Stenstrom And Leah Will Use Truth Defense In Election Defamation Suit –Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Michael E. Erdos is considering a request by President Donald Trump’s attorneys for a stay in the defamation suit filed against him by former Delaware County, Pa. Voting Machine Warehouse supervisor James Savage.
Trump has implied that Savage was involved in rigging the 2020 election.
The hearing was, today, Nov. 17, in Courtroom 650 in City Hall.
Attorney Mike Madaio said the stay was needed to protect the President’s 5th Amendment rights in the criminal trials he is facing.
Granting the stay would likely mean separating the case from his co-defendants former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Delaware County poll watchers Greg Stenstrom and Leah Hoopes, which would mean two trials.
It had been incorrectly reported that the President was dropped from the case. Judge Erdos did rule, though, that things Trump said about the Nov. 25, 2020 legislative hearing in Gettysburg, along with a tweet, couldn’t be used against him due to presidential immunity.
Granted that is much of the case.
Concerning Giuliani, Erdos ruled that because he failed respond to discovery requests from plaintiff attorney Conor Corcoran, he would be restricted in his challenges to evidence Corcoran introduces.
The most interesting part of the hearing was Stenstrom’s statement that he would rely on a truth defense. Truth is an absolute defense in defamation matters albeit it is one of the few things that it is up to the defendant to prove.
Strenstrom also read his work history which included a cyber intelligence command in the Navy, and projects with the FBI, CIA and local law enforcement. He noted that he was instrumental in forcing the resignations of a Camden, N.J. mayor and Philadelphia School Superintendent Ann Ackerman.
Stenstrom did ask for the case to be summarily dismissed because Corcoran failed to supply adequate material evidence in suit, which is a requirement in Pennsylvania law.
Stenstrom said the only material evidence presented by Corcoran was a photograph that appeared to show him sleeping during ballot counting. If Stenstrom had fallen asleep it would have meant he could have missed some of the things he said didn’t happen.
Stenstrom said Corcoran refused to provide a time and place as to when the photo was taken, and that the photo had been scrubbed of meta-data providing the information. Most damningly for Corcoran, he displayed the identification and lanyard from the photo and pointedly noted that it was from the 2022 election.
Why would Corcoran imply it was from 2020?
Feel free to surmise.
Ms. Hoopes was chastised at the start of the trial by the judge for a video that appeared on the web in which she called Corcoran some nasty names. Erdos said that even though she and Stenstrom are representing themselves they will be held to the same standards of attorneys with regard to decorum.
At the appropriate moment, she gave a blistering response noting several things Corcoran falsely said about her including calling her a terrorist and attacking her religion.
She said she had never been arrested, unlike Savage, and had never had a shady business partner, unlike Savage, who owned property with former State Rep. Margo Davidson.
Erdos agreed that Corcoran crossed the line several times and gave him the same warning he gave Ms. Hoopes.
Ms. Hoopes said Savage’s ex-wife is willing to testify to rebut Leslie Lebowitz an expert witness for Savage. Ms. Lebowitz was a key witness in a defamation suit against Trump.
She refuted Savage’s claims that they caused his heart attack by making him fearful and stressed by pointing out that he was seen protesting in Virginia outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
The trail is expected before summer, although whether The Donald will be a participant remains a question.