(CBS DETROIT) – A new legal battle is brewing in the federal courts. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is filing a lawsuit against President Donald trump on behalf of Black voters in Detroit.
The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and three Detroit residents are accusing the president of attempting to disenfranchise Black voters and repeating false claims of voter fraud in the city.
Votes in Wayne county came into question following a split vote by the Wayne county board of canvassers.
The body didn't initially agree to certify the election due to concerns of out-of-balance precincts in Detroit.
"And the only reason that the allegations are sort of having any kind of resonance is because they are pressed on this very pernicious and very dangerous stereotype that somehow Black people are not full citizens and that their votes should not be fully counted in the process," said Samuel Spital, NAACP LDF Director Of Litigation.
The lawsuit claims both the president and his campaign violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by pressuring local and state officials to not certify votes through intimidation.
"The idea of voting is defined very broadly in the voting rights at so it's not just about casting a ballot it's about anything that's necessary for the ballot to be counted and so what we saw in Michigan was a concerted effort by president Trump, by the Trump campaign to engage in very irregular contacts that certainly appeared to be pressuring state and local officials not to certify votes in Detroit and Wayne County," said Spital.
The lawsuit was filed days after two Republican Wayne County canvassers voted to not certify the election before reversing the decision then doubling down on it a day later.
"The president of the United States who is also one of the candidates at issue is personally calling county canvassers and after that phone call they then provided affidavits to his campaign saying actually we want to go back on it. So, there was all of that and then the other aspect that was quite troubling was that president Trump summoned the leaders of the state legislature to meet with him personally in Washington in connection with all these events," said Spital.
CW50 reached out to the Trump campaign for a response to the allegations made in the lawsuit and are still waiting to hear back.
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