Abbott Taps Trump Lawyer Who Fought 2020 Results to Oversee Texas Elections

Governor Greg Abbott announced on Thursday that he had appointed John Scott as the Texas Secretary of State. Scott, a Fort Worth attorney, briefly represented former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit challenging the 2020 presidential election results in Pennsylvania.

As secretary of state, Scott will also serve in the role of Chief Election Officer for Texas. In a press release from Abbott's office, the election position is described as one who assists county election officials to ensure "the uniform application and interpretation of election laws throughout Texas."

"John Scott is a proven leader with a passion for public service, and his decades of experience in election law and litigation make him the ideal choice for the Texas Secretary of State," Governor Abbott said in a statement.

greg abbott rape
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Thursday the appointment of John Scott for Texas Secretary of State. Scott previously worked briefly on a lawsuit to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election. In this photo, Abbott is seen at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on May 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool//Getty Images

Scott previously served as deputy attorney general for civil litigation when Abbott was the state's attorney general, and he was also later the chief operating officer of the Health and Human Services Commission. As deputy attorney general, Scott defended the states' voter identification law in 2014. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals eventually found the law to have a "discriminatory effect" that was in violation of the Voting Rights Act and ordered it to be amended.

The Texas Tribune reported that Scott became counsel on a lawsuit filed by Trump on November 13, 2020. The suit sought to block the certification of Pennsylvania's election results. Scott filed a motion to withdraw as an attorney for the plaintiffs a few days later, the newspaper wrote. His motion also asked to remove attorney Bryan Hughes from the suit. Hughes is a Texas state senator who works for Scott's law firm.

In September, Trump sent Abbott a letter that urged him to add an election audit bill to the state's special legislative session, despite the fact that Trump won Texas in the 2020 election. The bill would allow a review of mail-in and in-person ballots across the state. However, Abbott did not add the bill, and the secretary of state's office instead announced it had already started auditing the election results from 2020 in four of the state's biggest counties.

Along with serving as chief election officer, the secretary of state also "provides a repository for official business and commercial records" and "publishes government rules and regulations and commissions notaries public," according to the release from the governor's office.

Scott still needs to be officially confirmed by the state legislature, which is not scheduled to meet again until 2023, according to The Texas Tribune. He'll serve as interim secretary of state until that time, which means he will oversee next year's statewide races, including the gubernatorial election.

Newsweek contacted Abbott's office for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.