WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Thursday morning a Pennsylvania appellate court granted the Trump campaign the right to observe ballot counters in Philadelphia after campaign officials said they were prevented from overseeing the process.
Later in the afternoon, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski told reporters that the city was in defiance of the court order and observers were still being shut out. They announced they were filing a complaint in federal court seeking immediate injunctive relief to stop the counting of ballots.
The order allowed the president's reelection campaign to immediately begin watching election workers count votes from 6 feet away, in accordance with public health rules.
"They are still not being compliant," Bondi said. She claimed that barriers were moved close to election counting but ballot machines were moved further back to prevent observers from monitoring.
Lewandowksi said the city had eight attorneys fighting to block the order. "The court order is in effect, they will not give us access and the sheriff has decided not to come down here to enforce that court order."
As of 5 p.m. EST, President Donald Trump was ahead in Pennsylvania by roughly 97,000 votes. Election officials said there were still more than 340,000 votes left to count, including 92,000 in Philadelphia County.
After the court ruling early in the day, the campaign celebrated the victory and was eager to move into a Philadelphia vote-counting facility with a team of 15 election observers waiting to enter the vote-counting facility.
"This is very important because, as you know, they have kept us away," Bondi said. Trump campaign officials complained that they were blocked by a barricade and security officers from entering the room where ballots were being tallied or allowed in the room at a 50 to 100-foot distance.
President Donald Trump described the appellate court ruling as a "big legal win."
The campaign will have one person behind every vote-counter, Lewandowski said. Democrats are expected to try to appeal the ruling.
Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller told reporters in a press call that the campaign is expecting to take additional legal action to ensure its observers can look back at all the votes counted before the Thursday ruling. Miller added that the campaign was "very confident that we will be winning Pennsylvania."
The Trump lawsuit led to a temporary pause in vote-counting in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf denounced the "planned attacks on our election" and called on the state to "reject efforts to intimidate election workers and prevent votes from being counted."
The Trump campaign lost an earlier appeal to a Pennsylvania court complaining one of its observers was not allowed to read the writing on a mail-in ballot. A judge struck down the complaint saying that the individual's role was to observe, not audit.