An election worker in Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit claiming that former President Donald Trump’s election team’s accusations that he manipulated vote totals led to him receiving death threats and having multiple heart attacks.
James Savage was a voting machine custodian in Delaware County, one of the largest counties in Pennsylvania and a crucial one for flipping the state to President Joe Biden in 2020, four years after Trump won there.
Savage’s lawsuit, which was first reported by Law360, says that Trump, lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, and others made “deliberate, malicious, and defamatory statements and insinuations” accusing him of uploading 50,000 votes for Biden using USB drives. He’s suing for defamation, civil conspiracy, and false light invasion of privacy, lawyer Conor Corcoran told the Washington Post, and seeking more than $50,000 in damages for “severe emotional, physical, and/or psychological harm.”
During a hearing convened by Republicans in Gettysburg last November, for example, GOP poll-watcher Gregory Stenstrom (who is also named in the lawsuit) described Savage as a “Bernie Sanders delegate who was also solely responsible for every scanner, machine, v-card, and all machines with absolutely zero experience in this area.”
“I personally observed USB v-cards being uploaded to the voting machines by the voting machine warehouse supervisor on multiple occasions. “I saw this personally,” Stenstrom said during the hearing. He also said it happened “over 24 times.”
Trump himself tweeted on Nov. 27, 2020, referencing Stenstrom’s allegations against Savage. “BIG NEWS: Pennsylvania Poll Watcher: USB Drives uploaded to machines, gave Biden thousands of votes,” Trump said in a tweet that was shared more than 73,000 times. “Says 47 USB Drives are now missing. EVERY UPLOAD GAVE BIDEN 50,000 VOTES. @OANN”
The filing says that because of the campaign’s claims, Savage’s character was “assassinated at a national level,” and that the stress resulted in him making two separate trips to the hospital for heart attacks.
“The consequences of what happened here were dire and deadly,” lawyer Conor Corcoran told the Washington Post.
While Savage was not named in many of the false claims made by the Trump election team, the lawsuit says it was clear “they were referring to Mr. Savage, because he was the only Chief Custodian/Voting Machine Warehouse Supervisor position in Delaware County.”
“All defendants herein knew that such fraud was impossible,” Savage’s lawsuit alleges.
As has been the case for other election officials and workers in jurisdictions targeted by the Trump campaign, Savage was also subjected to death threats, the lawsuit said.
“As a result of the Defendants’ knowingly false statements, Mr. Savage and his family have been the target of threats and intimidation, including at his place of work and/or his home,” the filing said.
“Indeed, less than a week before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, the plaintiff was accosted at his work by two men without credentials asserting that they wanted to search his work and were there on behalf of ‘the voters.’”
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