Trump team’s discredited fraud witness compared to SNL character

Adam Gabbatt in New York
<span>Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

The quixotic quest by Donald Trump’s legal team to overturn the results of the election have birthed an unlikely star this week: Michigan resident Melissa Carone.

Carone, a contract worker for Dominion Voting Systems, appeared before a Michigan house panel on Wednesday and insisted, without providing evidence, that tens of thousands of votes had been counted twice.

It was the manner of her claims, however, that made her a social media hit, with numerous Twitter users comparing Carone to a Saturday Night Live character.

Carone repeatedly talked over a Michigan representative as he tried to get to the bottom of her allegations of voter fraud.

Those claims seemed to amount to vague accusations of ballot recounting and poll tampering, apparently by the Republican-controlled house.

Responding to Carone’s assertions that she saw ballot workers count a batch of 30,000 votes multiple times, Steve Johnson, a Republican Michigan state representative, said:

“We’re not seeing the poll book off by 30,000 votes.”

Carone, who repeatedly spoke over Johnson as he attempted to understand her claims, was unmoved.

“What’d you guys do, take it and do something crazy to it?” Carone said.

“I’m just saying the numbers are not off by 30,000 votes,” Johnson replied.

“I’d say that poll book is off by over 100,000 [votes],” Carone said.

In her appearance before the house, Carone earned the rare distinction of making claims that were too bizarre for Rudy Giuliani, who has become a fount of unhinged election conspiracy theories in recent weeks.

Giuliani, who sat next to Carone at the Michigan hearing, was heard shushing her as she loudly spoke over a state representative, and could be seen wincing during some of her account of witnessing fraud.

On 13 November a Wayne county judge had decided that Carone’s claims “simply are not credible”, but that did not stop Trump’s team from bringing her to Wednesday’s hearing, where Carone added of the vote total:

“It’s wildly off, and dead people voted, and illegals voted.”

Carone, who has been doing the rounds on rightwing media in recent weeks, claimed on Wednesday night she “had to get rid of social media” in the wake of her public appearances.

That statement also seems to be false, given a Facebook account in her name still exists on the site.