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A federal judge has barred Georgia officials from clearing or tampering with results on voting machines in three counties as a result of a lawsuit filed by attorney Sidney Powell.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten Sr. issued a four-page order late Sunday temporarily blocking officials in Cherokee, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties from resetting Dominion Election Systems voting machines. Powell filed a lawsuit last week pushing for independent forensic investigators to get access to the machines. The judge gave the state until Dec. 2 to respond to his order with any arguments against allowing the inspections.
“Defendants are hereby ENJOINED and RESTRAINED from altering, destroying, or erasing, or allowing the alteration, destruction, or erasure of, any software or data on any Dominion voting machine in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee Counties,” the order says. “This temporary restraining order shall remain in effect for ten days, or until further order of the Court, whichever comes first.”
Batten also ordered the defendants, which include Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and state Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to turn over a copy of the contract between Georgia and Dominion Election Systems for the software company to provide the machines for the state’s election.
In an additional order issued on Monday morning, the judge allowed defendants to immediately appeal the case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals if they wish.
Powell has alleged that Dominion’s “foreign ties allowed hostile governments to meddle in the U.S. election via a conspiracy that involved both Democratic and Republican U.S. officials,” according to Politico.
Earlier on Sunday, a recount in Georgia requested by the Trump campaign was forced to halt temporarily in Fulton County after a Dominion mobile server crashed. Trump’s campaign requested the recount on Nov. 21, the day after Raffensperger had certified Georgia’s election results for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden following an initial recount of ballots. Biden is currently leading Trump in the state by more than 12,000 votes.
“Technicians from Dominion have been dispatched to resolve the issue,” Fulton County election officials said in a statement. “The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has also been alerted to the issue and is aware of efforts to resolve the problem.”
The Trump campaign requested the additional recount in the state alleging that Georgia had certified “false results” and that election officials needed to audit the signatures of voters placed on mail-in ballots.
“The Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia. We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia State Law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted,” the Trump campaign legal team said in a statement.
“President Trump and his campaign continue to insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards. Without signature matching, this recount would be a sham and again allow for illegal votes to be counted,” the statement continued. “If there is no signature matching, this would be as phony as the initial vote count and recount. Let’s stop giving the People false results. There must be a time when we stop counting illegal ballots. Hopefully it is coming soon.”
Mainstream media outlets have projected Biden to win 306 electoral votes, including Georgia’s 16, when the Electoral College votes on Dec. 14.