Wisconsin pharmacist who sabotaged 500 vaccine doses was sentenced to 3 years in prison, says he feels ‘desperately sorry and ashamed’

This booking photo provided by the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 in Port Washington, Wis., shows Steven Brandenburg, a former pharmacist in Wisconsin who purposefully ruined more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
This booking photo provided by the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 in Port Washington, Wis., shows Steven Brandenburg, a former pharmacist in Wisconsin who purposefully ruined more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

  • A Wisconsin pharmacist deliberately removed Moderna vaccine vials from a clinic refrigerator.
  • Steven Brandenburg then put them back to be used the next day because he believed they were harmful.
  • He was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The former Wisconsin pharmacist who deliberately sabotaged 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was sentenced to 3 years in prison, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Steven Brandenburg, who was a pharmacist at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, was arrested on December 31 after an investigation found that he removed 57 vials of the vaccine from a clinic refrigerator during two overnight shifts that month.

The Moderna vaccine must be kept refrigerated to remain effective; once removed it must be used within a few hours.

Brandenburg then returned the vials to the refrigerator so they would be used the next day.

“The purposeful attempt to spoil vaccine doses during a national public health emergency is a serious crime,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said. “The Department of Justice will continue working with its law enforcement partners to safeguard these life-saving vaccines.”

Brandenberg said he sabotaged the vaccine because he didn’t think the coronavirus was real and believed the vaccine was harmful.

In February, he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury.

He will also have to pay approximately $83,800 in restitution to the hospital, the Justice Department said.

WTMJ’s Tony Atkins reported Brandenburg apologized during his sentencing hearing.

“I did not have the right to make this decision,” he said. “I feel terrible for what I’ve done. I am desperately sorry and ashamed.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down Democratic governor’s mask mandate as the state faces possible coronavirus surge

AP21090523056987
This July 30, 2020, image taken from video by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers in Madison, Wisconsin.

  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate Wednesday.
  • The court ruled Evers violated state law by issuing extensions of the order throughout the pandemic.
  • The decision comes as the state faces a rise in cases and officials warn of a possible surge.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate Wednesday, right as the state sees an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and faces another potential surge.

In a 4-3 decision, the conservative majority court ruled Evers, a Democrat, violated state law and exceeded his authority by unilaterally issuing multiple emergency orders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

After lawmakers opted not to require face coverings indoors, Evers used the emergency declarations to impose and extend the mandate four times over the past year, including as recently as February. The court found that after the expiration of the first 60-day mandate, which Evers issued in August, the governor needed legislative approval to expand the order.

“The question in this case is not whether the governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not,” Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote in the majority opinion.

State law says governors can issue health emergencies for 60 days, after which the legislature must approve any extensions. Evers argued he could issue new emergency declarations without lawmakers’ approval in the face of an unpredictable pandemic.

Ultimately, the court disagreed with the governor – and not for the first time. The ruling is yet another defeat for Evers after the state Supreme Court struck down his stay-at-home order in May, and a state appeals court blocked his attempts to limit capacity indoors in October, according to The Associated Press.

The decision comes as the state grapples with another round of rising COVID-19 cases. The seven-day daily average jumped from fewer than 400 cases earlier this month to more than 500 as of Tuesday, the AP reported. A state health official told the outlet the state is seeing “warning signs” of another possible surge in infections.

Evers responded to the defeat in a series of tweets Wednesday morning, saying he’s “worked to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe” since the beginning of the pandemic, and has “trusted the science and public health experts to guide … decision making.”

Mask mandates remain in place at the local level, including in many cities and counties across the state.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote in the dissenting opinion that the court’s ruling hurts Evers’ ability to try and save lives.

“This is no run-of-the-mill case,” she wrote. “We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that so far has claimed the lives of over a half million people in this country. And with the stakes so high, the majority not only arrives at erroneous conclusions, but it also obscures the consequence of its decision. Unfortunately, the ultimate consequence of the majority’s decision is that it places yet another roadblock to an effective governmental response to COVID-19.”

Republican lawmakers celebrated the decision Wednesday, according to the AP, saying people and businesses should be free to make their own decisions and “don’t need state government telling them how to live their lives.”

The lawsuit challenging the order was filed six months ago as Wisconsin faced the worst surge resulting in thousands of deaths, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden says he’s ‘tired of talking’ about ‘former guy’ Trump in first town hall as president

joe biden
President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 16, 2021.

  • President Joe Biden referred to Donald Trump as “the former guy” in his first town hall.
  • “I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump,” Biden said Tuesday evening.
  • Trump has remained in the national spotlight in recent weeks given his impeachment trial.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden tried to steer clear of conversation about his predecessor in his first town hall as president on Tuesday evening.

“I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump,” Biden told an audience in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the CNN event.

Biden, who referred to Trump as “the former guy,” tip-toed around questions from CNN host Anderson Cooper about the former president. Cooper pressed Biden for any reaction to Trump’s recent acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial, yet Biden did not weigh in.

“For four years, all that’s been in the news is Trump,” Biden said. “For the next four years, I want to make sure that all the news is American people.”

Biden spent most of the town hall touting his COVID-19 stimulus package, which includes funding to vaccinate Americans and reopen schools, among several other provisions. He also plugged other priorities of his administration, including raising the federal minimum wage, reforming immigration, and offering student-loan debt forgiveness.

