CLAYTON — About 30 people organized by protest group Resist STL gathered Friday outside a downtown Clayton law firm’s office to call attention to its lawyers’ pursuit of claims of election fraud on behalf of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
“They’re filing frivolous lawsuits in Michigan, specifically targeting Detroit, which is a predominantly Black district in Michigan, and they’re applying racist voter suppression strategies to try to steal the election,” Resist STL organizer Alex Cohen said.
The demonstration outside True North Law featured music played from a loudspeaker, including the 2016 protest song “FDT” by the rap artists YG and Nipsey Hussle. Several motorists on Hanley Road honked at two protesters holding a sheet painted with the words: “True North Law helping a Trump Coup.”
One of the firm’s lawyers, Mark “Thor” Hearne, represented Trump’s campaign and GOP election challengers in a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Michigan claiming that election officials in Wayne County refused to let GOP challengers observe ballot processing and pre-dated ballots that were ineligible to be counted.
Hearne withdrew the suit on Thursday after the Wayne County board of canvassers deadlocked on a decision to certify the election results, due to its Republican members refusing to certify Joe Biden’s victory. The board reversed its decision after an outcry from voters and Michigan officials who said it was a naked attempt to disenfranchise mostly Black voters in the county, which includes Detroit. Two GOP members later tried to change their votes again.
The process now moves to the state canvassing board with a deadline of Monday to finalize the results. Meanwhile, the president invited Republican state lawmakers to Washington in an attempt to convince them to set aside the vote. The lawmakers met with Trump on Friday and said they learned nothing that would change the outcome of the election.
Democrat Joe Biden won Wayne County by nearly 323,000 votes, but won the state by 154,000.
In an interview, Hearne disagreed the suit was frivolous or had any racist intent. “There’s hundreds of affidavits of people attesting … that what they physically observed was in fact not a lawful count. And also there were observers that were excluded from the counting or from observing the process.”
Hearne’s fraud claims in a different Michigan lawsuit were all rejected this month by Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens, who called one “inadmissible hearsay within hearsay.”
Hearne said the protesters outside his office “don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s just ignorance.”
He defended his record, which included representing the GOP in a dispute over St. Louis County Council redistricting in 2002. He noted that Elbert Walton Jr., then a lawyer for the NAACP, had credited the GOP for helping making two of the council districts majority Black.
Resist STL’s Cohen said it was an attempt by Trump’s campaign to try to steal the election. “True North is one of the very few law firms in the country that has remained on to this dying strategy,” he said. “And we believe it’s because they’ve largely gone unnoticed. So we’re here to change that.”