January 6 committee documents: Trump allies used County Antrim to target election outcome | News

WASHINGTON, DC — Documents provided to a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol show that County Antrim election misinformation was part of a coordinated national strategy to certify the 2020 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

A ‘strategic communications plan’ from ‘Giuliani’s presidential legal defense team,’ which includes the former president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, references debunked claims about the county’s voting equipment. ‘Antrim as part of an effort to lobby Republican senators in six states – including Michigan – between Dec. 27, 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021, the plan says.

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The other states listed are Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to the records.

The 22-page communications plan was provided Dec. 31 to members of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, by an investigator hired by the post-election legal team of Trump. The release was in response to a November 5 subpoena, records show.

Bernard Kerik is a former New York City Police Commissioner who, according to his lawyer in a Dec. 31 letter to the committee, was hired by Trump’s legal team as an investigator to investigate allegations of fraud. electoral.

“To be clear, while it has been reported that some may have pushed a plan for then-Vice President Pence to certify alternate slates and declare Donald Trump the winner on January 6, that is not the understanding. of Mr. Kerik,” a letter to the Washington, D.C. committee, attorney Timothy Parlatore says.

“His goal was to provide sufficient evidence through his investigation or to trigger a DOJ investigation specifically to ensure that the election results accurately reflected the will of the people,” Parlatore’s letter said.

County Antrim is part of the national plan

That a small rural county of 23,000 in northern Michigan caught the attention of elected officials investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — and what led to a violent mob assaulting law enforcement officers out of order, breached security barriers and occupied the building for several hours – comes as no surprise to County Antrim Registrar Sheryl Guy.

“From day one, I said, ‘Are we a sample or an example? ‘” Guy said on Tuesday. “We’re just a little fish, but if they can hang on to us, like they have, they can get more and more people, their people and the people on the fence, to hang on to it. .”

Guy, a Republican, said she believed the former president and his allies had used County Antrim and an election-related lawsuit filed there by a local man three weeks after the presidential election in 2020, as a springboard to try to convince voters that the election was fraudulent.

Bill Bailey of Central Lake Township filed a lawsuit in the 13th Circuit Court against County Antrim on November 23, 2020, accusing the county of violating its constitutional rights and using Dominion Voting Systems election equipment which, according to he, could be pre-programmed for fraud.

Bailey addressed a reporter’s questions to his attorney, Matthew DePerno, on Wednesday.

“It has nothing to do with me, Mr. Bailey, or the County Antrim case,” DePerno said in an email Wednesday, of documents provided to the Jan. 6 committee by Kerik and shared with DePerno by a Record-Eagle reporter. “I have never seen this document before today.”

Kay Stimson, vice president of government affairs for Dominion Voting Systems, also responded with an emailed statement.

“All independent reviews, including hand counts and ballot audits after the 2020 presidential election, have proven Dominion voting machines produce accurate results in Michigan and other states,” Stimson said Wednesday.

In late 2020, days after Bailey filed the lawsuit, 13th Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer signed a court order granting Bailey’s request for forensic imaging of election materials from the county. ‘Antrim, according to records.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel successfully filed a motion to intervene on behalf of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who was later added to Bailey’s lawsuit on December 11, 2020, as a named defendant, according to court records.

“We are learning this as the public reviews and considers the findings,” AG press secretary Lynsey Mukomel said on Tuesday when asked about the documents recently provided to the Jan. 6 committee by Kerik.

Giuliani’s legal team

That the communications plan document was drafted by Giuliani’s legal team correlates with reports from at least three northern Michigan officials who previously said Guy’s political operatives had traveled to County Antrim in November 2020, had contacted township officials about local election data and identified themselves as Giuliani’s legal representative. team.

“It was bullying,” Guy said of visiting staff from Allied Security Operations Group, a Dallas-based tech company, which returned to County Antrim next week to conduct the court-ordered forensic examination of county voting materials in connection with Bailey’s lawsuit.

The forensic examination was conducted inside the county government building on December 6, 2020, when a contact tracing executive order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer was in effect.

