The federal judge overseeing high profile attorney Sidney Powell’s election lawsuit in Georgia issued a temporary restraining order late Sunday night, declaring that election officials were barred from wiping or altering Dominion voting machines used in the November election.
The emergency order was the third issued in so many hours over Powell’s lawsuit seeking an emergency order to see “voting machines be seized and impounded immediately for forensic audit by plaintiffs’ experts.”
U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten Sr. overturned his first order when defendants argued that the machines were not in their possession, and that the relevant parties were not listed in the lawsuit.
“Plaintiffs’ request fails because the voting equipment that they seek to impound is in the possession of county election officials. Any injunction the court issues would extend only to defendants and those within their control, and plaintiffs have not demonstrated that county election officials are within defendants’ control,” the judge wrote. “Defendants cannot serve as a proxy for local election officials against whom the relief should be sought.”
Defendants listed in the case (pdf) were state election board members Chairman Brad Raffensperger, Vice Chair Rebecca Sullivan, David Worley, Matthew Mashburn, and Anh Le.
Then at 10:10 p.m., Batten again overturned his earlier order (pdf), and declared that defendants had until 5 p.m. Dec. 2 to respond against the new motion by plaintiffs seeking to allow their experts to perform forensic inspection of Dominion voting machines in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee counties.
The judge said that plaintiffs’ requests could be allowed by amending their complaint to add the election officials in the relevant counties.
The judge declared in the meantime that defendants are “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.”
He also ordered the board to “promptly produce to plaintiffs a copy of the contract between the state and Dominion.”
According to an affidavit from a GOP poll worker that was filed as part of the lawsuit, an election official had said on Nov. 25 that some ballot-counting machines were to be reset on Monday so they could be used in the full recount requested by the Trump campaign due to the less than half a percentage point margin between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. The deadline to complete the recount is midnight Dec. 2.
Upon seeing the message, the poll worker said they notified their supervisor because they were concerned about wiping the machines.
“I am seeing lots of notices from lawyers about possibly impounding the machines,” the poll worker wrote, according to the affidavit. “Lawyers are now saying that the machines should be confiscated immediately before this happens to protect forensic data. They are saying those machines need to be impounded ASAP. Yikes. Maybe I’m being overly paranoid but let’s be sure this is what we’re supposed to be doing.”
The supervisor responded: “It’s what we are supposed to do. It will take a court order to stop this process—so I guess we need to keep watching the news. If we get a court order to stop, we will see it in our SOS information.”
When the poll worker asked if the reset will wipe the forensic info from the machines, the manager said that “Atlanta already did it.”
Lin Wood, an attorney associated with the Trump campaign, said on Twitter: “Sidney Powell & I won, then lost, but ended up winning. We will never give up the pursuit of TRUTH to achieve justice.”
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.