眾新聞 Logo
眾新聞 CitizenNews
眾說

Trump陣營的賓州訴訟一︰律師團隊請辭及原訴法院的判決


在上月,Trump陣營在大選關鍵州份賓夕法尼亞州(下稱「PA州」)的聯邦法院作出了選舉訴訟(Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., et al., v. Boockvar, et al. [4:20-CV-02078])。向法庭提出起訴書的幾天後,原告的代表律師所Porter Wright(美國一間相當規模的律師所)向法庭要求辭任作為Trump選舉官司的律師。幾天後,又有另外三名Trump陣營的私人律師向法庭提出辭呈。

訴訟中的律師若要請辭需向法庭動議申請批准。要求辭任的理由可以有很多,例如與其他客戶的利益衝突、律師與客戶間未能達成共識如何繼續訴訟、或律師認為其客戶的訴訟毫無理據只會構成騷擾而有違律師專業等。

總統特朗普的支持者一度要求重新點算費城的選票。美聯社

Porter Wright是由Trump團隊所聘請提出對PA州的選舉訴訟,該案聲稱PA州內的選舉存在不規則及舞弊。根據法庭文件,Trump團隊及Porter Wright雙方都同意後者的辭任會對原告最好。幾天後,剩下來代表Trump團隊的幾名律師也基於同一理由要求辭任。目前,接替成為Trump團隊的律師只剩下兩個︰本地小型律師行Scaringi & Scaringi PC,以及在Borat 2上大出風頭的Rudy Giuliani。有趣地,前者的律師Marc Scaringi在一星期前才在自己的網路電台中說「在我看來,不會有任何突發驚人的事去改變Biden成為總統,包括這些訴訟...訴訟並不會推翻選舉結果」(“In my opinion there really are no bombshells that are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency, including these lawsuits...At the end of the day, in my view, the litigation will not work. It will not reverse this election.”)。然後,一星期後,Trump就聘請他成為代表律師了。另外,另一間位於AZ州的大型律師所Snell & Wilmer也已向法庭要求辭任作為Trump在該地的選舉官司的律師。

而在Trump的訴訟工程中,最大型也最受爭議的律師所就是傳統老牌big law中的Jones Day。Jones Day在另一宗有關郵寄選票接受期限的訴訟中代表Trump陣營(該案涉及的是一項州議會決定的合憲性,並非選舉舞弊)。NY Times訪問了Jones Day的九名合夥人及律師,他們稱擔心幫助Trump作出沒有證據的主張會破壞美國選舉的正當性(“advancing arguments that lack evidence and may be helping Mr. Trump and his allies undermine the integrity of American elections”)。報導稱Porter Wright的內部會議中也有律師表達類似擔憂︰律師的專業乃建基於法治,何以能代表一名輕蔑法治的人?

需要注意的是,上述受訪律師並不必然是處理Trump選舉案的律師。由於律師在法庭批准辭任前仍然要保障其客戶的利益,所以在公開的法庭文件中也不會作出與客戶不利的解釋(但法官可進行in-camera review)。可是,在任何訴訟中,在呈交起訴書的僅僅幾天後就要求辭任是非常罕見的。

Jones Day稱將不會參與更多Trump的選舉案件,也作出公開聲明指目前代理的官司並沒有聲稱選舉舞弊。而合夥人之一Kevyn D. Orr則稱,沒有原則地在沒有證據下聲稱選舉舞弊的是外面的其他律師所,但似乎仍未能平伏Jones Day內部的不滿情緒。

律師有一個很有意思的term of art,叫officer of the court。律師都有專業責任去盡力代表其客戶的利益(zealous representation),所以任何基於一個人的立場而針對其律師的攻擊都是不應該的。但若律師認為專業道德及規條令他不得不辭任,則律師作為officer of the court亦有專業責任退出。

說回該案本身,法庭頒下該案裁決,不但撤銷了Trump團隊的訴訟,而且是很少見的dismissal with prejudice(撤銷且不得重新起訴)。

該案背景是Trump團隊及兩名公民(原告)在該案要求廢除PA州數以百萬計的選票。該兩名公民的郵寄選票沒有被計算,其中一人是因為他沒有把選票放在信封內的信封(郵寄選票是需要根據指示放在兩個信封內),而另一人的選票被拒絕的原因則不明。原告聲稱,PA州容許每個郡去自行決定是否採用notice-and-cure(也就是若郵寄選票有問題,有關部門會通知選民並讓其作出改正)的政策是違憲的,因為有些人可以憑此改正選票,有些人卻不可以。

法官的判決是,兩名公民原告的選票受到拒絕與被告(PA州務卿及各郡)根本沒有關係;原告向法庭作出的請求(廢除PA州選舉結果)並不構成原告所受損失(選票受到拒絕)的補償。換句話說,原告所要的補償根本不是要計算他們兩人的選票,而是想廢除六百八十萬人的投票權。另外,Trump團隊也沒有任何standing去作出起訴。法庭進一步解釋說,PA州容許每個郡自行決定是否採用notice-and-cure並非違憲,法庭也沒有權力去廢除任何一個人的選票、遑論數百萬人的選票。

法庭判詞的首段相當直接精采︰

In this action, the Trump Campaign and the Individual Plaintiffs (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) seek to discard millions of votes legally cast by Pennsylvanians from all corners – from Greene County to Pike County, and everywhere in between. In other words, Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated. One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens. That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more. At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Therefore, I grant Defendants’ motions and dismiss Plaintiffs’ action with prejudice.

法庭判決原文