A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit to prevent the certification of Georgia's presidential election results.
At the hearing, lawyers for a supporter of President Donald Trump were charged against a surprising tag team of Republican and Democratic defendants.
The lawsuit, filed by Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, sought an injunction to stop certification of results and force another handcount of Georgia’s more than 5 million ballots.
U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg dismissed the case after a nearly three-hour hearing in which he found Wood had provided no real evidence or evidence that he had been harmed by alleged problems with the Georgia electoral system.
"Literally stopping certification after hour 11 would create confusion and potential disenfranchisement, which in my opinion is neither actual nor legal," said Grimberg, who was appointed by Trump.
Lawyers representing Wood, who allegedly were out of monitors, got too far from watching the recount and sought a recent legal settlement that made it more difficult to reject postal ballot papers based on invalid signatures.
Citing several affidavits, Woods' lawsuit argued that the stricter signature verification rules made it impossible to determine if mail-in votes were being fraudulently cast, which required the need for a recount of signatures on postal voting envelopes were checked.
But attorneys from often divided parties, representing both Republican and Democratic sides, took turns criticizing Wood's lawsuit.
They rejected its legal privilege, framing it as a threatening attempt to disenfranchise Georgia voters.
"The election is over and instead of accepting that his preferred candidate has lost, (Wood) seeks the greatest electoral disenfranchisement since the electoral tax and other remnants of Jim Crow in Georgia," said Russ Willard, an attorney, who represents Attorney General Chris Carr's office in Georgia.
Carr's attorneys and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both prominent Georgia Republicans, have been backed by legal teams from the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, which is an unusual cast of co-defendants trying to defeat a Trump-backed suit.
"Your Honor, (Wood) is literally trying to have millions of Georgians, each of whom are American citizens, disenfranchised … (and) that's just amazing," said Kevin Hamilton, an attorney for the state's Democratic Party.
Wood's attorney Ray Smith dismissed attacks on the lawsuit as unprovable, arguing in court Thursday that his case "provided many testimony as well as nearly 15 affidavits" to show that Georgia's recount was carried out in the shadows .
"We think we have a lot of evidence," said Smith.
Much of this evidence was based on testimony from Susan Voyles, a 20-year-old Sandy Springs poll worker and active Republican who claimed she counted dozens of postal ballot papers which, because of their unusually "pristine" condition, suggested fraud.
Willard, who represented the attorney general's office, has ruled this testimony, as well as the lawsuit's March challenge to the tightened signature verification rules, as unfounded and desperate.
"(The) plaintiff took a scattershot approach … to try and attract as many constitutional claims as possible for relief," Willard said.
The judge agreed, noting in particular that Wood's allegations of poor access to recount for outside observers were controversial as constitutional procedural rights likely do not extend to election observers.
"Monitoring an examination at an election is not a constitutional right," said Grimberg. "Monitoring an election is not life, freedom, and property."
Grimberg also cited the US Supreme Court's admonition that judges should not interfere with state election officials' power to hold general elections, especially if only a single voter like Wood requests it.
However, the judge left the door open for Trump and the Republican Party to join the lawsuit and increase their chances of possible future success. The absence of the president in the lawsuit as a lost candidate in the elections is "extremely significant".
"That would certainly have changed the analysis in relation to standing," said Grimberg.