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Trump lawyers withdraw on eve of key hearing in Pennsylvania election case

Reuters November 16 | Updated on November 17, 2020 Published on November 17, 2020

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of US President Donald Trump rally as a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden celebrates outside the State Capitol building after news media declared Biden to be the winner of the 2020 US presidential election, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania   -  REUTERS

The filing did not give a reason for the change, which came days after a prominent regional law firm, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, also withdrew from the case

Three more lawyers representing President Donald Trump's campaign have asked to withdraw from his lawsuit challenging the US election results in Pennsylvania, shaking up his legal team on the eve of a major court hearing.

The lawyers - Linda Kerns, John Scott and Douglas Bryan Hughes - made the request in a court filing on Monday, adding that the campaign consented to their withdrawal.

In a brief order on Monday night, the judge hearing the case allowed Scott and Hughes to withdraw but not Kerns.

‘Routine change’

Harrisburg-based lawyer Marc Scaringi has joined the case and will be Trump’s lead counsel. Scaringi and the three attorneys who sought to withdraw did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Scaringi on Monday asked the judge to postpone a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, saying he and a law partner “need additional time to adequately prepare.” The judge quickly denied the request.

Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser with the Trump campaign, said the change was routine.

“The president announced Saturday that he has asked Mayor Rudy Giuliani to lead the national legal team, along with local counsel. Our substitution of local counsel is consistent with routine managing of complex litigation,” Ellis said in a statement.

The filing did not give a reason for the change, which came days after a prominent regional law firm, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, also withdrew from the case.

In a court filing on Thursday, lawyers at Porter Wright said it had agreed that its clients - the campaign and two registered voters - “will be best served if Porter Wright withdraws.”

‘Harassing emails, phone messages’

Kerns said in a recent court filing that she has faced a torrent of harassing emails and phone messages due to her work for the Trump campaign.

A federal judge in Williamsport will hear arguments on Tuesday in the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, filed on November 9, which seeks to halt the state's top election official from certifying Joe Biden, a Democrat, as the winner.

The Trump campaign is filing lawsuits that are “borderline frivolous” and will not change the election's outcome even if successful, said Bruce Green, a professor of legal ethics at Fordham Law School.

“It's doomed to fail anyway. So, does it really make a difference if another lawyer comes in? I think in most people's view, these cases are not being filed with any expectation that they'll prevail,” Green said.

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Published on November 17, 2020
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