Federal judge denies "political stunt" by Colorado electors

The electors had sought the right to vote for someone other than Clinton in order to unite behind a consensus Republican other than Trump when the Electoral College convenes on December 19.

A federal judge dealt a severe setback Monday to a longshot plan to deny Donald Trump the presidency through the Electoral College, refusing to suspend a Colorado law requiring the state's nine electors to vote for the presidential candidate who won the state in November.

More than a dozen Democratic members of the Electoral College have joined calls for an intelligence briefing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election before casting their votes for president next week.

A federal judge on Monday rejected an attempt by two Colorado electors to unbind their votes in the Electoral College, saying the effort created to impede Donald Trump's path to the White House is "a political stunt".

Trump lost the national popular vote by about 2.6 million votes but won enough states to give him 306 Electoral College votes. So far only one Republican elector has announced he won't vote for Trump. "This is very serious stuff", attorney Christopher Murray, who also represented the Colorado Republican Party, said in court.

Democrat Clay Pell said the 538 members of the Electoral College should be provided with an intelligence briefing before they choose the next US president on Monday. A Denver judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the case Tuesday.

In a three-hour court hearing, Wesoky argued that the U.S. Constitution states that his clients "cannot be coerced or influenced in any manner".

But Denver Judge Elizabeth Starrs ruled that the state's electors will have to vote for Clinton. "They must be allowed to exercise their free will".

Grant Sullivan, an assistant solicitor general representing Williams, Gov. John Hickenlooper and state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, argued that the lawsuit relies on "an antiquated historical understanding of how the Electoral College worked in the 1800s". "What I am trying to do is to be prudent and get this information so that we have it so that years down the line something doesn't come up that we all should have known at this point in time".

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