Biden took office last month, but his legislative agenda has been stalled in Congress as Trump’s second impeachment trial took center stage. 

All 50 Senate Democrats and seven Republicans found Trump guilty of “incitement of insurrection” in relation to the Capitol riot on January 6, but the two-thirds majority votes required to impeach the former president was not met.  

Read the original article on Business Insider

Prosecutors seek new arrest warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse, whose whereabouts are unknown

kyle rittenhouse mark richards
Kyle Rittenhouse appears along with his attorney Mark Richards at an arraignment hearing carried on Zoom.

Prosecutors in Wisconsin are demanding that Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenage vigilante charged with murdering two people at a Black Lives Matter protest, be arrested for failing to inform authorities of his whereabouts, which are currently unknown.

Court records show that, on January 28, mail sent to Rittenhouse’s stated address in Antioch, Illinois, was returned to sender. In a motion filed Wednesday, the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office asks a judge to issue an arrest warrant for the defendant and increase his bail by $200,000 – bringing it to $2.2 million – for failing to provide his current address.

The request comes after prosecutors last month sought to modify Rittenhouse’s bail conditions after he was pictured at a bar flashing white-supremacist hand signals with members of the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group. His new bail conditions, approved weeks later, prohibit him from associating with known bigots.

According to TMJ4, an NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, police were dispatched after mail to Rittenhouse’s address in Illinois bounced back. They discovered a new tenant who said they had resided at the address since December 14.

In court filings on Wednesday, Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark D. Richards, said his client was in a “safe house” and claimed that a “high-ranking member of the Kenosha Police Department” urged him not provide his address due to alleged death threats. Richards said he would only provide Rittenhouse’s current location if the court agreed to withhold it from the public.

Rittenhouse, charged with reckless homicide, intentional homicide, and attempted intentional homicide after shooting three people at a protest last summer in Kenosha, was bailed out in November after posting $2 million in crowd-funded bond.

His alleged victims, meanwhile, have sued local police and elected officials for $20 million, arguing that their negligence enabled the violence Kenosha saw in August 2020.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

Read the original article on Business Insider

After Trump’s election loss, Republicans across the US are racing to enact new voting restrictions

voting
Lin Wilson waves a US flag to encourage people to vote, outside the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle on November 3, 2020.

  • In the wake of Biden’s win, Republicans across the US are rolling out new voting restrictions.
  • Republican leaders contend that the proposals are about maintaining voter integrity, though fraud is a rare occurrence.
  • Here are some of the voting proposals that are being debated across the country.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Joe Biden has been in office for less than two weeks, but in state legislatures across the US, Republicans still reeling from former President Donald Trump’s electoral loss are devising ways to restrict the vote, from eliminating ballot drop boxes to requiring the notarization of absentee ballot applications.

In 2010, Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures, flipping 24 chambers that year, allowing them to control the redistricting process for the past decade. In additional drawing scores of safe GOP House seats, the party pushed a wave of socially-conservative legislation that centered on restricting abortion rights and minimizing the collective bargaining power of public-sector labor unions.

While Biden and Trump both won 25 states in the 2020 presidential election, Biden flipped five states that Trump carried in 2016, which included Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, along with Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district.

These presidential swing states are now home to some of the most dramatic election-related proposals that have been floated or filed in the legislature for a vote. However, even in states where Trump won easily, including Mississippi and Texas, voting restrictions stand a good chance of passing.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, 106 bills aimed at restricting voting access have been introduced or filed in state legislatures in 28 states, representing a nearly threefold increase from the same period last year.

The proposed laws ignore the overwhelming evidence that voter fraud is incredibly rare.

Last November, countering Trump’s debunked claims of voter irregularities, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the November 2020 election “was the most secure in American history.”

Here are some of the voting proposals that are being debated across the country:

Arizona

Since 1952, Republicans have won Arizona in every presidential election except for Bill Clinton’s 1992 win and Biden’s victory last year.

Biden won the state by less than 11,000 votes out of roughly 3.3 million votes cast, performing strongly with Latino voters and even making inroads with a segment of the state’s Republican voters.

With the support of high-profile Republicans including Cindy McCain, the wife of the late GOP Sen. John McCain, and former Sen. Jeff Flake, Biden tapped into the independent-minded nature of the state, similar to the campaign strategy of Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who defeated appointed GOP Sen. Martha McSally last November.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

However, conservative activists vigorously challenged the election results, including Trump, who criticized GOP Gov. Doug Ducey for certifying the election results, a normally-routine process. Since the GOP controls the state legislature in Arizona, the raft of restrictive bills are being taken up in committees.

According to The Arizona Republic, Republican legislators have proposed bills that would:

  • Allow the legislature to void the results of a presidential election “at any time before the presidential inauguration”
  • Give the legislature the power to award two of the state’s 11 Electoral College votes
  • Award the state’s electoral votes by congressional district in lieu of the current winner-takes-all system
  • Curtail and/or end mail-in voting
  • Liming mail-in voting to those who cannot physically reach a voting precinct
  • Limit voting centers in each county according to the population size
  • Require mail-in ballot envelopes to be notarized or returned in-person

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, was sharply critical of House Bill 2720, which was introduced by GOP state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and would allow the legislature to overturn the election results.

