Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN.
Donald Trump desperately wants you to believe the only reason Joe Biden won the 2020 election by so many votes was because it was the “most fraudulent election in history.” Trump served up his latest variation of this fallacy on Fox Business on Sunday morning, saying “we have so much evidence” to support his claims but the judges “won’t allow us” to submit it.
That’s a lie. The truth is Trump’s lawyers have had numerous opportunities to present the so-called evidence of voter fraud, but haven’t. Why? Simple. There is no such evidence. Trump’s own lawyers – including Rudy Giuliani – have repeatedly admitted in court cases from Arizona to Pennsylvania that they are not even alleging voter fraud in those lawsuits. The obvious reason being they can’t prove the claims.
There’s a difference between what a client can scream in public and what a lawyer can say to a judge. As a lawyer myself, I know how it’s drilled into our heads from law school that you could be disbarred if you intentionally lie to a judge. We have a “special duty as officers of the court” to be truthful to the court.
Hence, Trump says one thing to the media and his lawyers tell a vastly different story to the courts.
As a nation, we should actually be grateful Trump’s campaign filed lawsuits in countless states. If Trump hadn’t, the fact-checking would have been done primarily by the very journalists Trump has slammed for years as “enemies of the people.” But by filing these legal actions, the people who have ruled that Trump’s claims are baseless are judges across the political spectrum – including one Trump nominated to the federal bench in 2017, Judge Stephanos Bibas.
In fact, Bibas, joined by Judges David Brooks Smith and Michael Chagares, both GOP-appointed judges to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote the unanimous decision released Friday that was a master class in decimating Trump’s claims of voter fraud. The court first slammed Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, a state Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, writing, “Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections.” The judges then reached the crux of Trump’s claims of voter fraud, declaring that: “Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
In fact, as the opinion stated, “The Campaign never alleges that any ballot was fraudulent or cast by an illegal voter,” reiterating later that the Trump campaign “conceded that it is not alleging election fraud.”
So despite Trump’s non-stop cries of voter fraud, when it came to the lawsuit, there was not even a claim of such wrongdoing. In fact, Giuliani admitted that in open court last week while appearing before federal Judge Matthew Brann in Pennsylvania. “This is not a fraud case,” Giuliani said in response to Brann’s questioning.
This helps explain why, for example, while Trump repeatedly claims publicly that “dead people” voted in Pennsylvania – even repeating that falsehood last Wednesday when he called into a news conference held in Gettysburg by a handful of Pennsylvania GOP state legislators – Trump’s lawyers conceded in another lawsuit in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, that there was “no evidence” a ballot was cast by “a deceased person.” Lawyers in general won’t risk being disbarred to help a client by lying to the court.
We’ve seen similar outcomes in connection with campaign lawsuits filed in other battleground states that Trump lost.
In Arizona, Trump’s lawyer Kory Langhofer filed a lawsuit to contest the results that Biden had won the state. But Langhofer didn’t parrot Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Rather, he argued that a “limited number” of ballots should be reviewed because it appeared there were “good faith errors” in operating machines. “This is not a fraud case,” said Langhofer. “We’re not alleging anyone’s stealing the election.” That lawsuit was ultimately dropped by the Trump campaign since they admitted the claims wouldn’t change the fact Biden won.
In Michigan, the Trump campaign voluntarily dropped its lawsuit alleging voter fraud – falsely claiming it dropped the lawsuit because it had succeeded at stopping the certification of the election results in Michigan’s Wayne County. It hadn’t; the results were certified in accordance with Michigan law.
Trump can keep repeating his claims the election was “rigged,” “fake,” a “hoax” … yadda, yadda, yadda. After four-plus years of Trump, we all know his go-to buzzwords.
The truth is that Trump has been given his day in court to prove his case and he has failed – over and over. Thanks to these lawsuits, it’s clear that at this point the only fraud in the 2020 election is Donald Trump.