Federal Appeals Court Sides With Trump Camp In Ohio Voter Intimidation Case

FILE - In this file photo taken Oct. 29, 2008, voters line up outside the Hamilton County Board of Elections for early voting in Cincinnati. U.S. District Judge Michael Watson ruled Tuesday, May 24, 2016, that a law trimming early voting in Ohio is unconstitutional, after the state's Democratic Party and other plaintiffs sued over Republican-backed changes to voting rules in the presidential battleground state. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
Al Behrman/AP

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped into one of the key pre-election legal battles Sunday, blocking a temporary restraining order that barred the Donald Trump campaign, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, and Stone’s group Stop the Steal from engaging in various voter intimidation activities in Ohio.

The Ohio case is one of a half a dozen cases nationwide that state Democratic parties filed preemptively in the last week before the election to head off Election Day activities to suppress the minority vote.

A federal district court judge Friday granted Democrats’ request for a temporary restraining order against the Trump campaign, Stone and Stone’s group, but not against the state Republican Party. It barred them “from conspiring to intimidate, threaten, harass, or coerce voters on Election Day.” The order also applied to the Clinton campaign, though it was not a party to the case.

The Trump campaign appealed to the 6th Circuit, asking that the temporary restraining order be stayed pending appeal. The appeals court granted that request Sunday. With so little time before Election Day, the result means that Republicans will likely not be under any additional restrictions, though voter intimidation remains illegal.

In issuing the stay, the 6th Circuit order said that Democrats had not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of the case and that “all the requisite factors weigh in favor of granting a stay.”