Rudy Giuliani made an appearance in a federal courtroom for the first time in nearly three decades Tuesday to allege without an ounce of evidence that a “mafia” of Democrats stole the 2020 election from President Trump by awarding more than 1 million illegal votes for Joe Biden.
The unhinged accusation flew during a hearing at the federal courthouse in Williamsport, Pa., that was supposed to focus on a lawsuit brought by Trump’s campaign that claims Pennsylvania shouldn’t be allowed to certify its election results due to alleged irregularities in the state’s ballot-counting procedures.
But Giuliani made little mention of the actual allegations laid out in the campaign’s narrow complaint. Instead, the former New York City mayor dedicated most of his speaking time to promoting Trump’s baseless charge that Democrats rigged the election for Biden through a conspiratorial web of fraud.
“The best description of this situation is widespread, nationwide voter fraud,” said Giuliani, who was stepping in for the Trump campaign after nearly all of its other attorneys withdrew from the case on Monday night.
Citing no evidence whatsoever, Giuliani claimed Democratic officials in Pennsylvania saw to it that only “their little mafia” were allowed to count ballots in the Nov. 3 election and that roughly 1.5 million votes should be invalidated as a result.
“The point is your honor, this is not an accident. You’d have to be a fool to think this was an accident,” said Giuliani, whose voice appeared hoarse.
The Williamsport hearing marked Giuliani’s first appearance as an attorney in federal court since 1992, the year before he became mayor, according to government records.
Allegheny County Board of Elections attorney Mark Aronchick was outraged by Giuliani’s evidence-free assertions and found his “mafia” jibe particularly insulting to Pennsylvania poll workers, who put their lives on the line to facilitate voting amid the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic.
“This just is disgraceful,” said Aronchick, who’s part of a team asking for the Trump campaign suit to be dismissed.
Daniel Donovan, an attorney appearing on behalf of Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, the lead defendant in the case, pointed out that the Trump campaign’s lawsuit didn’t even include allegations of fraud, begging the question why Giuliani kept talking about it.
“It’s just speculation,” Donovan said of Giuliani’s claims.
Of Giuliani’s outrageous claim that 1.5 million votes should be thrown out, Aronchik told presiding U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann: “It is disgraceful that you’re being asked to do that.”
Arguments in the case were still ongoing late Tuesday afternoon. Donovan said Brann should dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit “today, as a matter of law.”
Biden has already been declared the winner of the 2020 election.
The president-elect has secured 290 Electoral College votes — 20 more than the minimum needed for victory. Georgia, where Biden is leading, remains the last state yet to be called in the historic election.
But Trump has refused to concede and is blocking Biden’s efforts toward a smooth transition to the White House while engaging in a flurry of lawsuits.
Many of Trump’s legal challenges have been dismissed, as there’s no proof for his explosive charge of Democrat-boosting voter fraud.
In Pennsylvania — which has been called for Biden — the Democrat leads Trump by nearly 70,000 votes. The lawsuit Giuliani argued for Tuesday doesn’t involve enough ballots to bridge that gap. Even if it did, Biden would still win the election, since his Electoral College lead is substantial enough.
A former Giuliani political aide who listened in on Tuesday’s hearing via phone was distressed by the former mayor’s performance in the courtroom.
“He increasingly sounds like the very people on city sidewalks who would yell at no one in particular,” said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s still involved in GOP politics. “The only difference is he’s somewhat better dressed and the NYPD are not removing him from the situation. It’s a sad state for a man we were once proud to work for.”
Despite Trump’s incessant fraud fretting, election officials from both political parties in all 50 states have stated publicly that the election went well, and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. Such mishaps are not unusual and do not suggest fraud, according to voting experts.
Trump’s campaign has also launched legal challenges complaining that its poll watchers were unable to scrutinize the voting process. Many of those challenges were tossed out by judges, some within hours.
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