“It is a punch in the face to voters,” she said in an NBC News interview. “It absolutely, 100%, allows a legislature to undermine the will of voters.”

She also tweeted: “So really, we should just get rid of the presidential election altogether? In reality, that’s what this bill would do.”

Georgia

Georgia was the scene of deep political consternation for the GOP. Last November, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since 1992. Trump insisted that he won the state for months, asking GOP Gov. Brian Kemp to overturn the election results and even pressuring GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the 12,000 roughly votes that he would need to overcome Biden’s margin of victory.

In the end, Trump caused so much internal political turmoil in the state that Democrats, fresh off of Biden’s win, had an enthusiasm advantage for two Senate runoff elections that featured then-GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue running against Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Georgia runoffs
Democrat Raphael Warnock addresses supporters during a rally with Jon Ossoff in Atlanta on the first day of early voting in the Georgia Senate runoff elections.

Warnock and Ossoff won their races, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats and giving the party their strongest anchor in the Deep South in years.

Georgia Republicans, stung by the losses, are now hoping to implement additional voting restrictions.

Top state officials, including Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, are backing a more rigorous voter identification process for absentee balloting.

A GOP lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require proof of identification, twice, in order to vote absentee.

Last year, House Speaker David Ralston floated stripping Georgia voters of their ability to choose the secretary of state by putting a measure on the ballot that would allow voters to cede that responsibility to the GOP-controlled legislature.

Michigan

Michigan voted for every Democratic presidential nominee from 1992 to 2012. When Trump pulled off a narrow upset in 2016, Democrats pledged to outwork the GOP and win back the Midwestern state and its 16 electoral votes.

In 2018, the party had a banner year, electing Gretchen Whitmer as governor, Dana Nessel as attorney general, and Jocelyn Benson as secretary of state.

Last November, Biden won the state by over 150,000 votes and a nearly 3% margin (50.6%-47.8%), securing a victory in a state that Democrats were thrilled to put back in their column.

The state legislature is still in GOP hands, a lingering result of the party’s 2010 midterm election sweep, but Whitmer also serves as a check on any far-reaching proposals.

Michigan GOP Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told The Detroit News that he would like to improve the state’s qualified voter files and party leaders, including home state Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, said last year that the state needed “election reform.”

Pennsylvania

With its 20 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has long been a top prize for Democrats, who won the state by combining overwhelming victories in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with growing suburban strength and blue-collar support in cities like Allentown and Scranton.

Democrats won Pennsylvania in every presidential election from 1992 to 2012, but similar to Michigan, Trump pulled off a narrow upset in 2016.

Biden, who was born in Scranton and represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate for 36 years, won the state 50%-49% over Trump last November.

Democrats, eager to build on Biden’s victory, have already zeroed in on the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey in 2022 and the governor’s race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf that same year.

However, Republicans, who repeatedly sought to overturn the 2020 election results, including tossing out millions of mail-in ballots, are steadfastly committed to imposing new restrictions.

There are currently GOP proposals on the table to nix no-excuse absentee balloting and make it easier for state officials to toss ballots that have a signature mismatch if the ballot isn’t fixed within six days of being notified, according to the Brennan Center.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is another key state in the Democrats’ Midwestern presidential electoral puzzle. After narrow wins in 2000 and 2004, the party won the state easily in 2008 and 2012 before seeing Trump narrowly win the state in 2016.

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pictured on October 16, 2020.

After a hard-fought race, Biden won the state over Trump by roughly 20,000 votes out of more than 3.2 million votes cast.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

The Trump campaign, incensed that votes in Democratic-leaning Milwaukee County put Biden over the top, demanded a recount in Milwaukee and Dane County, home of Madison, the state’s liberal capital city. Not only was Biden’s win reaffirmed by the recounts, but he picked up additional votes.

A GOP legislator is floating a proposal to allocate eight of the state’s 10 electoral votes by congressional district, starting with the 2024 election, and the party may also seek additional restrictions on absentee balloting.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has the ability to wield his veto pen, but he is also up for reelection in 2022.

Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District

Last year, Biden carried Nebraska’s Omaha-based congressional district, the first time a Democrat had won the district since Barack Obama in 2008.

The win was a breakthrough for the party in the otherwise overwhelmingly Republican state.

Since 1991, Nebraska has awarded two electoral votes to the overall statewide winner, with the remaining three votes awarded to the winner of each congressional district.

In 2020, Trump secured four electoral votes to Biden’s one electoral vote.

A new GOP bill introduced in the state legislature would put into place a winner-takes-all system; if it had been in place in 2020, Trump would have won all five electoral votes.

The 2nd congressional district contains sizeable Black and Latino populations, and opponents of the bill argue that the legislation would be detrimental to minority voters.

American Civil Liberties Union Nebraska executive director Danielle Conrad said as much in an interview with ABC News.

“You see very clearly that there was a lot of excitement particularly from voters of color in the Omaha metro-area who engage in that process over the last few election cycles because they had that meaningful opportunity,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Pro-Trump priest who performed exorcisms to support false claims of election fraud leaves Wisconsin diocese

Church in Madison, Wisconsin
A Church in Madison, Wisconsin.

