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Democracy

A lawyer explains why Trump's legal case falls flat in an entertainingly informative Tik Tok

A lawyer explains why Trump's legal case falls flat in an entertainingly informative Tik Tok

Welp. Here we are, America. Exactly where millions of us expected we would be if President Donald J. Trump didn't the win an election that he wanted, expected, and thought he was entitled to win. His refusal to concede, alleging fraud and cheating without any solid evidence, is not the least bit surprising. Heck, he told us himself that it was coming. If he lost, this was the plan all along—deny the results, claim fraud, and don't back down.

That doesn't change the fact that it's effing insane, of course, and the fact that we're sitting here watching a sitting president undermine a free election in America should be deeply concerning to every American.

Instead, we have arguments like this:

"But what about all the fraud and the stealing and the..." NO. No thank you to all of that. These are the deluded musings of a malignant narcissist who is literally incapable of admitting defeat and should not be entertained or enabled.

"But don't you care about having a fair election, with legal votes counted and illegal votes not counted?" Yes, of course. The idea that we should only count legal votes and throw out illegal votes is not some great epiphany that needs to be stated—that's literally just an election. Our states' voting systems are set up with checks and safeguards and fail-safes to make sure that that's what happens, and those system generally work as they should.

That being said, there are always some irregularities and tallying issues that pop up in every election, which is why we have processes in place to check for them. We just don't usually put a microscope-of-doubt on the process as it chugs along. That microscope has resulted in people seeing only bits and pieces of the process, which leads to erroneous assumptions at best and baseless accusations at worst. And when those assumptions and accusations are broadcast from the supposed leader of the free world, it leads to chaos, confusion, and crisis of democracy.


This is where we are. Good times.

The one thing we should all agree on is that a candidate does have the right to legal challenges if they truly do see issues that aren't being caught by the normal process. If Trump wants to throw his or his supporters' money at lawsuits, more power to him. But those lawsuits have to have actual evidence to back them, as attorney Joanne Molinaro pointed out in a viral TikTok video this weekend.

Most of us who aren't lawyers yawn at legalese, but Molinaro's entertaining and informative explanation of how this actually works is fabulous.

"Let's talk about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure!" Molinaro begins. "First, Rule 8 and the Supreme Court requires that all complaints include FACTS, not legal conclusions. Next, let's talk about Rule 9(b), which says that fraud complaints are SPECIAL! In order to survive dismissal, a fraud complaint needs to allege who did the fraud, the date and time they did the fraud, where they did the fraud, and how they did the fraud. So general allegations like 'how could he get that many votes when no one came to his rallies?' is just not gonna cut it, honey. It also has to allege damages, i.e., enough votes were affected that it would actually change the results."

"And finally I bring to you my favorite rule!" she continued. "Under Rule 11, when you file a complaint you are making a representation to the court that the facts contained in your complaint actually have evidentiary support. If a complaint doesn't have evidentiary support or if it's unlikely to lead to evidentiary support, it will not only be thrown out, you'll be subject to sanctions!"

While holding a piece of her hair, which might just be the best part of the video, Molinaro explained, "While it's true that Rule 11 rarely gets enforced, when a lawyer starts talking 'But Rule 11??' what they're actually trying to say is that the complaint is full of sh*t."

A lack of evidentiary support is why Trump's lawsuits so far haven't gone anywhere. Many have been dismissed outright, in fact. And today The Wall Street Journal reported that the 28-member delegation of international observers invited by the Trump administration has given high marks to the way last week's elections were conducted and is criticizing President Trump for his baseless allegations of systematic fraud.

Again, the notion that the outcome of the election is illegitimate is nothing but the rantings of a man who can't handle losing and the sycophantic enablers who enjoy the power they receive in his orbit. Unfortunately, that man is the president of the United States and his words and behavior matter.

Thankfully, that won't be the case for much longer.

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