Rudy Leaps Into Trump Camp’s Off-The-Rails PA Lawsuit Ahead Of Big Tuesday Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 01: President Donald Trump's lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to journalists outside the White House West Wing July 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. Giuliani did an on-camera... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 01: President Donald Trump's lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to journalists outside the White House West Wing July 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. Giuliani did an on-camera interview with One America News Network's Chanel Rion before talking to other journalists about Vice President Joe Biden and the news that Russian intelligence may have paid Taliban operatives to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 17, 2020 10:20 a.m.

Ahead of a crucial hearing on Tuesday afternoon, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is seeking at the last minute to represent the Trump campaign. It may be the first time Giuliani has formally appeared in federal court in decades.

The lawsuit challenging the election results in Pennsylvania has already involved multiple shakeups of the case’s legal team and a P.R. whiplash over how the case has been narrowed.

In his surprise filing Tuesday morning seeking leave to enter his appearance, Giuliani promised to treat all involved parties with “with civility and respect.”

“Professional courtesy is compatible with vigorous advocacy and zealous representation. Even though antagonism may be expected by my client, it is not part of my duty to my client,” the filing said.

Giuliani joins the case after a Monday night bid to delay the hearing had already been rejected and while the current lead attorney Marc Scaringi comes under scrutiny for radio commentary suggesting Trump’s post-election legal fights were going nowhere.

The case captures the fly-by-night approach that MAGA-world has taken in trying to use the legal system to overturn Trump’s defeat at the hands of Joe Biden — an effort that has been unsuccessful and plagued by embarrassing moments in court.

Initially, the campaign asked the court to either block certification of the entirety of Pennsylvania’s results, or to require that the state exclude from that count nearly 700,000 mail ballots that the Trump campaign claims were processed without adequate poll watcher observation.

Over the weekend, the campaign significantly altered its complaint to back off of that later request, and the lawsuit now focuses on an allegation that Democratic-counties were being too lenient in how they were letting voters fix mail ballots with deficiencies.

That allegation stands to implicate a much smaller pool of ballots that are unlikely to change the result, even if a court were to buy the Trump arguments, since Biden now leads Trump by 70,000 votes.

When reporters noted that the complaint had been scaled back quite a bit, President Trump and his top advisors went into a tailspin in press statements and on social media trying to play down how much the lawsuit had been pared down.

Also in recent days, the Trump campaign has done multiple switch-a-roos with the legal team representing it in the case.

Porter Wright, an Ohio-based white shoe firm, withdrew its representation on Friday, as it faced an intense internal and external backlash to its involvement in Trump’s attacks on democracy.

Linda Kerns — a family law attorney in Philadelphia who has long played a prominent role in the campaign’s Pennsylvania operation — stayed on the case.  She was joined by an Austin-based legal team on Friday as Porter Wright withdrew, and they were the lawyers who filed on Sunday the winnowed down amended complaint.

But she and the Texas lawyers announced Monday that they were withdrawing. They submitted a court filing that said the “Plaintiffs will be best served” by them leaving the case and by Scaringi representing the campaign instead.

Scaringi is a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania attorney who moonlights as conservative talk radio host and once ran for Senate as a Republican. The Monday night delay request also flagged for the court that the campaign intended to file a second amended request.

Not long after his addition to the case became known it was reported that in the days after the election Scaringi told his radio show listeners that in his opinion “no bombshells that are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency.”

“At the end of the day, in my view, the litigation will not work,” Scaringi said on his Nov. 7 show, which was surfaced by MediaMatters. “It will not reverse this election.”

On Monday evening. Scaringi asked the judge if he could delay the Tuesday hearing so that he could have “additional time to adequately prepare this case for the upcoming oral argument and evidentiary hearing.”

Minutes later, U.S. District Judge Matthew Braun said no.

“Counsel for the parties are expected to be prepared for argument and questioning,” Braun said in his order denying the delay request.

Tuesday’s hearing is at 1:30 ET.

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