A Wisconsin state judge ruled on Friday that the state’s election was conducted properly, dealing President Donald Trump and his allies their fifth legal defeat in a little over a week as Trump desperately seeks to undo his loss.
Judge Stephen Simanek ruled against the president following a virtual hearing, the Associated Press reported via local station KHOU.
“There is no credible evidence of misconduct or wide-scale fraud,” Simanek said.
Simanek issued his decision from the bench 73 hours before the Electoral College is to meet Monday to officially deliver the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden. Wisconsin’s slate of 10 electors for Biden has already been certified, and Simanek’s decision upheld that finding.
Trump, who has seen a string of defeats in his efforts to upend the election results, is expected to quickly appeal the ruling to the Wisconsin Supreme Court before the Electoral College meets on Monday and casts Wisconsin’s 10 votes for Biden, even though his chances of success are slim.
The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court previously refused to hear his case before it went through the lower courts. A majority of justices have also openly questioned whether disqualifying the ballots as Trump is seeking would be appropriate.
Biden won Wisconsin by about 20,600 votes, a margin that withstood a Trump-requested recount in the state’s two largest counties. Trump asked in the state lawsuit to disqualify more than 221,000 votes in the Democratic strongholds of Dane and Milwaukee counties.
Trump and his allies have suffered a string of defeats in Wisconsin and across the country as they’ve put forward lawsuits that rely on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud and election abuse. A Trump-appointed federal judge in Wisconsin said Thursday that the president’s lawsuit was “incredible,” “bizarre” and “very odd,” and asking to overturn the results would be “the most remarkable ruling in the history of this court or the federal judiciary.”
Meanwhile, Republican-controlled committees in the state Legislature were holding an invite-only public hearing to accept testimony about the election. Republicans asked mainly conservative partisans to speak, including a Milwaukee talk radio host, but not the state’s top elections official or the head of elections in the city or county of Milwaukee.