Early voting will be allowed Saturday in Georgia’s runoff election for Senate after an appeals court rejected an argument that state law forbade it.
In a brief ruling Monday, the Georgia Court of Appeals declined a request from the state to halt a ruling made by a Fulton County judge Friday, which found voting on Saturday permissible. It is up to individual counties whether to actually offer early voting that day.
The runoff between Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, is on Dec. 6, and Georgia law requires five days of early voting from Monday, Nov. 28, through Friday, Dec. 2. Counties are allowed, but not required, to offer up to three additional days of early voting, and some — including Fulton County, which includes Atlanta and is a Democratic stronghold — planned to offer Saturday, Nov. 26.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, argued that early voting was not allowed that day under Georgia law, which bars it on the second Saturday before an election if the preceding Thursday or Friday are state holidays. Thursday is Thanksgiving, and Friday is a Georgia holiday that once honored Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general.
Warnock, the Democratic Party of Georgia, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sued, arguing that the restriction did not apply to runoffs. The courts agreed.
“This ruling is a victory for every Georgia voter, and we look forward to counties across the state providing voters the opportunity to cast their ballots on Saturday, Nov. 26,” the plaintiffs said in a joint statement from Warnock’s campaign manager, Quentin Fulks; the executive director of the DSCC, Christie Roberts; and the executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, Rebecca DeHart.
Raffensperger’s office indicated that he would accept the appeals court’s ruling.
“The court has worked its will,” said Mike Hassinger, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. “We believe this is something the General Assembly should consider clarifying to avoid confusion in the future. I hope that election workers are able to enjoy a somewhat restful holiday despite this decision.”
New York Times
Investors extend deadline for deal for Truth Social
Investors in the blank-check company that plans to merge with former president Donald Trump’s social media company have agreed to extend the deadline for closing the deal by nine months.
But the deal could lose its allure. The centerpiece of its company’s offering is Truth Social, a right-wing alternative to Twitter — and Twitter has now reinstated Trump’s account, giving him the option of returning.
Patrick Orlando, the main backer and CEO of Digital World Acquisition Corp., the so-called special purpose acquisition company, announced that shareholders had approved the extension during an online meeting Tuesday.
The shareholder extension keeps alive the potential for Trump Media & Technology Group to tap into the $300 million that Digital World raised from investors after its public listing some 14 months ago.
The extra time to complete the deal still doesn’t mean it is a certainty.
Federal prosecutors have been investigating potentially improper communications between representatives of the companies before Digital World’s listing last October and the unusual trading in Digital World securities before the merger announcement. The Securities and Exchange Commission is running its own investigation. Their findings could torpedo the merger.
New York Times
Trump reported losses on tax returns for years, accountant says
NEW YORK — Donald Trump reported losses on his tax returns every year for a decade, including nearly $700 million in 2009 and $200 million in 2010, his longtime accountant testified Tuesday, confirming long-held suspicions about the former president’s tax practices.
Donald Bender, a partner at Mazars USA LLP who spent years preparing Trump’s personal tax returns, said Trump’s reported losses from 2009 to 2018 included net operating losses from some of the many businesses he owns through his Trump Organization.
“There are losses for all these years,” said Bender, who was granted immunity to testify at the company’s criminal tax fraud trial in Manhattan.
The short exchange amounted to a rare public discussion of Trump’s taxes — which the Republican has fought to keep secret — even if there was no obvious connection to the case at hand.
A prosecutor, Susan Hoffinger, questioned Bender briefly about Trump’s taxes on cross examination, at one point showing him copies of Trump tax paperwork that the Manhattan district attorney’s office fought for three years to obtain, before moving on to other topics.
The Trump Organization, the holding company for Trump’s buildings, golf courses, and other assets, is charged with helping some top executives avoid income taxes on compensation they got in addition to their salaries, including rent-free apartments and luxury cars. If convicted, the company could be fined more than $1 million.
Trump is not charged in the case and is not expected to testify or attend the trial. The company’s former finance chief testified that he came up with the scheme on his own, without Trump or the Trump family knowing. Allen Weisselberg, testifying as part of a plea deal, said the company also benefited because it didn’t have to pay him as much in salary.
Bolsonaro aides seek advice from Trump’s inner circle
RIO DE JANEIRO — While tens of thousands of supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro camp outside military facilities across Brazil to protest his election loss, members of Bolsonaro’s inner circle are meeting with advisers to former president Donald Trump to discuss next steps.
Brazilian congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son, has visited Florida since the Oct. 30 vote, meeting Trump at Mar-a-Lago and strategizing with other political allies by phone. He spoke with former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who was in Arizona assisting the campaign of GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, about the power of the pro-Bolsonaro protests and potential challenges to the Brazilian election results, Bannon said. He lunched in South Florida with former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller, now CEO of the social media company Gettr, and discussed online censorship and free speech, Miller said.
Neither Trump nor Eduardo Bolsonaro responded to requests for comment.
Those conversations have mirrored debates unfolding in Brasília, where Bolsonaro’s supporters are discussing next steps for his populist conservative movement. That movement is facing a reckoning not unlike that of the American right after Trump’s 2020 loss over how to sustain itself when its charismatic standard-bearer has been defeated.