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Attorneys: Defense must prove ballots valid

WILLIAMSPORT — The election case playing out in U.S. Middle District Court added another chapter Friday in the legal battle between President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers and those for state Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar.

Trump and his counsel, led by Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, and Marc Scaringi, a Harrisburg-based attorney, each signed onto a brief filed Friday that asked U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann to rule against the state’s request for dismissal.

Giuliani and Scaringi have claimed the defense counsel must prove the state mail ballots are valid.

“If mail ballots are to be counted the burden of proof shifts to defense to prove the ballots are valid,” the president’s attorneys said.

Their argument is that if on the eve-of-election changes to state law governing a presidential election were improper, and if such votes are to be counted, at a minimum, the burden of proof shifts to the defendants to prove the mail ballots are valid.

The two Trump lawyers ripped apart the state system, which Giuliani and Scaringi called “so porous” and lacking in checks and balances that it constitutes a case that the election process itself reaches the point of patent and fundamental unfairness.

The alleged violation has brought about a due process clause challenge, the attorneys said.

In response, the defense attorneys said the mail-in ballots, which were valid unless they were found defective and cured, were postmarked by Election Day and are valid and permitted to be counted after Election Day, due to a ruling by the state Supreme Court.

But Trump team lawyers said the last-minute alterations to the state election rules were game-changing in terms of Election Day and the presidential election results.

“As a result of these last-minute decisions on the eve of the presidential election, the state no longer allowed meaningful observation or challenges to mail ballots which do not comply with state law before they are mixed with other ballots and opened,” Giuliani wrote.

Ballots in secrecy envelopes are separated from the outside envelope, mixed, open, and counted without any observation or challenge, he said.

The state Supreme Court also ruled that parties and candidates have no right to meaningfully observe the canvassing of mail ballots, Giuliani said.

Giuliani, in numerous motions, said he wants to see the state from certifying election returns.

Democrat Joe Biden unofficially leads Trump in the state by about 80,000 votes, according to The Associated Press.

In court this past Tuesday, Brann asked the Trump team what justification he would have to overturn 6.8 million voters ballots. The ballots are to be certified by the state on the upcoming Tuesday.

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