There is still life in a 2020 election fraud lawsuit in northern Michigan.
Attorneys for Antrim County and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are objecting to a proposed order from Matthew DePerno, the attorney for the plaintiff, filed after a judge rejected an effort last month to force a new audit of the results.
In anticipation of an appeal, 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer said it was his understanding that all other matters had been put on hold for the time being and noted the court “will take all pending motions under advisement.”
The judge ordered DePerno to submit a proposed order on the stay, but what the attorney turned in “is not accurate,” Michigan Assistant Attorney General Erik Grill contended in a brief, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
“The Court had stated that ‘all matters’ would be stayed — including discovery. But the Plaintiff’s proposed order stays only unresolved motions and would not stay discovery or any other matters,” he added.
Elsenheimer’s ruling effectively dismissing the case, one of the last 2020 election lawsuits left in the nation, followed his consideration of legal sufficiency issues raised by the defense, which argued the plaintiff, Central Lake Township resident Bill Bailey, lacked standing and the lawsuit was moot “because Plaintiff has already been granted all of the relief he sought.”
DePerno and Bailey, who initially sued over a local marijuana retailer proposal, argued that “material fraud or error” took place in the 2020 election and most recently had been pressing for their own audit of the results. The defendants argued that such an audit had taken place, and the judge, who said Michigan law gives the secretary of state the right to perform audits, determined that the case was moot. “There is no reason to do it twice,” he said.
Benson celebrated the judge’s ruling in a statement that noted Elsenheimer is a former Republican state legislator.
“The dismissal of the last of the lawsuits attempting to undermine democracy in furtherance of the Big Lie affirms that despite intense scrutiny, and an unprecedented misinformation campaign, the 2020 election was fair and secure, and the results accurately reflect the will of the voters,” she said.
However, the judge stressed his ruling was “not saying there were no problems” in how Antrim County conducted the 2020 election.
“The clerk has admitted that there were challenges and problems in the elections, although the hand count ultimately of the presidential election showed the results were largely consistent with the canvas totals that were entered by the state and reported by the county. Nor am I saying that the processing of election data here wasn’t corrupted or corruptible. I don’t have the facts to make that determination,” he added.
In a livestream with supporters after the hearing, Bailey said an appeal is “definitely” happening but noted “another option” was under consideration. He also said there is “incredible new evidence” of fraud and predicted the judge “will see it” at some point.
DePerno echoed that message in a press release posted to his website last week. “We have new and exciting evidence ready to be disclosed and will schedule its release as time permits,” he said.