  • A Wisconsin priest who performed exorcisms to assist baseless claims of election fraud has left his diocese.
  • The Diocese of Madison said former reverend John Zuhlsdorf will relocate “to pursue other opportunities.”
  • John Zuhlsdorf, also known as Fr. Z, has a popular blog where he said: “There is a catholic Antifa now.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Wisconsin priest who performed exorcisms of demons he said were behind the baseless claims of election fraud has left his diocese.

In a statement, the Diocese of Madison said Reverend John Zuhlsdorf, known online as Fr. Z, will relocate “to pursue other opportunities,” and that the decision was made mutually, according to the Independent.

Zuhlsdorf live-streamed the exorcisms, which have since been removed from YouTube

In one broadcast, Fr. Z, as he was known online: said: “As exorcists will confirm, the demons are very good with electronic equipment,” reported the Independent. A seeming reference to Trump supporters’ baseless claim that voting machinery was rigged in the presidential election.

Read More: Trump must be prosecuted, or we should just admit presidents are above the law

Zuhlsdorf claimed he had received permission to perform them by Bishop J. Hying, the Associated Press reported.

Bishop Hying told the National Catholic Reporter that he did not give permission to conduct exorcisms related to “partisan political activity” but rather “for the intention of alleviation from the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Fr. Z also has a popular blog on which his most recent post is a personal note from January 15 in which he mentions the “present atmosphere of ‘cancel culture’ now infecting the Church, as well as the media and streets,” and adds, “there is a catholic Antifa now.”

He also discusses leaving the Diocese of Madison and says: “My years in my adoptive Diocese of Madison have been fruitful on many levels.  

 “I thank God and many others who have been so good to me here. I’ll be around, however, and I won’t be a stranger.”

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops says exorcisms are “a specific form of prayer that the Church uses against the power of the devil.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump and Republican officials have won zero out of at least 42 lawsuits they’ve filed since Election Day

donald trump debate
President Donald Trump.

  • President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican officials have filed dozens of lawsuits since Election Day in an effort to contest the results of the 2020 election.
  • The campaign filed lawsuits and motions to intervene in cases in swing states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
  • They’ve notched zero victories, 38 cases where they’ve withdrawn or lost, and have four cases pending.
  • Scroll down for a list of lawsuits the Trump campaign and Republicans have filed and where they stand.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Faced with the prospect of losing to a man he spent months hammering as corrupt, doddering, and mentally deficient, President Donald Trump is going on offense, spreading lies and conspiracy theories about a “rigged” election marred by “major fraud” from Democrats.

He’s alternated between demanding that some states stop counting ballots, which he doesn’t have the power to do, and saying that others should keep counting, which they were doing anyway.

To that end, the Trump campaign, Republican allies, and Trump himself have mounted at least 42 legal challenges since Election Day.

They’ve won zero.

The lawsuits argue that states and counties have violated election laws, playing into Trump’s political strategy to discredit the results of the 2020 election that President-elect Joe Biden won.

Republicans have filed the lawsuits in local, state, and federal courts in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – all states that Biden won. They have also filed direct appeals to the Supreme Court, all of which have also failed.

The Trump campaign initially had a single win, when a Pennsylvania judge ruled on November 12 that first-time voters were supposed to confirm their IDs with county boards of election by November 9, rather than November 12. The decision opened the door to disqualify the ballots of people who didn’t verify their IDs in time. But the state Supreme Court later overturned that decision.

That leaves Trump and other Republicans with at least 38 cases they have withdrawn or lost, and four that are still pending.

rudy giuliani
Attorney for the President, Rudy Giuliani, speaks about election lawsuits at a news conference in the parking lot of a landscaping company on November 7, 2020 in Philadelphia.

Here’s a list of the lawsuits and where they stand

Direct appeals to the Supreme Court – 2 losses, one pending

  • Several Republican politicians, led by Rep. Mike Kelly, asked the US Supreme Court to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. The court turned down the case.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the US Supreme Court seeking to overturn their election results. The Supreme Court rejected the case.
  • The Trump campaign asked the US Supreme Court to overturn three decisions from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over various technical rules regarding absentee and mail-in ballots. The court hasn’t yet decided whether to hear the case.

