceived cases filed in an attempt to overturn the presidential election,” Fink wrote in 27-page legal brief before today’s ruling. “Like other cases, the complain in this lawsuit relied on speculation and unfounded conspiracy theories. And, as in other cases, the plaintiffs here cannot seriously argue that the ‘fraud’ they claim could have possibly influenced the outcome of this election.”

David Kallman, the lawyer for the Trump backers, did not respond to a voicemail left with his law firm.

[Image via Local 4 screengrab]

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."