Benson at Jan. 6 Committee: Trump allies had Antrim report while he was under seal | News
LANSING — A debunked report of a since-dismissed County Antrim lawsuit was under seal at the time it was apparently provided to a Trump-allied lawyer and was cited in an unsigned draft of a Trump presidential order, said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a recent January 6 letter to the Committee.
The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. capitol has since July issued subpoenas, requested documents and conducted interviews, some of which detail the pivotal role played by the false election allegations of County Antrim in a strategy to cancel the 2020 presidential election.
Documents previously provided to the Committee include a “strategic communications plan” from “Giuliani’s presidential legal defense team”, which refers to refuted allegations about County Antrim’s voting equipment. This document describes efforts to take advantage of human error in County Antrim’s vote count as part of an effort to pressure Republican senators from six states – including Michigan – to they annul the results of the elections.
And a draft presidential order dated December 16, 2020 cited “the County Antrim, Michigan Voting Machine Forensic Report” as probable cause of foreign interference. If issued, this order would have ordered the Secretary of Defense to seize US voting machines.
The report cited in the draft order was written in the fall of 2020, by staff of the Dallas-based Allied Security Operations Group, on behalf of County Antrim resident William Bailey, who on November 23, 2020 , filed a lawsuit, accusing the county of elector. fraud.
The lawsuit was later dismissed by 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer, Bailey’s attorney Matthew DePerno appealed, and the Michigan Court of Appeals has yet to weigh in.
Benson’s letter states that this same debunked report from County Antrim was cited by barrister Sidney Powell in a December 13, 2020 letter to the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court, in an attempt to add it on the court record in a since-dismissed case. federal lawsuit against Michigan elected officials.
Records appear to show that Trump allies gained access to the report on Dec. 13, 2020, a day before Elsenheimer issued an order allowing the report to be released to the public.
This discrepancy was noted by Benson, in his Jan. 6 letter to committee chairman Bennie G. Thompson, which was copied by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Furthermore, on December 13, 2020, although the report was ordered under seal by the judge, it was apparently provided to the former attorney for former president Sidney Powell, despite the fact that the judge did not cleared for publication before Dec. 1. 14,” Benson said.
A Michigan SOS spokesperson, when asked for details about who may have provided the report to Powell and others before it was released, said the role of Benson’s office was to collect and submit election-related information, not to investigate.
“We are not an investigative body,” Tracy Wimmer said in an email. “We have just witnessed first-hand the attempts to nullify the votes of 5.5 million voters in Michigan. Our responsibility is to submit receipts of what we have witnessed to the appropriate investigative bodies.
Benson said in his letter to the committee that unanswered questions remain regarding the larger purpose of the report.
“What remains unclear is to what extent the authors of the bogus report wrote it to lay the groundwork for the former president’s executive order, and whether they did so under his direction or under his direction. campaign,” Benson said.
A spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said her office had no information to share; Elsenheimer declined to comment, citing the ongoing nature of the case and court policies regarding media inquiries. DePerno did not respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time state officials have raised questions about the inappropriate release of information sealed by the County Antrim court report.
Elsenheimer’s Dec. 14, 2020, court order shows the judge ruled that confidential information and any other information or images collected during a Dec. 6, 2020, forensic examination of county voting materials not included in the ASOG report remained under seal.
Then, on January 11, 2021, Elsenheimer decided that certain “individual images” contained in the report would be placed under a protective order.
“Again, Mr. DePerno’s experts should have the opportunity to review these documents, just like any other entity’s experts – whether it’s the intervenor, the county or any of the other defendants in this case.” , Elsenheimer said, according to court transcripts. “But the mass distribution of this information is not something the Court approves of at this time.”
But in October 2021, Benson said she had received information showing that at least one of these court-protected images of County Antrim voting material had been shared during a “cyber symposium” organized by Trump supporter and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Benson, who previously asked the court to be added to Bailey’s lawsuit as a named defendant, said in court filings Col. James P. Waldron and Douglas Frank, two of Bailey’s expert witnesses, testified. appeared as speakers at the symposium and that Waldron told attendees “information from Antrim” would be available and invited them to view the images.
Court documents show DePerno was told about the distribution of the County Antrim footage by Michigan Assistant Attorney General Erik A. Grill, who is representing the SOS office in the lawsuit.
“We have received information that at an event earlier this week, Mike Lindell publicly displayed or distributed images of County Antrim EMS software,” Grill said in an email. “These images are under protective order. Neither you nor your team are authorized to display or use these images.
The same court filing shows DePerno responded to Grill, also via email, stating that as soon as he heard, he sent Lindell a “cease and desist request” stating that neither Lindell nor his team did not have permission to display the images.
On December 16, Waldron received a subpoena from the January 6 Committee, records show, requiring him to produce documents and appear for deposition.
“The Select Committee’s investigation and public reports have revealed credible evidence that you have information regarding attempts to disrupt or delay certification of the 2020 election results,” a Dec. 16, 2021, letter to Waldron states. “According to public information, you claim to have visited the White House several times after the election, spoken to Mark Meadows ‘maybe 8-10 times’ and briefed several members of Congress on the voter fraud theories.”
Meadows is a former White House chief of staff, serving in 2020 under the Trump administration. Meadows was subpoenaed in September by the Jan. 6 Committee, whose members voted last month to hold him in contempt of Congress for not showing up.
Waldron did not return a request for comment; the select committee has subpoenaed over 400 people, collected hundreds of thousands of documents, but has not yet made all the documents public.