Pennsylvania – 13 losses

  • The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit asking a state appeals court to reject the Pennsylvania secretary of state’s announcement that registered voters had until November 12 to provide proof of identity for mail-in ballots. Republicans believe the deadline should be November 9. This is the one case that Trump won, before the state Supreme Court overturned the lower court decision.
  • In a wide-ranging federal lawsuit, the Trump campaign sued over alleged irregularities in the way ballots were counted throughout the state. They’ve argued that 14,000 votes should be thrown out. The campaign submitted a revised version of the lawsuit days later that retracted many of its original allegations. A judge threw out the case, saying Trump’s lawyers presented the court “with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpaid in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.” An appeal of the case also failed.
  • Another federal lawsuit brought by Republicans sought to delay the deadline for ballot requests. The judge rejected it.
  • A third federal lawsuit sought to stop the Montgomery County Board of Elections from allowing voters to “cure” their ballots – a process that allows people to fix clerical errors on their ballots to make sure their votes count. Republicans abandoned the lawsuit and withdrew from the case.
  • The campaign sued in yet another federal case to stop Philadelphia County from counting votes without Republicans present. The judge dismissed the case after Trump’s lawyers said Republican election watchers were, in fact, present.
  • In another Montgomery County case, this one filed in a local court, Trump’s lawyers sought to stop the county from counting mail-in ballots. The lawsuit is still pending, but the lawyers withdrew from the case.
  • A lawsuit in Bucks County filed by Republican congressional candidate Kathy Barnette on Election Day made a technical challenge on the county’s method of organizing ballots before counting them. She withdrew the case two days later and lost the election.
  • The Trump campaign appealed that Bucks County case soon afterward, but a judge rejected it and pointed out in his ruling that fraud wasn’t an issue. 
  • In a state court, Republicans challenged an instruction from the Secretary of State’s office regarding provisional ballots. A state appellate court judge dismissed the request but ordered the secretary of state to segregate provisional ballots in case their validity becomes contested.
  • Local Republicans sought to stop Northampton County from revealing the identities of people whose ballots were canceled and lost the case.
  • A group of Pennsylvania Republicans lost at the state Supreme Court with a lawsuit trying to invalidate absentee voting after the voting period already ended, and trying to block the certification of election results.
  • Another group of Republicans filed a similar lawsuit and lost.
  • The Trump campaign filed a motion to intervene in a Supreme Court case brought by Republicans that centers on the deadline by which Pennsylvania officials are allowed to receive ballots. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that officials could receive ballots until November 6 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Republicans appealed the decision to the high court, which was deadlocked at 4-4 because Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate, leaving the lower court’s ruling in place. The Supreme Court signaled it could hear the case again but has not yet granted the request to intervene.

Nevada – 4 losses

  • The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit requesting that ballots stop being counted in the state over concerns about signature-matching technology and election observers’ claims that they weren’t being allowed to watch ballots being processed closely enough. The Nevada Supreme Court denied the request.
  • The Trump campaign and the RNC filed a lawsuit in state court asking to stop ballot counting in Clark County – a heavily Democratic area – until GOP officials could observe the process. A district judge rejected the request on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not have evidence to back up their allegations. Republicans appealed the case to the Nevada Supreme Court, which said on November 5 that the campaign and Republican officials had reached a settlement that allowed expanded ballot observation. They later withdrew the case.
  • A group of Republicans dropped a lawsuit in Clark County challenging mail-in ballots, including those sent by members of the military.
  • The Trump campaign filed a different lawsuit in Carson City District Court alleging multiple irregularities that the campaign claimed, without providing specific evidence, would be enough to overturn the election results in Nevada and flip the state to Trump. It failed.

Georgia – 4 losses, one pending

Michigan – 5 losses

Arizona – 4 losses

  • The Trump campaign joined a lawsuit brought by two Republicans in Maricopa County claiming that a substantial number of GOP ballots were invalidated because voters used Sharpies to fill in their choices. There is no evidence that using Sharpies leads to issues with scanning ballots, and, in fact, officials have said using Sharpies is preferred. The Post also reported that the Maricopa County attorney’s office said no ballots were rejected and that if they are, voters have an opportunity to cast another one. A Republican-aligned group abandoned the legal fight after Maricopa County officials challenged the factual basis for the lawsuit, and the Trump campaign lost the fight soon afterward.
  • The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that Maricopa County was improperly rejecting ballots cast by some voters. The lawsuit was dismissed after an audit found no problems with the votes.
  • Arizona’s Supreme Court unanimously rejected a case from the state GOP chair Kelli Ward, saying the facts she presented were incorrect and that she “fails to present any evidence of misconduct.”
  • Powell filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn election results as well, based on a conspiracy theory about voting machines used in the state. A judge dismissed the case.

Wisconsin – 6 losses, one pending

New Mexico – one pending

  • The Trump campaign sued the state over what it claims was the illegal use of ballot drop boxes after the state had already certified its results and sent them to the Electoral College.

Key cases and Supreme Court rulings before Election Day

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court ruled that election officials could receive mail-in ballots until November 6 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Republicans requested an immediate stay from the US Supreme Court that would have blocked the state Supreme Court’s ruling.

But the US Supreme Court was deadlocked at 4-4, leaving the lower court’s ruling in place. Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito voted to grant Republicans’ request, while Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined to participate in the case “because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings,” the court said in a statement. However, Barrett has not recused herself, meaning she could cast a decisive fifth vote when the Supreme Court takes up the case again.

North Carolina

In a similar case brought by Republicans in North Carolina, the Supreme Court ruled that ballots received up to nine days after November 3 could be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

The decision came after the Trump campaign and Republicans asked in two separate cases for the high court to put back in place a June statute from the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature that would have allowed ballots to be counted only if they were received up to three days – not nine – after Election Day.

Five justices – Roberts, Kavanaugh, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor – ruled against reinstating the statute. Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas dissented, while Barrett did not participate in the North Carolina case.

Wisconsin

Republicans notched a victory in a case involving the deadline to receive ballots in Wisconsin. The US Supreme Court ruled against reviving an appeals court decision that would have allowed election officials to receive absentee ballots up to six days after Election Day.

The court’s five conservative justices – Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Thomas, and Alito – ruled against reviving the lower court’s ruling, while the three liberals – Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor – dissented.

The Wisconsin case made headlines because of Kavanaugh’s and Kagan’s dueling opinions.

Kavanaugh, a Trump-appointed justice who was confirmed to the high court in 2018, wrote in a concurring opinion that all ballots should be received by Election Day.

