A judge in Georgia has ordered the state administration not to “alter, destroy, or erase” any software or data on Dominion-brand voting machines in three counties in the state, after a case was filed by former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell related to fraud in the elections.
The judge, Timothy C Batten, also asked the state’s Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to explain by Wednesday evening their views, if any, against allowing the inspection of the voting machines in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee Counties.
During the hearing, the administration asserted that the forensic inspections would pose “substantial security and proprietary/trade secret risks.”
The case by Ms Powell, who has been alleging without evidence that Dominion voting machines are part of an elaborate election rigging conspiracy, was heard by the US district judge on Sunday night via a Zoom call.
The judge restrained Georgia’s administration from “altering, destroying, or erasing, or allowing the alteration, destruction, or erasure of, any software or data on any Dominion voting machine in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee Counties”.
It also asked for a “copy of the contract” between Georgia and Dominion Voting Systems.
Joe Biden won Georgia by over 12,000 votes, securing its 16 electoral college votes and claiming the state for the Democrats for the first time in 28 years. Mr Trump has accused Republican officials in the state, including the governor Mr Kemp, for being “disloyal” to the party for failing to back his claims of fraud.
Though Ms Powell had appeared alongside Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the man leading the president’s legal challenges, her claims regarding election fraud were widely criticised and the legal team distanced itself from her. Mr Trump has continued to praise her on social media, however.
Dominion Voting Systems has defended itself against the claims, calling it a “bizarre election fraud conspiracy.” It had said that Ms Powell’s “wild and reckless” allegations have led to stalking, harassment, and death threats to Dominion employees.
Donald Trump has announced that he will campaign to support Republican candidates for election to two senate seats of Georgia - a contest that is crucial for Republicans to maintain their control over the upper house. Those run-off elections are due to be held on 5 January.