A Georgia court has granted an injunction to prevent voting machines being wiped pending “forensic inspection”, handing
Lawyers fighting to overturn Georgia’s election results have hailed a victory, with a federal judge granting a temporary injunction late on Sunday night to prevent voting machines being wiped pending possible “forensic inspection”.
US District Court Judge Timothy Batten issued the order after an emergency Zoom hearing with the parties involved. Judge Batten first granted the injunction earlier in the day before reversing the order hours later due to a jurisdictional issue.
“Sidney Powell and I won, then lost, but ended up winning,” lawyer L. Lin Wood said on Twitter after the third ruling, signed at 10.10pm on Sunday. “We will never give up the pursuit of TRUTH to achieve justice.”
He and Ms Powell have made sweeping allegations of election fraud and, among other things, had sought an emergency order “that voting machines be seized and impounded immediately for a forensic audit by plaintiffs’ experts”, as they take aim at voting machine company Dominion.
The prominent defamation lawyer – who famously represented Richard Jewell, and more recently Covington student Nick Sandmann and Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse – also requested an order that “no votes received or tabulated by machines that were not certified as required by federal and state law be counted”.
On Sunday, Judge Batten granted Mr Wood’s request for a temporary injunction. “Plaintiffs contend that Union County officials have advised that they are going to wipe or reset the voting machines of all data and bring the count back to zero on Monday, November 30,” he wrote.
“To the extent plaintiffs seek a temporary restraining order to preserve the voting machines in the State of Georgia, and to prevent any wiping of their data, their motion is granted. Defendants are ordered to maintain the status quo and are temporarily enjoined from wiping or resetting any voting machines until further order of the court.”
What??? Judge reversed order based on Defendants’ claim that GA Counties control voting machines.
Machines are owned by State & @GaSecofState administers state laws on elections.
Within hours, however, Judge Batten reversed the order after being advised by the defendants that the machines were controlled by the local counties. “Plaintiffs’ request fails because the voting equipment that they seek to impound is in the possession of county election officials,” he wrote.
“Any injunction the court issues would extend only to defendants and those within their control, and plaintiffs have not demonstrated that county election officials are within defendants’ control. Defendants cannot serve as a proxy for local election officials against whom the relief should be sought.”
On Twitter, Mr Wood expressed frustration at the ruling. “Machines are owned by (the) state and (the Secretary of State) administers state laws on elections,” he wrote. “Why are Georgia officials determined to wipe these machines clean (by) resetting them?”
The court held a Zoom meeting at 7.45pm, where Mr Wood and Ms Powell said they would amend their complaint to include elections officials in three counties – Cobb, Gwinnett and Cherokee – where they wanted to inspect the Dominion voting machines.
Lawyers for the Georgia government “argued that allowing such forensic inspections would pose substantial security and proprietary/trade secret risks to defendants”, Judge Batten wrote.
In response, the pair suggested allowing “defendants’ own experts to participate in the requested inspections, which would be video-recorded”, with the experts then directed to “provide whatever information they obtain to the court – and no one else – for an in camera inspection”.
After considering the arguments, Judge Batten agreed to the temporary injunction, giving Georgia’s lawyers until 5pm on Wednesday to file a brief “setting forth in detail the factual bases they have, if any, against allowing the three forensic inspections”.
“Defendants are hereby enjoined and restrained 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,” he wrote. “Defendants are ordered to promptly produce to plaintiffs a copy of the contract between the state and Dominion.”
An in-person hearing in the case scheduled for Friday at 10am.
The double backflip marks a minor victory Mr Wood in his bid to overturn the election which saw Joe Biden become the first Democrat to win the southern state for the first time in decades.
Mr Biden beat Mr Trump by 12,670 votes, or 0.25 per cent, according to results that were certified by Georgia after a hand recount and “risk-limiting audit”. The President and state Republicans have claimed the process was “meaningless”, and are instead demanding a full audit of absentee ballot signatures.
All 159 Georgia counties are currently going through a candidate-requested recount – without the Trump campaign’s requested signature matching – which they are required to complete by Wednesday.
Sunday’s courtroom drama came as election officials in Fulton County – the state’s most populous county which takes in Atlanta – announced that a newly purchased Dominion mobile server had crashed, delaying a recount requested by Mr Trump’s campaign until Monday.
Officials told local news station 11Alive on Sunday evening that their recount had hit a snag due to the server crash earlier in the day. “Technicians from Dominion have been dispatched to resolve the issue,” they said in a statement. “The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has also been alerted to the issue and is aware of efforts to resolve the problem.”
Fulton County has already finished with absentee, early in-person and provisional ballots – 88 per cent of the total – and plans to resume the counting process on Monday morning, 11Alive reported.
Mr Wood unsuccessfully attempted to stop the vote being certified, and is now arguing that the restraining order is also needed for the US Senate run-offs on January 5, where the loss of Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue could hand the majority back to Democrats.
On Twitter, however, Mr Wood has attacked both of the Republican incumbents, accusing them of not supporting the President more forcefully. “It makes NO sense that (Ms Loeffler) and (Mr Perdue) are not demanding (Mr Kemp) order special session of (the) Georgia legislature to address fraud,” he tweeted on Sunday. “Same voting machines, same mail ballots, same fraud. (November 3) fraud will be repeated in run-off.”
In addition to seeking to disqualify millions of mail-in votes, Mr Wood has latched onto more nebulous allegations of electronic vote manipulation by Dominion, which the company has repeatedly rejected as baseless conspiracy theories.
Last week, Ms Powell filed her own lawsuit in Georgia, alleging election software and hardware produced by Dominion is where the “massive fraud begins”. Georgia purchased Dominion products in July 2019, a year after Texas rejected the system due to its vulnerability to undetected manipulation.
Speaking to Fox News last week, Dominion spokesman Michael Steel said the alleged switching of votes from Mr Trump to Mr Biden could not have occurred because it was “physically impossible”.
“Look, when a voter votes on a Dominion machine, they fill out a ballot on a touch screen,” Mr Steel said. “They are given a printed copy which they then give to a local election official for safekeeping. If any electronic interference had taken place, the tally reported electronically would not match the printed ballots, and in every case where we’ve looked at – in Georgia, all across the country – the printed ballot, the gold standard in election security, has matched the electronic tally.”