By OLIVIA RUBIN and MATTHEW MOSK, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Sidney Powell may no longer be part of President Donald Trump’s officially sanctioned legal team, but the veteran litigator who has become a champion of unfounded global conspiracy theories has not slowed in her effort to persuade the federal court system to reverse the outcome of the 2020 elections.
“We will prevail,” Powell wrote on Twitter this week. “Patriots are united like never before to shine the light of Truth across our land.”
Since filing a suit in Georgia last week, Powell has added a federal lawsuit in Michigan and plans another in Wisconsin, according to another lawyer on the team. Each case alleges a complex plot involving shadowy foreign interests, the company that sells electronic voting machines, Republican elected officials, and Democratic poll workers — all allegedly in cahoots to steal the election from Trump.
The effort has garnered Powell public praise from Trump and turned her into a heroine in the conspiratorial corners of the internet. It has also garnered ridicule from officials in both parties, with longtime Trump ally Chris Christie calling the legal effort a “national embarrassment.” Aides to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden called it a “sideshow.”
The company at the center of Powell’s claims, Dominion Voting Systems, issued a statement last week saying it intends to hold Powell “and those aiding and abetting her fraudulent actions, accountable for any harm that may occur as a result.” And election law advocates from both parties said that even if her cases are swiftly dismissed, as they expect them to be, they are no laughing matter.
“These tactics are not comical,” said Daniel I. Weiner, deputy director of the Election Reform Program at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. “They are doing real damage to the integrity of our democracy because they are sowing doubts in the electoral process.”
Asked by ABC News about the suggestion by critics that she is undermining democracy and pushing conspiracies, Powell replied, “Balderdash and horsefeathers.”
It’s too soon to say how the cases will be handled by the federal courts. Cases that have relied on similar claims have been swiftly and emphatically dismissed by state and federal judges as lacking in evidence. However a judge in Georgia over the weekend gave a nod to the Powell case, ruling that state elections officials could not alter electronic voting machines while the court hears arguments over whether to allow Powell’s team to have them analyzed.
“You can call it a win in that they asked for the court to let them live another day, but it’s not as much of a win as it is a standstill,” said Myrna Perez, the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program.
Democrats on Monday asked the same judge to dismiss the case outright, arguing the suit merely “doubles down” on conspiracy theories previously tried and failed.
“Despite widespread acknowledgment that no fraud occurred, various lawsuits have been filed around the country and in Georgia in an attempt to sow confusion and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election,” the Democrats wrote in their court filing. “Plaintiffs seek to revive these rejected claims in this case … [their] claims have been further embellished, however, with an even grander alleged conspiracy spanning the globe from all corners of the United States.”
In Michigan, a judge has yet to act on the suit that, like in Georgia, asks for a number of long-shot remedies. Among them: that the court decertify the election results and instead certify Trump as the winner — based on conspiratorial allegations they say amount to a “scheme” of “fraudulently manipulating the vote count to elect Joe Biden as President of the United States.”
Similar to the case Powell brought in Georgia, the allegations in Michigan rest on dozens of affidavits from eyewitnesses who claim — without corroborating evidence — that they witnessed fraudulent activity in various aspects of the counting process and that the campaign was denied meaningful access to observe the process. The suit also relies on affidavits from self-described “expert analysts” who claim they found “statistical anomalies and mathematical impossibilities” in the results.
Many of these affidavits are recycled from other cases brought in Michigan that have since been denied or withdrawn.
A lawyer on the case alongside Powell told ABC News they “feel good” about their chances in Michigan, though none of the election lawsuits filed by Trump or his allies has seen success in the state. At least four others have been filed and subsequently denied or withdrawn.
Perez, from the Brennan Center, said the cases have almost no shot of going anywhere, and they raise more questions than answers about who is truly pushing the effort.
“It’s very, very damaging, but who is the one encouraging this to happen? And what is the endgame?” said Perez. “It is, at this point, a fundraising strategy, and it’s sowing discord.”
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