Lawsuit Reveals Mastriano’s Stunning Post-2020 Actions
Defamation Lawsuit Sheds Light on GOP Politics and 2020 Election Results
A defamation lawsuit filed by state Sen. Dan Laughlin has brought new insights into GOP politics at local, state, and national levels, including efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The lawsuit, filed against the Erie County Democratic Party and an alternative newspaper Laughlin writes for, has led to the discovery of a previously unreleased email sent by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump.
Unearthing a Previously Unreleased Email
The email, sent by Mastriano on December 14, 2020, touts a bogus report about Dominion Voting machines in Michigan and indicates his role in attempting to flip Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes to Trump. This email was obtained during legal discovery in the Laughlin lawsuit and provides a snapshot of Mastriano’s involvement between the November 3, 2020, general election and the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
Dec. 14, 2020: A Key Day
December 14, 2020, was the same day slates of electors for the Electoral College met in their state capitals to certify election results, which gave then-candidate Joe Biden enough votes to unseat Trump. Earlier that day, a judge in Michigan had allowed pro-Trump plaintiffs in an election fraud lawsuit to release a report about Dominion voting machines publicly.
Trump’s Inner Circle and Legal Concerns
As The Inquirer reported, Mastriano apparently had reservations about one of the ideas being discussed by Trump’s inner circle, based on emails previously obtained by The New York Times. The idea of presenting alternate slates of pro-Trump electors when Congress met on January 6, 2021, in order to block or stall its certification of the vote raised legal concerns among some Trump backers behind the scenes.
Direct Communication with Trump
Although it is unclear if a call between Mastriano and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ever took place, the newly discovered email suggests that Mastriano was in direct communication with Trump himself. However, Vice President Mike Pence, the intended recipient of the fake-elector slates, rejected Trump’s pleas to insert himself into the January 6, 2021, proceedings on the grounds that the vice president’s role has been traditionally ministerial.
Lawsuit’s Origins and the Erie Reader
Laughlin’s lawsuit was filed in August against Jim Wertz, the chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party, and the Erie Reader, which published Wertz’s opinion piece on July 14, 2022. Both Laughlin and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly were infuriated by Wertz’s article and demanded that the Erie Reader remove the op-ed from its website and print an apology. However, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, defending Wertz and the Erie Reader, rejected their request and stated that Wertz’s commentary is protected speech under the First Amendment.
Discovery Material and Relationship Between Laughlin and Kelly
The discovery material, including depositions, has shed light on the relationship between Kelly, a staunch Trump supporter who has spread false claims about the 2020 election, and Laughlin, a self-proclaimed moderate whose 49th District Senate seat will be targeted by Democrats and possibly Republicans in 2024. Laughlin is seeking $2 million in damages, claiming that Wertz’s opinion piece has cost him both personally and politically.
Laughlin’s Approach to Trump in 2020
Laughlin refused to get involved in efforts to overturn the last presidential election, citing his own internal polling, which showed Trump garnering less support than Laughlin and other down-ballot Republicans during the 2020 cycle. After the Republicans’ lackluster showing during the 2022 midterms, Laughlin publicly blamed Trump for the performance and called on the GOP to move on from him.
More Witnesses to Be Deposed
According to Paula Knudsen Burke, a lawyer for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, more witnesses will be deposed in the coming months, including Laughlin. She stated, “There’s a lot of discovery still to go.”
Story at www.goerie.com – 2023-06-26 09:09:35
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