The City of Detroit joined the Supreme Court brief submission party on Thursday in opposition to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) attempt to overturn the 2020 election in unprecedented fashion. In doing so, Detroit went after the “startling ignorance” of Rudy Giuliani’s star witness Mellissa Carone.
Detroit was on the front lines of the election challenges brought by allies of President Donald Trump. It was in Michigan’s courts that “allegations of supposed fraud” made by Carone and poll watchers Cheryl A. Constantino and Edward P. McCall, Jr. were deemed “not credible.”
According to Detroit’s lawyer David Fink, Paxton’s filing at the Supreme Court against Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan nonetheless repeated those “debunked” claims about what went on in the Wolverine State.
“[Texas] made very few ‘factual’ allegations relating to Michigan, with all allegations of supposed fraud arising from debunked claims about the processing and tabulation of absent voter ballots by the City of Detroit (the ‘City’) in Hall E of the TCF Center, a convention center in downtown Detroit,” Detroit began. “Those sparse allegations are derived from three affidavits first submitted in Costantino v. Detroit et al, Wayne County Circuit Case No. 20-014780-AW, by Melissa Carone, Jessy Jacob and Zachary Larsen.”
“The allegations here are the same allegations the City successfully rebutted in state and federal courts in Michigan, including the Michigan Supreme Court. The claims were either deemed to be without merit or were determined to be unworthy of injunctive relief, including relief that could delay certification of election results,” the brief went on.
Fink took aim at Carone’s “fantastical” affidavit, calling it “particularly inaccurate and troubling.” Detroit said Carone’s performances in the affidavit and in public showed a “startling ignorance.”
“She was a contract worker, hired by a third party to assist with occasional malfunctions of the tabulating machines. She has no known training in election law or procedures, and her affidavit and public statements have displayed a startling ignorance of how votes are counted,” Fink said. “Ms. Carone believes that she saw evidence that ballots were counted more than once at the TCF Center. Her main allegation—that hundreds or thousands of ballots were counted twice or more—cannot possibly be true.”
“She says she saw on a computer that 50 of the same ballots had been counted 8 times, and that she saw numerous similar instances ‘countless times’ throughout the day. If what she said were true, at the very least, 350 extra votes would show up for at least one absent voter counting board,” Fink went on. “That did not occur.”
Detroit said that Carone’s “speculation” about fraud was proven false; her claims reflected a “misunderstanding” of how things work:
In fact, as [Michigan elections expert Christopher] Thomas attests, the unbalance for the November election was caused by human errors in the records reflecting slightly more voters than ballots, not more ballots than voters as would be the result if Ms. Carone were correct.
Ms. Carone’s misunderstanding of what she observed may stem from the fact that as a routine part of the tabulation process, ballots are often fed through the high-speed reader more than once. Id. ¶ 20. For instance, if there is a jam in the reader, all ballots in the stack may need to be pulled out and run through again. Id. Or, if there is a problem ballot in a stack—for instance, a ballot with stains, tears, stray markings or a ballot that should have been scanned for a different counting board—the problem ballot, and the several that were scanned by the high-speed machine after the problem was detected, will need to be re-scanned. At times, it will be most efficient to re-run several ballots, while at others, it will be more efficient to re-scan the entire batch. Id. To an untrained observer it may appear that the ballot is being counted twice, however, the election worker will have cancelled the appropriate count on the computer screen. Id. Any operator error in the process would be identified during the canvass. Id. If not, the number of voters at the absent voter counting board would be dramatically different than the number of counted votes, something which did not occur.
Detroit also included Michigan Third Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Timothy Kenny’s finding that Carone’s claims were “not credible” and were not substantiated by Republicans, Democrats or anyone else:
Ms. Carone was contracted by Dominion Voting Services to do IT work at the TCF Center for the November 3, 2020 election. Ms. Carone, a Republican, indicated that she “witnessed nothing but fraudulent actions take place” during her time at the TCF Center. Offering generalized statements, Ms. Carone described illegal activity that included, untrained counter tabulating machines that would get jammed four to five times per hour, as well as alleged cover up of loss of vast amounts of data. Ms. Carone indicated she reported her observations to the FBI.
Ms. Carone’s description of the events at the TCF Center does not square with any of the other affidavits. There are no other reports of lost data, or tabulating machines that jammed repeatedly every hour during the count. Neither Republican nor Democratic challengers nor city officials substantiate her version of events. The allegations simply are not credible.
On Nov. 11, Carone and Kallman went on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight for an interview.
This is a key witness for Trump’s voter fraud case.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) November 13, 2020
Carone, a Dominion Voter Systems contractor, went viral due to her SNL-like performance alongside Giuliani at a recent hearing in Michigan that will not soon be forgotten. SNL has already parodied Carone.
Holy smokes the sequel is even better!
Rudy Giuliani tries to shush her to calm her down and the Republican even tries to reel her in!
She treats this Republican* like he’s a Chick-fil-A employee and the milkshake machine went down.
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 3, 2020
After the hearing, people started digging deeper into Carone’s background.
“I wasn’t drunk [at the Michigan hearing],” Carone said in an interview with Inside Edition this week. “I would swear under oath that I wasn’t drunk. I was not drunk. I hardly never drink, ever.”
Carone also said she was “not concerned at all” about spending hours with Trump campaign attorneys Giuliani and Jenna Ellis in Michigan. Both tested positive for COVID-19. Carone said she would not quarantine.
Detroit asked the Supreme Court to deny Paxton’s motion for leave to file the complaint.
Aaron Keller contributed to this report.
[Image via CNN screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]