Sidney Powell’s ‘Kraken’ Suits Fail in Michigan and Georgia

Federal judges in Michigan and Georgia on Monday rejected ex-Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell’s long-shot attempt to decertify the states’ election results, ruling her claims of a vast election-fraud conspiracy were made too late and lack hard evidence.

Powell, who is no longer associated with President Donald Trump’s legal team, filed the suits last month on behalf of Republican voters and described her litigation as “releasing the Kraken,” a reference to a mythical sea monster unleashed by Zeus in the 1981 fantasy film “Clash of the Titans.”

In Georgia, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten in Atlanta granted a motion to dismiss Powell’s suit by Governor Brian Kemp, who argued the claims weren’t based in reality. In Michigan, U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker said the “people have spoken” and characterized Powell’s suit against Governor Gretchen Whitmer as an assault on hard-fought voting rights.

“Plaintiffs ask this court to ignore the orderly statutory scheme established to challenge elections and to ignore the will of millions of voters,” Parker said in a ruling denying Powell’s emergency motion to block election certification and force inspections of voting machines, software and security footage of polling places. “This, the court cannot, and will not, do.”

Powell’s claims that foreign agents from Iran and China conspired with Democratic officials and poll workers to infiltrate voting machines and switch votes from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden were “an amalgamation of theories, conjecture, and speculation” that did not merit the drastic order sought, Parker said.

Sidney Powell’s ‘Kraken’ Suits Fail in Michigan and Georgia

“They seek relief that is stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach,” Parker wrote. “If granted, the relief would disenfranchise the votes of the more than 5.5 million Michigan citizens who, with dignity, hope, and a promise of a voice, participated in the 2020 General Election.”

‘Undermining Faith’

Parker, a Barack Obama appointee, said Powell’s suit was so weak that there may have been a motive other than winning in court.

“In fact, this lawsuit seems to be less about achieving the relief Plaintiffs seek -- as much of that relief is beyond the power of this Court -- and more about the impact of their allegations on people’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government.”

Powell didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The decisions add to the long string of legal defeats by the president’s campaign and its allies as they seek to upend the results. Trump lost Michigan by more than 150,000 votes and Georgia, which re-certified a win for Biden on Monday after a second recount, by around 12,000 votes.

Parker ruled Powell had waited much too long to file her Nov. 25 Michigan complaint, noting the suit alleges irregularities existed before Election Day, with some claims about voting-machines dating back more than a decade.

‘Belief Not Evidence’

“If Plaintiffs had legitimate concerns about the election machines and software, they could have filed this lawsuit well before the 2020 General Election -- yet they sat back and did nothing,” the judge said. “While plaintiffs delayed, the ballots were cast; the votes were counted; and the results were certified.”

Parker also pointed out that Trump voters who claim to have witnessed vote-switching or counting of improper ballots by poll workers and whose affidavits Powell submitted as evidence used words like “believe” and “may” to equivocate.

“A belief is not evidence,” the judge said.

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which intervened in several election cases, including the Michigan suit, said Parker’s ruling is the latest to reject “baseless attempts” to reverse Trump’s loss.

“We are hopeful that this week marks the end of the road for remaining legal challenges mounted by President Trump and his allies that are cluttering the courts,” Clarke said in a statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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