President Donald Trump’s legal team repeated its vow Sunday to bring a wave of new lawsuits contesting Joe Biden’s win of the presidency, starting with a federal suit to be filed Monday alleging that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were awash in vote fraud.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, elaborated on the pending suits in an interview on Fox News in which he leveled allegations that, in several cases, the GOP had already argued without success in previous court challenges.
However, the Trump legal team did cite at least one case from Pennsylvania in which it appears the vote of a dead woman from the Pittsburgh area was received and marked as “recorded” by election officials.
In his Sunday remarks, Giuliani contended the suits could reverse the electionoutcome, at least in Pennsylvania.
“We have enough to change Pennsylvania,” he said. “The Pennsylvania election was a disaster."
Giuliani said there were voting issues in as many as 10 states. “This was a national plan by Democrats,” he told Maria Bartiromo on her Sunday Morning Futures show.
Democratic lawyers have fought back against GOP lawsuits ever since Tuesday’s election. They have dismissed the challenges as fact-free attacks on what turned out to be a fairly routine election process.
“There’s no there there,” Adam Bonin, a lawyer for Democrats who was among the vote-counting observers in Philadelphia for his party, said Sunday.
According to the latest Associated Press projections, Biden has 290 Electoral College votes, which means he would still have the necessary 270 if for some reason his Pennsylvania victory was successfully challenged.
In the federal suit Monday, Giuliani said, the Trump camp would argue that the Pennsylvania process violated federal civil rights law and Pennsylvania law.
He also said the brief would argue that improper counts in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh meant the statewide count violated the U.S. Constitution’s call for equal protection under the law — an argument that Giuliani noted was advanced by George W. Bush in the 2000 legal war that won Bush the presidency.
He also said that “more likely than not” the allegations of fraud would reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
In his Fox News interview, Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, called Philadelphia “a city that is an epicenter of voter fraud” and said: “We have dead people voting,” possibly in “very, very substantial” numbers. The only examples he cited were from past elections, such as a vote cast in 2018 in the name of boxer Joe Frazier, seven years after his death.
But another top Trump ally, Corey Lewandowski, had joined Giuliani at a news conference Saturday and cited one case of what he said was a documented dead Pennsylvania voter: Denise Ondick, of Homestead, near Pittsburgh.
Records appear to support his claim. An online obituary and her family say that Ondick, a registered Democrat, died at age 74 on Oct. 22. But voting records show a mail-in ballot was sent to her home on Oct. 24, two days after death, and that it was sent back and received by election officials on Nov. 2. The individual mail ballot tracking system of the state Secretary of State says that this vote was “recorded.”
It was not immediately clear whether the listing of a vote as “recorded” means it was in the final count.
The mail-in ballot cast in her name was among 350,000 cast in the election from Allegheny County.
Asked about the matter, Allegheny County election officials said they would look into it Monday.
When reached by phone Sunday, her daughter, Cynthia Mains, 53, said she was shocked to see her mother’s name mentioned during the news conference.
Mains said she had helped her mother fill out a paper application for a mail ballot in early October, before she died from cancer. The state records list that application as being received by election officials on Oct. 23.
Mains could not explain why the ballot with a vote had been sent in.
She said she had not mailed it in. She also said she had asked her father, who is 77, if he did anything with the ballot and he had replied that he could not recall.
“My parents are not people who do voter fraud,” she said. “My parents aren’t people who break the law. My dad never even paid a bill late in his life.”
Her mother was not especially interested in politics, her daughter said, but had planned to vote for Trump.
In the suit to be filed Monday, Giuliani said the GOP would repeat its contention that Republican observers had not been given proper access to watch the counting of the votes in Pennsylvania.
In Philadelphia, he said that after a state appeals judge, in a ruling three days after counting had begun, ordered that monitors should be permitted to be as close as six feet from the counting, election officials actually moved them back six feet.
In a federal court hearing on Thursday about the counting in Philadelphia, GOP lawyers never mentioned party observers being so moved back. They did argue that the six-foot rule still left Republican observers too far away. The federal judge who heard their argument did not endorse that GOP contention.
Bonin said Giuliani’s allegation was “not true.”
“I was in the [counting] room the full time,” he said “Not only was there no pushback of six feet, this was streaming online 24-7. If they had video of it, they would be showing it. They don’t.”
In another accusation on Sunday, Giuliani said that in Pittsburgh, Republican observers were barred from watching the counting for a full 24 hours.
“During that period of time , at least 135,000 ballots were counted, none of which were watched by any Republican observer, as the law requires,” he said.
Amie Downs, of Allegheny County Elections, rejected Giuliani’s contention.
“At no time were canvassing operations conducted without observers having the opportunity to see the process and the counting,” she said Sunday.
Still, Giuliani said, the Trump lawyers had as many as 70 witnesses across the state ready to testify to wrongdoing, including an allegation that corrupt election workers had backdated late ballots to make sure they counted.
He provided no proof of that.
Giuliani insisted he was providing “facts of fraud, not allegations of fraud.” However, the only specific witnesses he cited were three GOP vote monitors who accompanied him to a news conference in Philadelphia on Saturday to complain about their experiences trying to observe the counting process.
In coming days, Giuliani told Fox News, the Trump campaign would also bring similar lawsuits in other states, possibly including Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Georgia.
As for Trump, Giuliani said, “At this point, it would be wrong for him to concede.”
Asked for comment, a City of Philadelphia spokesman said:
"What is important here is not what the president’s surrogates spew at press conferences held in parking lots, or on the Sunday morning talks show, or on Twitter. What is important are the facts presented in a court of law.
“We have already addressed Mr. Giuliani’s baseless claims in multiple courts and have acted in accordance with the law at all times.”
In another news statement Sunday, the Republican Attorneys General Association said it would hold a Zoom news conference on Monday afternoon to “announce a major legal action in the Pennsylvania mail-in ballot challenge case.”
The state prosecutors provided no further details, but it seemed likely that the plan is to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a GOP lawsuit pending before the state Supreme Court. That questions the decision by Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration to let help be given to mail voters who made clerical mistakes.