Trump campaign parts ways with lawyer who made voter fraud claims

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Trump campaign representatives hold news conference on 2020 U.S. presidential election results in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks as he holds a news conference about the 2020 U.S. presidential election results with fellow Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, U.S., November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

November 23, 2020

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign on Sunday distanced itself from Sidney Powell, a lawyer who claimed at a news conference last week that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to President-elect Joe Biden.

“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a statement. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team.”

The announcement was made a day after a judge dismissed the campaign’s lawsuit seeking to halt Pennsylvania officials from certifying Biden’s victory in the state, dealing a major blow to Trump’s flailing efforts to overturn his Nov. 3 election loss.

Powell, a conservative activist and former federal prosecutor, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump, a Republican, expressed concerns after the news conference that Powell’s claims were too outlandish and would distract from other legal arguments, a person familiar with the discussions said.

The president had referred to Powell as one of his lawyers in a Nov. 14 tweet.

“Rudy Giuliani, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives,” Trump said in the tweet.

Tucker Carlson, an influential Fox News host, on Thursday criticized Powell for a lack of evidence to support her claims.

“She never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one,” Carlson said.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa who won reelection in this month’s vote, told a Fox News radio program on Thursday that Powell’s allegations were “offensive.”

Powell is currently representing Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn in his effort to end a long-running criminal case against him.

Democrats and some Republicans have accused Trump of trying to undermine faith in the American electoral system and delegitimize Biden’s victory by promoting false claims of widespread voter fraud.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld and Timothy Gardner: Editing by Daniel Wallis and Paul Simao)

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