“Those States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election,” he wrote. “And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.”

Kagan fired back in a sharp dissent, taking issue with Kavanaugh’s assertion that the arrival of absentee ballots after Election Day could “flip” the results of the race.

“Justice Kavanaugh alleges that ‘suspicions of impropriety’ will result if ‘absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election,'” she wrote. “But there are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted. And nothing could be more ‘suspicio[us]’ or ‘improp[er]’ than refusing to tally votes once the clock strikes 12 on election night. To suggest otherwise, especially in these fractious times, is to disserve the electoral process.”

Texas

A federal court in Texas and the state’s Supreme Court denied two Republican requests to throw out nearly 130,000 ballots that were cast via drive-thru polling sites in Harris County, one of Texas’ most heavily Democratic areas.

The Texas Supreme Court rejected a request from Republican candidates and activists to toss the ballots. US District Judge Andrew Hanen, appointed by President George W. Bush, reached the same conclusion and denied the second request from GOP candidates and a right-wing radio host.

Hanen ruled that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to sue and ask that ballots that were legally cast be discounted. However, he ordered the county to set aside the 127,000 ballots in case an appeals court disagreed with him and ultimately threw those votes out.

This article has been updated.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump and Republican officials have won zero out of at least 40 lawsuits they’ve filed since Election Day

donald trump debate
President Donald Trump.

  • President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican officials have filed dozens of lawsuits since Election Day in an effort to contest the results of the 2020 election.
  • The campaign filed lawsuits and motions to intervene in cases in swing states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
  • They’ve notched zero victories, 36 cases where they’ve withdrawn or lost, and have four cases pending.
  • Scroll down for a list of lawsuits the Trump campaign and Republicans have filed and where they stand.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Faced with the prospect of losing to a man he spent months hammering as corrupt, doddering, and mentally deficient, President Donald Trump is going on offense, spreading lies and conspiracy theories about a “rigged” election marred by “major fraud” from Democrats.

He’s alternated between demanding that some states stop counting ballots, which he doesn’t have the power to do, and saying that others should keep counting, which they were doing anyway.

To that end, the Trump campaign, Republican allies, and Trump himself have mounted at least 40 legal challenges since Election Day.

They’ve won zero.

The lawsuits argue that states and counties have violated election laws, playing into Trump’s political strategy to discredit the results of the 2020 election that President-elect Joe Biden won.

Republicans have filed the lawsuits in local, state, and federal courts in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – all states that Biden won. They have also filed direct appeals to the Supreme Court, all of which have also failed.

The Trump campaign initially had a single win, when a Pennsylvania judge ruled on November 12 that first-time voters were supposed to confirm their IDs with county boards of election by November 9, rather than November 12. The decision opened the door to disqualify the ballots of people who didn’t verify their IDs in time. But the state Supreme Court later overturned that decision.

That leaves Trump and other Republicans with at least 36 cases they have withdrawn or lost, and four that are still pending.

rudy giuliani
Attorney for the President, Rudy Giuliani, speaks about election lawsuits at a news conference in the parking lot of a landscaping company on November 7, 2020 in Philadelphia.

Here’s a list of the lawsuits and where they stand

Direct appeals to the Supreme Court – two losses, one pending

  • Several Republican politicians, led by Rep. Mike Kelly, asked the US Supreme Court to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. The court turned down the case.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the US Supreme Court seeking to overturn their election results. The Supreme Court rejected the case.
  • The Trump campaign asked the US Supreme Court to overturn three decisions from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over various technical rules regarding absentee and mail-in ballots. The court hasn’t yet decided whether to hear the case.

Pennsylvania – 13 losses

  • The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit asking a state appeals court to reject the Pennsylvania secretary of state’s announcement that registered voters had until November 12 to provide proof of identity for mail-in ballots. Republicans believe the deadline should be November 9. This is the one case that Trump won, before the state Supreme Court overturned the lower court decision.
  • In a wide-ranging federal lawsuit, the Trump campaign sued over alleged irregularities in the way ballots were counted throughout the state. They’ve argued that 14,000 votes should be thrown out. The campaign submitted a revised version of the lawsuit days later that retracted many of its original allegations. A judge threw out the case, saying Trump’s lawyers presented the court “with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpaid in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.” An appeal of the case also failed.
  • Another federal lawsuit brought by Republicans sought to delay the deadline for ballot requests. The judge rejected it.
  • A third federal lawsuit sought to stop the Montgomery County Board of Elections from allowing voters to “cure” their ballots – a process that allows people to fix clerical errors on their ballots to make sure their votes count. Republicans abandoned the lawsuit and withdrew from the case.
  • The campaign sued in yet another federal case to stop Philadelphia County from counting votes without Republicans present. The judge dismissed the case after Trump’s lawyers said Republican election watchers were, in fact, present.
  • In another Montgomery County case, this one filed in a local court, Trump’s lawyers sought to stop the county from counting mail-in ballots. The lawsuit is still pending, but the lawyers withdrew from the case.
  • A lawsuit in Bucks County filed by Republican congressional candidate Kathy Barnette on Election Day made a technical challenge on the county’s method of organizing ballots before counting them. She withdrew the case two days later and lost the election.
  • The Trump campaign appealed that Bucks County case soon afterward, but a judge rejected it and pointed out in his ruling that fraud wasn’t an issue. 
  • In a state court, Republicans challenged an instruction from the Secretary of State’s office regarding provisional ballots. A state appellate court judge dismissed the request but ordered the secretary of state to segregate provisional ballots in case their validity becomes contested.
  • Local Republicans sought to stop Northampton County from revealing the identities of people whose ballots were canceled and lost the case.
  • A group of Pennsylvania Republicans lost at the state Supreme Court with a lawsuit trying to invalidate absentee voting after the voting period already ended, and trying to block the certification of election results.
  • Another group of Republicans filed a similar lawsuit and lost.
  • The Trump campaign filed a motion to intervene in a Supreme Court case brought by Republicans that centers on the deadline by which Pennsylvania officials are allowed to receive ballots. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that officials could receive ballots until November 6 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Republicans appealed the decision to the high court, which was deadlocked at 4-4 because Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate, leaving the lower court’s ruling in place. The Supreme Court signaled it could hear the case again but has not yet granted the request to intervene.

