A judge in Georgia threw out large portions of a lawsuit challenging mail-in ballots during the 2020 presidential election, a defeat for Donald Trump and his allies pushing unfounded allegations of fraud.
Superior Court Judge Brian Amero on Thursday dismissed seven of the suit’s claims against officials in Fulton County, saying they were protected by Georgia’s sovereign immunity laws. Plaintiffs alleged rampant fraud in the election and filed suit to inspect the 147,000 absentee ballots cast in the county.
Fulton County officials repeatedly rejected the fraud claims, and three separate audits have upheld results that saw President Joe Biden win Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes. Undeterred by facts, Trump and his allies have continued to claim the election was stolen from him.
The judge on Thursday allowed two counts in the lawsuit proceed, saying his previous order mandating the county produce digital images of absentee ballots and election records would stand. But an attorney for the Fulton County elections board told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he would soon file to have the full case dismissed, saying Amero’s decision effectively undercuts the entire case.
“That litigation is finished,” lawyer Don Samuel told the outlet. “Is there going to be an audit? Not right now. … There’s no discovery permitted. There’s no lawsuit pending anymore.”
Galrand Favorito, the lead plaintiff in the suit, told the Journal-Constitution the ruling was a win, saying he would submit plans for a ballot inspection next week in line with Amero’s past rulings.
Fulton County officials said it was time for Trump’s forces to surrender.
“This lawsuit is the result of meritless claims and the Big Lie. The votes have been counted three times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of widespread fraud was found,” Robb Pitts, chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement. “Last year, I told President Trump and others who push the Big Lie to ‘put up or shut up.’ It’s been six months and still no proof of wrongdoing has been produced. Enough is enough — this whole circus must end.”
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