LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Documents filed in federal court by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. cite the investigation into nine discarded military ballots in Luzerne County among the reasons the court should block certification of the 2020 General Election on a “Commonwealth-wide basis.”
In September, Eyewitness News told you about a federal investigation into nine discarded military mail-in ballots in Luzerne County. Findings by U.S. Attorney David Freed’s office revealed that the nine ballots were thrown away during the time of a seasonal worker’s employment between the dates of September 14-16. That staffer is no longer employed with the county and Luzerne County Manager David Pedri said the discarded ballots would be counted.
Freed sent a letter to Luzerne County Director of Elections Shelby Watchilla on September 24 saying staff at the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections did not follow proper procedure in handling mail-in ballots. Additionally, the letter said, “This issue was a problem in the primary election — therefore a known issue — and that problem has not been corrected.”
The Trump Campaign’s filing in the Middle District of Pennsylvania references U.S. Attorney David Freed’s Luzerne County investigation, incorrectly calling it an example of “mail-in ballot fraud.”
In fact, no accusation of fraud has been made in the case despite ongoing investigations by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office. However, federal investigators did identify issues with protocol for handling mail-in ballots and recommended Luzerne County correct them – even meeting with county officials in October to review their findings.
This week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr authorized federal prosecutors across the U.S. to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities, if they exist, before the 2020 presidential election is certified, despite no evidence of widespread fraud. Eyewitness News reached out to Freed’s office for a response to the Attorney General’s authorization, but no comment was given.
The Luzerne County investigation is referenced as part of an 86-page complaint that asks the Middle District of Pennsylvania to block multiple counties and Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathryn Boockvar from certifying the results of the election. It should be noted that Luzerne County, a county that Trump won, is not named as a defendant in the complaint.
The Trump Campaign has posted the full complaint on its website. Eyewitness News has obtained an independent copy from the federal court filing in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Count on Eyewitness News to be there as the parties head to court on November 17.