Donald Trump's Pennsylvania lawsuit thrown out with a stern rebuke

Verdict leaves US president's hopes of an election miracle in tatters

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump listens during an event in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. A federal judge in Pennsylvania says he won’t stop officials from certifying election results that show Democrat Joe Biden winning the state by more than 80,000 votes. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 turned down the request by President Donald Trump’s campaign as it sought the state’s 20 electoral votes. Those votes still would not have been enough on their own to hand Trump a second term. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Donald Trump faced a new setback on Saturday in his desperate bid to overturn the US election as a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by his campaign that sought to throw out millions of mail-in votes in Pennsylvania.

US District Court Judge Matthew Brann ruled that Mr Trump's campaign had failed to demonstrate there had been widespread voting fraud in the November 3 election which the president lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

"This court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations," Brann wrote.

Judge Brann added that he "has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let alone millions of citizens".

The decision means the US election map remains as:

President's straw man blown out of court

The lawsuit, led by Mr Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, sought to stop officials from certifying Mr Biden's victory in the state, arguing that some counties wrongly allowed voters to fix errors on their mail ballots.

Mr Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following the ruling, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted:

The lawsuit is one of dozens filed by Mr Trump and his Republican allies after the election. They are also seeking to invalidate or change the results through recounts and direct pressure on lawmakers in several states.

The campaign has not provided evidence for its claims of widespread and co-ordinated electoral fraud.

In Michigan, Republicans on Saturday asked state authorities to wait to certify Mr Biden's victory for 14 days to allow for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, which includes the majority-black city of Detroit.

The certification is currently due to take place on Monday and attempts at a deferral effectively mark the Trump team's last chance to keep the race alive.

This video outlines the state of play:

A manual recount and audit in Georgia confirmed Mr Biden on Friday as the winner in the southern state, the first Democratic presidential candidate to win there in nearly three decades.

The Trump campaign now has two business days to request a recount in Georgia. Mr Trump's legal team has also said it plans a lawsuit in the state but has not provided specifics.

Accusations of chicanery from Mr Trump continue to inflame his Republican base.

Hundreds of supporters gathered at the statehouse in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday with one video posted online showing speakers denouncing the media for calling Mr Biden the election winner, as well as state Republican leaders for certifying the results.

Police in riot gear were sent to separate them from counter-protesters who gathered nearby.

The General Services Administration, run by an appointee of Mr Trump, has not recognised Mr Biden's victory, preventing his team from gaining access to government office space and funding normally provided to an incoming administration before Inauguration Day.

Critics say the delay and Mr Trump's refusal to concede have serious implications for national security and the fight against the coronavirus which has killed nearly 255,000 Americans.