Rigged-election suits fail; Utah brothers undeterred, will appeal
Despite repeated setbacks in the federal courts, two Utah brothers say they are undaunted and will keep pursuing the removal from office of President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and members of Congress who endorsed the Jan. 6, 2021, Electoral College count.
Raland Brunson, of Ogden, and Loy Brunson, of Draper, allege that the 2020 election may have been rigged against then-President Donald Trump and that 385 members of Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence committed treason by not agreeing to investigate the claims.
Numerous court decisions elsewhere have failed to establish Trump’s claims that massive voter fraud occurred to deny his reelection, but 2022 political candidates and rank-and-file supporters such as the Brunsons continue to litigate and profess otherwise.
In court papers and on their website, the brothers do not directly argue that the presidential election was stolen; rather, they are focusing on their contention that the defendants’ failure to investigate the claims was treasonous and that all should be removed from office. Upon such removal, the “legal and rightful heir” to the presidency — presumably Trump, although the Brunsons’ suits do not name him — would then be sworn in.
But the Brunsons have suffered two major setbacks so far this year. The U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment on Monday to hear Raland Brunson’s October 2022 petition, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Cecilia Romero in Salt Lake City last week recommended dismissal of Loy Brunson’s nearly identical petition in the Utah U.S. District Court.
On their website, the brothers said they plan to file a petition for reconsideration with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Brunsons noted in their court claims that 100 members of Congress voted against Biden’s election when Congress approved the Electoral College vote in Biden’s favor. By not agreeing to investigate the rigged-election claims, the 385 senators and House members who went along with the electoral count were traitors and “enemies of the Constitution,” the Bunsons said. The suits also name as a defendant Pence, who, while presiding over the Senate, would not go along with Trump’s demand that he stop the electoral counting.
The officials who did not embrace “Stop the Steal” thereby enabled “a highly covert, swift and powerful enemy seeking to destroy the Constitution and the United States,” the Brunson petitions said.
The Brunsons sought $2.9 billion in damages, arguing that their individual petitions represent all other citizens whose rights allegedly were violated.
“These serious offenses need to be addressed immediately with the least amount of technical nuances of the law and legal procedures because these offenses are flowing continually against Brunson’s liberties and life and consequently is a continual national security breach,” Loy Brunson’s petition said.
In arguments against Loy Brunson’s case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Choate in Salt Lake City wrote in a July 1, 2022, filing that the brothers’ claims should be dismissed on various grounds, including under the Speech or Debate clause of the U.S. Constitution, which afforded participants in the Jan. 6 electoral count “absolute legislative immunity” against such claims.
“Just because a few members of Congress may have claimed there were improprieties in the election or that further investigation was proper, other members of Congress were under no duty to agree and Brunson has not adequately alleged a proper legal basis to compel further investigation to have been undertaken before defendants counted the electoral votes properly presented,” Choate’s filing said.
“The claims presented by (Loy) Brunson are implausible by their very nature, and the billions of dollars demanded, in addition to the other relief sought, show how frivolous the claims of Brunson are,” Choate wrote. “No court, to defendants’ knowledge, has ever recognized a cause of action against a member of Congress for the alleged failure to take legislative action to a constituent’s satisfaction.”
Phone messages to Raland and Loy Brunson were not immediately returned.
The Brunsons represented themselves in their cases. They said a third brother, Deron Brunson, helped them draft their litigation.
According to Ballotpedia, Loy Brunson unsuccessfully sought the Utah Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nomination in 2012, 2018 and 2022.