A contact tracing log sheet, previously provided to the Record-Eagle in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that a Washington, D.C. lobbyist, Katherine Friess, accompanied DePerno and those at ASOG, who conducted the review.

Friess did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Friess is also listed in a “privilege log,” provided Dec. 31 to the Jan. 6 committee by Kerik, which outlines additional documents in Kerik’s possession that he planned to withhold, citing attorney work product privilege. owned by former President Trump.

“As I have noted many times in the past, Mr. Kerik is not the privilege holder, but President Trump is,” Parlatore said in his Jan. 6 letter to the committee. “Absent a waiver of privilege or court order, Mr. Kerik is prohibited from disclosing these documents.”

Friess is named in Kerik’s Privilege Log as the author of a Nov. 4, 2020 paper on election fraud whistleblowers and a Nov. 15, 2020 paper on volunteers willing to help with the investigation — which both appear to show that she was involved with Trump’s post-election legal team before Bailey filed her lawsuit on Nov. 23, 2020.

Human error; ASOG report results debunked

The County Antrim report by ASOG accused Dominion of programming its equipment for fraud, although election experts, including at least one appointed by former President Trump, have since debunked the allegations.

Chris Krebs, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, called the ASOG report “factually inaccurate” during his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee. and government affairs.

And Ryan Macias, former acting director of the United States Election Assistance Commission’s Vote Testing and Certification Program, reviewed the ASOG report and issued a rebuttal, saying its authors had a ” serious misunderstanding” about the county’s Dominion Voting Systems equipment and a “lack of knowledge”. election technology.

Alex Halderman, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, also released a report and confirmed that the initial errors in the counting of votes in the County Antrim presidential election were the result of human error and not a security breach.

Guy had previously acknowledged that an error by his office in the 2020 presidential election vote count initially showed that around 2,000 votes cast for then-President Donald Trump were mistakenly awarded to the challenger. of the time, Joe Biden.

Guy corrected errors in his office’s vote count before state certification of the county’s November 2020 election results, and records show Trump won County Antrim by a wide margin, securing 9,748 votes against Biden’s 5,960 votes, which is reflected in the certified results.

On December 17, 2020, the Michigan Bureau of Elections conducted a manual recount of the County Antrim presidential election, trained local volunteer poll workers as counters, and opened the building to the public.

The live recount found no fraud, but it did not slow the spread of misinformation, Guy said.

For example, the ASOG report continued to circulate widely online after it was shared on social media by Giuliani, fellow Trump ally lawyer Sidney Powell, as well as former national security adviser Mike Flynn – the recipient of a presidential pardon from Trump – and by Donald Trump Jr.

“There was no fraud,” Guy said. “We are used and it will continue throughout 2022. It is dangerous.”

Guy, who previously said she received threatening phone messages and was briefly escorted to and from her office by law enforcement, said she was now more concerned about democracy than the dangers to his personal safety.

Awaiting COA decision

Bailey’s lawsuit was dismissed in May by Judge Elsenheimer, who also stayed other outstanding legal issues.

In June, DePerno appealed that decision, on Bailey’s behalf, to the state Court of Appeals.

The communications plan provided by Kerik to the Jan. 6 committee does not name Baily but refers to an early complaint in his lawsuit — that a marijuana ordinance, permitting only one retailer in the Village of Central Lake, “passed from ‘a loss to a win’, evidence of fraud showed.

Bailey, however, is registered to vote in Central Lake Township and only registered voters in the Village of Central Lake received a ballot containing the marijuana ordinance.

This issue was not raised in court by Bailey, County Antrim lawyers, or the Michigan Attorney General’s office, until reported in 2020 by the Record-Eagle.

Appeal briefs have been filed and pleadings have been requested; it is unclear when the Court of Appeal will hear the case and rule.

Meanwhile, DePerno announced his candidacy in the Republican primary for Michigan attorney general in July and was endorsed by Trump in September.

And Kelly Young, an apolitical County Antrim resident and self-described former grocer, opened Torch Cannabis Co., a recreational marijuana retailer, in November in a former butcher’s shop in the village of Central Lake.

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