Judge Brian Amero has ruled in favor of Fulton County election workers in a ruling that jeopardizes whether the county’s election audit can proceed. The legal determination was made on Thursday night.
“A judge dismissed most of a lawsuit Thursday seeking a deep inspection of Fulton County absentee ballots from last year’s presidential election, a review pursued by voters trying to find fraud,” the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
“Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s ruling jeopardizes the prospects for the ballot inspection to continue, though a plaintiff in the lawsuit said he believes it will soon move forward,” the report added.
The case brought by Garland Favorito hinges on ‘discovery’ to determine if Fulton County election workers, the defendants in the case, scanned absentee ballots multiple times through tabulators, as appeared to be the case with State Farm Arena’s CCTV video surveillance from election night.
“An attorney for the Fulton elections board said the ruling prevents the possibility for an in-person review of absentee ballots using high-powered microscopes in the Georgia World Congress Center, as sought by those who believe fraud resulted in Democrat Joe Biden’s 12,000-vote win over Republican Donald Trump.
“That litigation is finished,” said Don Samuel, a prominent Atlanta attorney hired by the Fulton elections board. “Is there going to be an audit? Not right now … There’s no discovery permitted. There’s no lawsuit pending anymore.”
"*" indicates required fields
However, the claimant Garland Favorito argued that the ruling contained a victory that could be seen as a silver lining.
“Favorito plans to submit a ballot inspection plan next week based on the judge’s order in May to unseal absentee ballots, allowing for high-resolution re-scans of ballots and an in-person review,” AJC noted.
“We just want Fulton to be held responsible,” Favorito said. “We could be moving forward any time now unless they try to stall again. Fulton may make a new desperation move to postpone it.”
The case, however, can still proceed given that the ballots were unsealed and copies of the ballots could be provided under discovery, Georgia election observer Crystal Carter notes. While Fulton County was dropped from the suit under ‘sovereign immunity,’ other parties are being added that keep the potential of an election audit alive.
The parties now are listed as Alex Wan, Mark Wingate, Kathleen Ruth, Vernetta Nuriddin, and Aaron Johnson. These individuals will not have “sovereign immunity.”
Earlier during the high stakes proceedings, the petitioners made the case that the examination of the ballots should proceed as planned to determine if the fraudulent counting of double ballots occurred. Watch:
“We are uncertain as to the weight and value of our vote, my clients’ votes, going forward,” the claimants argued. “And that’s what we are trying to address. We are not trying to address the results of the November election.”
“We have asked to see the ballots,” the lawyer continued. “Because we think that’s the best evidence to show that this kind of conduct didn’t occur and won’t occur in the future.”
The Fulton County legal team then made a curious defense against the election audit proceeding. The defense claimed that there is no “current controversy.” And furthermore, there is nothing for the court to adjudicate.
“We agree with that. We will not count counterfeit ballots in future elections,” the Fulton County defense conceded. “Even if we were to assume for the sake of argument that they were right, that they were counted in the past, and we are not admitting that, we agree you can’t count counterfeit ballots. You can’t scan absentee ballots twice. You can’t count somebody’s vote twice.”
The lawyers also claimed sovereign immunity to keep the ballots from being subpoenaed for discovery. The judge obviously agreed and essentially ruled that the state cannot be compelled to show independent parties that ballots cast in an election were valid.