Rudy Giuliani led a bizarre string of testimony at an hourslong hearing in Michigan on Wednesday night, bringing forward a number of so-called witnesses who made brazen, and at times incoherent, claims of widespread voter fraud in the state that supposedly led to President Donald Trump’s election defeat.
The claims were baseless.
Trump and his campaign have refused to admit that he lost the election, even as federal agencies begin the transition to a new administration, instead blaming a nationwide voter fraud conspiracy for the president’s decisive loss. In the weeks since the election ended, Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer leading the charge on the campaign’s numerous court challenges, has trotted out a cadre of characters in an effort to prove that widespread fraud occurred in the election. His efforts have been mocked by the internet and dismissed by courts and election officials alike.
At the Michigan House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday evening, Giuliani made similarly outrageous arguments, insisting without evidence that the election was stolen, questioning witnesses he brought to the hearing, and insulting lawmakers.
Neither Giuliani nor Jenna Ellis, another member of Trump’s legal team, was sworn in for the hearing, and Giuliani at times repeated that he was not speaking under oath, meaning he had no legal obligation to tell the truth.
Giuliani also appeared to fart several times during a particularly contentious back-and-forth with a Democratic representative.
Among the witnesses brought forward by the campaign was Mellissa Carone, who said she was at a ballot-counting center in Detroit as a contractor for Dominion Voting Systems, a company that supplies ballot-counting technology that Trump has baselessly accused of deleting votes for him.
Carone claimed she saw election officials tabulate more than 30,000 votes multiple times, and did not see a single vote for Trump in the 27 hours that she was there. She has been billed as a star witness in the campaign’s court challenges, and her affidavit was included in a campaign lawsuit to stop Michigan from certifying the election results.
That lawsuit was rejected on Nov. 13 by Chief Judge Timothy Kenny of Wayne County’s 3rd Judicial Circuit Court, who wrote in his ruling that the plaintiffs’ “interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible.”
The judge noted that Carone’s description of what happened at TCF Center, the vote-counting building in Detroit, “does not square with any of the other affidavits.”
“There are no other reports of lost data, or tabulating machines that jammed repeatedly every hour during the count,” he wrote. “Neither Republican nor Democratic challengers nor city officials substantiate her version of events. The allegations are simply not credible.”
Snippets of Carone’s rambling and slurred testimony were shared widely on the internet on Wednesday night, alongside many comparisons to Saturday Night Live characters.
At one point during her testimony, Giuliani appeared to lean over to tell her to stop.
Giuliani did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ questions about Carone’s testimony or the sounds of flatulence.
Carone also said that she has received threats because of her claims about voter fraud, and that she has had to change her phone number and take down her social media accounts.
However, despite that assertion, a number of social media profiles that appear to belong to Carone remained online as of Thursday afternoon, including a Facebook profile that has posted a number of pro-Trump articles about the election and derogatory comments about Biden.
The account shared photos of Carone and Giuliani as recently as Wednesday afternoon, before the hearing started, and the page also highlights Carone’s various appearances on conservative media outlets.
According to her Facebook posts, Carone also attended a “stop the steal” rally in November.
Ellie Hall contributed reporting.