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Michigan Supreme Court Spikes Trump Appeal That Pretended ‘Hearsay within Hearsay’ Was a Smoking Gun


Lame-duck President Donald Trump’s ongoing attacks on observable reality and the elections that he lost took a tumble again on Friday, as the Michigan Supreme Court rejected his request to redefine hearsay as firsthand observation.

“The application for leave to appeal the December 4, 2020 order of the Court of Appeals is considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court,” the Michigan Supreme Court wrote simply, with no noted dissents.

Trump’s misinformation campaign against Michigan’s elections has leaned heavily on a rumor passed on by poll watcher Jessica Connarn, who signed an affidavit stating that an unidentified person told her about what “other hired poll workers at her table” had told her about ballot-counting inside Detroit’s TCF Center.

Connarn submitted a yellow Post-It note scrawled with a vague and equivocal statement as evidence.

None of it impressed judges at every level of Michigan’s judiciary.

“‘I heard someone else say something,’” Michigan Judge Cynthia Stephens said on Nov. 5, summing up an affidavit submitted by the Trump campaign. “Tell me how that is not hearsay. Come on now!

A day later, Stephens went further in her written ruling, which labeled it “inadmissible hearsay within hearsay.”

The Trump campaign’s lawyer Thor Hearne kept peddling Connarn’s testimony anyway, and he persisted in trying to persuade Michigan’s judiciary that a third-hand rumor transmogrifies into a firsthand observation when it backs the outgoing president. Neither Michigan’s intermediate Court of Appeals or Supreme Court saw fit to disturb the dictionary definition of “hearsay.”

[Image via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images]

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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."