The witness — a Republican poll watcher in Wayne County — reported that she’d learned an election worker was being told to backdate late-arriving absentee ballots. The witness claimed another poll observer, who wasn’t named, heard from the election worker, also unnamed, about the issue. The witness reported that she then spoke with the poll worker, who gave her a handwritten note that read, “entered receive date as 11/2/20 on 11/4/20.”

Stephens wasn’t persuaded. At best, she told Trump campaign lawyer Mark “Thor” Hearne II, what had been presented was secondhand hearsay, which is rarely accepted in court. Hearne insisted that the witness was relaying firsthand experience, but Stephens said the witness’s account was too many steps removed from any actual misconduct the campaign was trying to prove.

“‘I heard somebody else say something’ — how is that not hearsay? Come on now,” Stephens said.