Nevada – 4 losses

  • The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit requesting that ballots stop being counted in the state over concerns about signature-matching technology and election observers’ claims that they weren’t being allowed to watch ballots being processed closely enough. The Nevada Supreme Court denied the request.
  • The Trump campaign and the RNC filed a lawsuit in state court asking to stop ballot counting in Clark County – a heavily Democratic area – until GOP officials could observe the process. A district judge rejected the request on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not have evidence to back up their allegations. Republicans appealed the case to the Nevada Supreme Court, which said on November 5 that the campaign and Republican officials had reached a settlement that allowed expanded ballot observation. They later withdrew the case.
  • A group of Republicans dropped a lawsuit in Clark County challenging mail-in ballots, including those sent by members of the military.
  • The Trump campaign filed a different lawsuit in Carson City District Court alleging multiple irregularities that the campaign claimed, without providing specific evidence, would be enough to overturn the election results in Nevada and flip the state to Trump. It failed.

Georgia – 4 losses

  • A judge in Chatham County denied the Trump campaign’s request to toss out 53 ballots that a GOP poll watcher said arrived after polls closed at 7 p.m. on November 3. The Washington Post reported that the poll watcher presented no evidence in court that the ballots came in late and that county officials testified that they were received in time.
  • Republican elector Lin Wood, whose attorney also represents the Trump campaign, sued to stop vote certification because. He argued that because the Georgia Secretary of State agreed to allow signature matching on ballots – a measure designed to prevent voter fraud – eight months before the election, his rights as an individual voter had been infringed upon. A state judge dismissed the case, saying the arguments have “no basis in fact and law.”
  • Wood filed another lawsuit in federal court and lost that one as well.
  • Sidney Powell, who was kicked off of Trump’s legal team after spreading numerous conspiracy theories about election fraud, filed a federal lawsuit in Georgia alleging widespread election fraud. A federal judge quickly dismissed the case, calling it “extraordinary” that the lawsuit sought to disqualify the votes of millions of voters.

Michigan – 5 losses

Arizona – 4 losses

  • The Trump campaign joined a lawsuit brought by two Republicans in Maricopa County claiming that a substantial number of GOP ballots were invalidated because voters used Sharpies to fill in their choices. There is no evidence that using Sharpies leads to issues with scanning ballots, and, in fact, officials have said using Sharpies is preferred. The Post also reported that the Maricopa County attorney’s office said no ballots were rejected and that if they are, voters have an opportunity to cast another one. A Republican-aligned group abandoned the legal fight after Maricopa County officials challenged the factual basis for the lawsuit, and the Trump campaign lost the fight soon afterward.
  • The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that Maricopa County was improperly rejecting ballots cast by some voters. The lawsuit was dismissed after an audit found no problems with the votes.
  • Arizona’s Supreme Court unanimously rejected a case from the state GOP chair Kelli Ward, saying the facts she presented were incorrect and that she “fails to present any evidence of misconduct.”
  • Powell filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn election results as well, based on a conspiracy theory about voting machines used in the state. A judge dismissed the case.

Wisconsin – 4 losses, 2 pending

New Mexico – one pending

  • The campaign sued the state over what it claims was the illegal use of ballot drop boxes after the state had already certified its results and sent them to the Electoral College.

Key cases and Supreme Court rulings before Election Day

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court ruled that election officials could receive mail-in ballots until November 6 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Republicans requested an immediate stay from the US Supreme Court that would have blocked the state Supreme Court’s ruling.

But the US Supreme Court was deadlocked at 4-4, leaving the lower court’s ruling in place. Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito voted to grant Republicans’ request, while Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined to participate in the case “because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings,” the court said in a statement. However, Barrett has not recused herself, meaning she could cast a decisive fifth vote when the Supreme Court takes up the case again.

North Carolina

In a similar case brought by Republicans in North Carolina, the Supreme Court ruled that ballots received up to nine days after November 3 could be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

The decision came after the Trump campaign and Republicans asked in two separate cases for the high court to put back in place a June statute from the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature that would have allowed ballots to be counted only if they were received up to three days – not nine – after Election Day.

Five justices – Roberts, Kavanaugh, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor – ruled against reinstating the statute. Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas dissented, while Barrett did not participate in the North Carolina case.

