Firm Leading Trump’s Legal Crusade In PA Backs Out Amid Criticism Of Undermining Electoral Process

WILKES-BARRE, UNITED STATES - 2020/11/04: Luzerne County employees open mail-in ballots to be counted at the elections board in Wilkes-Barre.Pennsylvania mail-in ballots are being counted with about fifty thousand in total, Luzerne County hopes to finish tonight. Media is allowed to document the vote counting process in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WILKES-BARRE, UNITED STATES - 2020/11/04: Luzerne County employees open mail-in ballots to be counted at the elections board in Wilkes-Barre. Pennsylvania mail-in ballots are being counted with about fifty thousand i... WILKES-BARRE, UNITED STATES - 2020/11/04: Luzerne County employees open mail-in ballots to be counted at the elections board in Wilkes-Barre. Pennsylvania mail-in ballots are being counted with about fifty thousand in total, Luzerne County hopes to finish tonight. Media is allowed to document the vote counting process in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 13, 2020 10:13 a.m.

The law firm leading the Trump campaign’s efforts in Pennsylvania to cast doubts over the integrity of the vote in the state withdrew from a federal lawsuit that it filed for President Donald Trump just days earlier. 

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur said in a court filing on Thursday that in talks with the Trump campaign it had “reached a mutual agreement that plaintiffs will be best served if Porter Wright withdraws.”

The news comes after Porter Wright had filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for the Trump campaign on Monday, alleging “irregularities” in the presidential vote across the state.

The Democratic National Committee has filed a motion to dismiss the pending lawsuit in the Keystone State, which which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 50,000 votes.

The New York Times  previously reported on internal tensions brewing at the firm about its work on Trump’s behalf in Pennsylvania. In a report on Monday the Times noted concerns from employees who feared the firm was being used to undercut the integrity of the electoral process. One Porter Wright lawyer resigned in protest over the summer.

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group founded by Republicans, tweeted on Tuesday in an apparent effort to force action from counsel at the firm — “employees of @JonesDay & @PorterWright, do you believe your law firms should be attempting to overturn the will of the American people?”

In response to growing pressures to withdraw from the suit on Wednesday, Porter Wright issued a statement obtained by the Times noting its “long history of election law work during which we have represented Democratic, Republican and independent campaigns and issues.”

“At times, this calls for us to take on controversial cases,” the statement said. “We expect criticism in such instances, and we affirm the right of all individuals to express concern and disagreement.”

The firm, based in Columbus, Ohio, has filed a number of other actions in Pennsylvania courts challenging aspects of the state’s voting process and has cashed in on at least $727,000 in fees from the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to federal election disclosures reviewed by the Times.

It remains unclear if the firm will continue to represent Trump’s campaign on those cases.

Jones Day, another prominent firm, has rebuffed calls to withdraw from its pending law suits and will continue to represent the Pennsylvania GOP in an ongoing crusade on the integrity of the election, and mail-in ballot deadlines in particular, in Pennsylvania. 

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