BELLAIRE — A judge dismissed an election related lawsuit nearly three weeks ago, yet legal squabbling between the parties has necessitated a newly scheduled motion hearing.
In mid-May, 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer dismissed a case filed against Antrim County by a local man, who argued his constitutional rights were violated after mistakes were found in initial results of the county’s 2020 presidential election.
Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy acknowledged temporary errors by her office and said results were corrected and accurate before being certified.
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Elsenheimer had allowed Bill Bailey of Central Lake Township to have a team from Dallas-based Allied Security Operations Group on Dec. 6 conduct a forensic exam of the county’s Dominion Voting Systems equipment.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, an intervening defendant in the case, directed Bureau of Elections staff on Dec. 17 to conduct a hand re-count of ballots cast in the county’s presidential election which found no fraud.
Elsenheimer noted both these events when ruling May 18 that Bailey had already received all the relief he was entitled to under the law and he was dismissing the case.
“I am saying that, as pled, the plaintiff’s request for an audit is not available,” Elsenheimer said in his oral decision. “Anticipating the possibility of appeal, this court will take all pending motions under advisement.”
The judge stayed —or, suspended — all discovery matters pending a possible appeal by Bailey’s attorney, Matthew DePerno of Portage.
That’s where the latest squabbling over court documents comes in.
Elsenheimer assigned DePerno to draft and submit a proposed order on the stay, which he did May 25.
Attorneys for Antrim County and Benson had seven days to object, which they did June 1.
At issue is whether the judge stayed “all matters” or whether it was only unresolved motions on hiatus until an appeal is filed or the deadline for filing passes.
“Plaintiff’s proposed order is not accurate,” Assistant Attorney General Erik Grill wrote, on behalf of Benson, in a brief filed in support of his objection to DePerno’s order.
“The Court had stated that ‘all matters’ would be stayed — including discovery. But the Plaintiff’s proposed order stays only unresolved motions and would not stay discovery or any other matters.”
At stake is more than the wording of a legal document — if discovery is not stayed, the state is responsible for conducting depositions of Bailey’s experts, some of whom are located in Texas and Colorado.
A motion hearing for the judge to hear arguments on the order is scheduled July 12.