Wisconsin

Republicans notched a victory in a case involving the deadline to receive ballots in Wisconsin. The US Supreme Court ruled against reviving an appeals court decision that would have allowed election officials to receive absentee ballots up to six days after Election Day.

The court’s five conservative justices – Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Thomas, and Alito – ruled against reviving the lower court’s ruling, while the three liberals – Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor – dissented.

The Wisconsin case made headlines because of Kavanaugh’s and Kagan’s dueling opinions.

Kavanaugh, a Trump-appointed justice who was confirmed to the high court in 2018, wrote in a concurring opinion that all ballots should be received by Election Day.

“Those States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election,” he wrote. “And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.”

Kagan fired back in a sharp dissent, taking issue with Kavanaugh’s assertion that the arrival of absentee ballots after Election Day could “flip” the results of the race.

“Justice Kavanaugh alleges that ‘suspicions of impropriety’ will result if ‘absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election,'” she wrote. “But there are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted. And nothing could be more ‘suspicio[us]’ or ‘improp[er]’ than refusing to tally votes once the clock strikes 12 on election night. To suggest otherwise, especially in these fractious times, is to disserve the electoral process.”

Texas

A federal court in Texas and the state’s Supreme Court denied two Republican requests to throw out nearly 130,000 ballots that were cast via drive-thru polling sites in Harris County, one of Texas’ most heavily Democratic areas.

The Texas Supreme Court rejected a request from Republican candidates and activists to toss the ballots. US District Judge Andrew Hanen, appointed by President George W. Bush, reached the same conclusion and denied the second request from GOP candidates and a right-wing radio host.

Hanen ruled that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to sue and ask that ballots that were legally cast be discounted. However, he ordered the county to set aside the 127,000 ballots in case an appeals court disagreed with him and ultimately threw those votes out.

This article has been updated.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Republican legislators are refusing to pay two Wisconsin counties the $3 million they’re owed for conducting election recounts

wisconsin recount
Observers listen as procedural issues are argued during the process of recounting ballots from the November 3 election.

  • A committee that’s part of the Republican-led state legislature in Wisconsin is refusing to pay two Wisconsin counties the $3 million they’re owed for conducting election vote recounts, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • It is unclear why these unnamed Republicans are withholding the money.
  • Residents in Dane and Milwaukee counties overwhelmingly voted for President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Two Wisconsin counties are being denied the money they’re owed for conducting election vote recounts, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The Trump 2020 campaign paid a total of $3 million to Dane and Milwaukee counties after demanding recounts there. President Donald Trump initially lost to Joe Biden by 0.6 percentage points. When the recount was finalized, Biden’s margin of victory had increased.

Candidates requesting officials to recount votes are responsible for the cost, according to Ballotpedia, unless the recount alters the result in favor of another candidate. In that case, the state will cover the recount cost.

The Trump campaign already paid the $3 million recount fee, but the state’s legislature’s budget committee, which has a Republican majority, is withholding it. Republican legislators have not specified why.

A letter from the state’s Joint Finance Committee said one of its 16 members opposed paying the two counties the $3 million they’re owed. The member was not named in the letter.

Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher tweeted out the letter, sent to her from Republican committee leaders Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Mark Born.

“Just learned that the republicans are objecting to reimbursing Dane County for Donald Trump’s recount,” Eicher said. “Expenses were incurred. We did our job. Time to pay the bill. We’re not a contractor Trump and his allies in the WIGOP can stiff.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Wisconsin is just one of the states where Trump filed dozens of lawsuits alleging widespread voter fraud. He’s won none so far. Recount efforts across Wisconsin and other states have not altered the results of the 2020 election. Biden is expected to begin his presidency on January 20, the day he will be inaugurated into office. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The US Supreme Court rejects GOP bid to overturn the 2020 election

Trump rose garden sad
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at an event on “protecting seniors with diabetes” in the Rose Garden White House, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Washington.

  • The US Supreme Court has rejected a bid by Texas and other Republican-led states to overturn the 2020 election.
  • In an opinion issued Friday, the court said Texas lacked standing and had not demonstrated a right to interfere in how other states administer their elections.
  • The effort to throw out the vote in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia was supported by a majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The nation’s highest court has rejected an effort by US President Donald Trump and other Republicans to overturn the 2020 election.

In a brief order issued Friday, the US Supreme Court said a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was denied a hearing due to a lack of standing.

Paxton and other Republican attorneys general, as well as a majority of those elected to the House of Representatives, had argued the popular vote in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia should be disregarded over unsubstantiated allegations of fraud and that GOP-led state legislatures should be allowed to select pro-Trump electors instead.

That demand – an unprecedented request for judges to intervene and overrule a democratic outcome – had prompted some dissent among some, but certainly not all, conservatives.

“That doesn’t sound like a very Republican argument to me,” Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said in an interview airing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” citing federalism and the right of states to administer their own elections.

That argument was echoed by the Supreme Court. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections,” the justices wrote.

Democrats, meanwhile, continue to sound the alarm. Speaking to The Washington Post, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut warned that, while unlikely to be successful this time around, the legitimization of efforts to subvert democracy bodes ill for the future.

“If this becomes at all normalized more broadly than it already is, they will steal an election two years from now or four years from now,” Murphy said.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

Read the original article on Business Insider