“Want evidence of fraud. In 70% of Wayne County, Detroit, there were PHANTOM VOTERS. There were more votes than registered voters. 120%, 150%, 200%, even 300%.”

— Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, in a tweet on Nov. 22

Want evidence that the Trump legal team is not serious? When the top lawyer tweets out information that has already been thoroughly debunked, even in the conservative media.

The Facts

During Giuliani’s news conference on Thursday, he made similar claims about overvotes, which he said signaled many people voted twice.

“The overvote was so high, monstrously high in about two-thirds of the precincts in the city of Detroit, which means, magically, two and three times the number of registered voters turned out to vote,” he declared. “In fact, we have precincts in which two times the number of people who live there, including children, voted. That’s absurd.”

But the next day, Power Line, a conservative website, pointed out something very odd about the affidavit that made this claim. (It had been filed in a Georgia court case that has since been dismissed by a federal judge.) Under a blog post titled “Do Trump’s lawyers know what they are doing?” Power Line pointed out that the precincts that were listed in the affidavit were from Minnesota, not Michigan.

Someone had apparently mixed up two states that started with “Mi.” The precincts were not in Wayne County but in some of the reddest parts of Minnesota — Trump country.

That’s a pretty big error — one that the lawyer who filed the affidavit, L. Lin Wood, acknowledged in an email to PolitiFact. “We are imperfect,” he said.

Our colleague Aaron Blake further dug into the data and found that even in those Minnesota precincts, the data in the affidavit was off. Minnesota has same-day registration and very high turnout rates. Blake determined that the number of voters matched the number of votes cast. He speculated that the affidavit might have been relying upon incomplete “estimated voters” data from the Minnesota secretary of state in the days after the election.

Okay, that’s a second big error.

Finally, the affidavit has a quote from a Princeton University professor raising concerns about a particular type of Dominion voting machine, suggesting this was what was used in Wayne County. But Blake confirmed that the counties in Minnesota in question did not use Dominion machines. And Andrew Appel, the Princeton professor, wrote that Michigan also does not use the machine he warned about — and, in fact, uses paper ballots.

“The best solution is to use paper ballots, marked by hand, counted by computers, and recountable by hand,” Appel said. “Those computers might be hacked, but the ballots personally marked by the voters are the same pieces of paper that can be recounted by humans. That’s what Michigan does, along with more than 40 other states. That is the state-of-the-art most-secure-known way of conducting elections.”

So that’s the third big error.

And yet here is Giuliani, two days later, still touting the same bogus information, even after these embarrassing facts came to light. He did not respond to a request for comment (though he indicated with a “like” that he had received our text message).

The Pinocchio Test

The slapdash legal effort on behalf of the president is exemplified in this instance. Wild claims about Michigan were based on (1) a mix-up of two states, Michigan and Minnesota, (2) a misunderstanding of “estimated votes” and (3) a misidentification of voting machines used in Wayne County. Yet even after this comedy of errors was exposed, the president’s chief legal advocate shamefully continues to tout this fraudulent claim as “evidence” to more than 1 million followers on Twitter.

Giuliani apparently has given up on being a lawyer and turned to writing fiction. He earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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