Trump campaign parts ways with lawyer who made voter fraud claims

Ms Sidney Powell, without providing evidence, said last week that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to favour US President-elect Joe Biden.
Ms Sidney Powell, without providing evidence, said last week that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to favour US President-elect Joe Biden.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump’s election campaign on Sunday (Nov 22) distanced itself from Ms 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," Mr Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in the 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 President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Pennsylvania, dealing a major blow to Mr Trump's flailing efforts to overturn his Nov 3 election loss.

Ms Powell had made other dramatic claims without evidence, saying she had a voter fraud case of "biblical" proportions in Georgia. On Saturday, she told conservative Newsmax TV that "Georgia is probably going to be the first state I’m gonna blow up," and accused Republican Governor Brian Kemp of conspiring against Mr Trump. 

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

Mr Trump, a Republican, expressed concerns after the news conference that Ms Powell’s claims were too outlandish and would distract from other legal arguments, a person familiar with the discussions said. 
 
Mr Trump had referred to Ms 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," Mr Trump said in the tweet.

Mr Tucker Carlson, an influential Fox News host, on Thursday criticised Ms 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,"Mr Carlson said.

US Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa who won reelection in this month's vote, told a Fox News radio programme on Thursday that Ms Powell's allegations were "offensive."

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

Flynn, saying that Ms Powell had been suspended from Twitter for 12 hours, wrote on the platform that she understood Mr Giuliani’s statement and "agrees with it." Flynn said Ms Powell was "staying the course" to prove election fraud. 

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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