Trump cancels press conference on election fraud claims, citing attorneys’ advice

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BY JILL COLVIN

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump now says he won’t be holding a news conference next week to unveil what he claims is new “evidence” of fraud in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election — even though no fraud has ever been substantiated — citing the advice of lawyers as he prepares to face trial in two criminal cases that stem from his election lies.

No compelling evidence of the wide-scale fraud Trump alleges has emerged in the two-and-a-half years since the election in Georgia or elsewhere, despite Trump’s baseless claims. Republican officials in the state have long said he lost fairly and three recounts there confirmed President Joe Biden’s win.

“Rather than releasing the Report on the Rigged & Stolen Georgia 2020 Presidential Election on Monday, my lawyers would prefer putting this, I believe, Irrefutable & Overwhelming evidence of Election Fraud & Irregularities in formal Legal Filings as we fight to dismiss this disgraceful Indictment,” Trump wrote on his social media site Thursday in announcing his reversal.

Trump had announced that he would be holding the event hours after a Georgia grand jury voted to charge him and others late Monday in what they allege was a sweeping conspiracy to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election and stop the peaceful transition of power.

He had said he would use the “major News Conference” at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club Monday morning to release what he claimed was an “almost complete” report that would exonerate him.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence that the election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges Trump appointed.

In Georgia, the state at the center of his latest indictment, three recounts were conducted after the election — each of which confirmed his loss to Biden.

Advisers have long urged the former president to spend less time airing his grievances about the 2020 election as he runs for reelection and more time focused on his plans for the future. While such rhetoric animates his loyal base, it alienates more moderate and independent voters and is also often criticized in interviews by longtime Trump supporters, who say they feel it’s time to move on.

But the cases against him have dramatically raised the stakes. The federal judge overseeing the election conspiracy case brought against Trump in Washington last week warned him that there are limits to what he can publicly say about evidence in the investigation as he campaigns for a second term in the White House.

The judge said that the more “inflammatory” statements are made about the case, the greater her urgency will be to move quickly to trial to prevent witness intimidation or jury pool contamination.

“I will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the integrity of the case,” she said.

Still, Trump has made clear that he sees the cases brought against him in Georgia and Washington as an opportunity to try to relitigate his false claims.

Trump’s renewed attacks on the integrity of Georgia’s vote this week drew swift criticism from state’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump had tried to lobby as part of his efforts to overturn his loss in the battleground state.

“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen. For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law,” Kemp wrote on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump had tried to pressure to unilaterally overturn the results of the election and who is now challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, echoed that message.

“The Georgia election was not stolen and I had no right to overturn the election on January 6th,” he said this week.

Trump, the first former president in U.S. history to be indicted, is also facing criminal charges in Florida over his handling of classified documents and his alleged efforts to obstruct the investigation, as well as in New York in connection to hush money payments made to women during his 2016 campaign.

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