Atlanta-area prosecutors are investigating efforts to change that 2020 election results in Georgia Text messages and emails are available to connect members directly Donald TrumpThe legal team is investigating early voting violations in Coffee County in January 2021, sources told CNN.
Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis expected Seeking charges His team faces a dozen other people when it presents its case to a grand jury next week. Several people involved in voting violations in Coffee County could face charges in a broader criminal investigation.
Investigators in the Georgia Criminal Investigation have long suspected that the breach was not a natural effort from sympathetic Trump supporters in rural and heavily Republican Coffee County — a county Trump won by nearly 70% of the vote. According to people familiar with the situation, they have gathered evidence indicating a top-down push by Trump’s team to access sensitive voting software.
Trump’s allies sought access to voting systems after the 2020 election as part of a broader push to produce evidence that could support the former president’s baseless claims of widespread fraud.
While Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger in January 2021 and the attempted voter fraud have long been considered the main pillars of Willis’ criminal investigation, the voting system breach in Coffee County has quietly emerged as an area of focus for investigators. A year ago. Since then, new evidence has slowly emerged about the role of Trump’s lawyers, the operatives they hired and the breach and how others like it in other key states factored into broader plans to overturn the election.
Together, the Text messages And other court documents show how a group of Trump lawyers and hired operatives tried to access Coffee County’s voting systems in the earlier days. January 6, 2021, The former president’s allies continued to seek evidence of widespread fraud that they could use to delay the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
Last year, a former Trump official, sworn in to a House select committee on January 6, discussed plans to access voting systems in Georgia in White House meetings, including with Trump during an Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020.
Six days before pro-Trump activists gained unauthorized access to voting systems, the local elections official who allegedly facilitated the breach sent a “written invitation” to lawyers working for Trump, according to text messages obtained by CNN.
Multiple sources told CNN that investigators are looking into the actions of various people involved, including Misty Hampton, the former Coffee County elections official who wrote the subpoena mentioned in the text messages and other documents.
They have too studied engagement Trump’s then-lawyer Rudy Giuliani — who Reported last year He was a target in the Fulton County investigation — and fellow Trump lawyer Sidney Powell as part of their investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.
A spokesman for Willis’ office declined to comment.
The subpoena letter was shared with prosecutors and an investigator working with Giuliani at the time, text messages obtained by CNN show.
On January 1, 2021 – just days before the January 7 voting systems breach – Catherine Fries – an attorney working with Giuliani, Sidney Powell and other Trump associates – shared with a group of Trump associates a “written invitation” to investigate voting systems in Coffee County. .
That group included members of Sullivan Strickler, a firm hired by Trump’s lawyers to study voting patterns in the small, heavily Republican Georgia county, according to text messages obtained by CNN.
That same day, Fries sent a letter inviting the former NYPD police commissioner to Coffee County, Georgia. Bernie CarrickAccording to court documents filed as part of the current civil case, he worked with Giuliani to find evidence to support unsubstantiated claims of possible widespread voter fraud.
The texts show that Trump’s team obtained written permission for Fries to later release operatives who carried out the Coffee County breach and others working directly with Giuliani.
CNN has not reviewed the content of the invitation, only communications confirming it was issued to Friess, Kerik and Sullivan Strickler employees.
Fries could not be reached for comment.
The news and documents appear to link Giuliani to the Coffee County breach, while shedding light on another channel of information exchange between pro-Trump lawyers and warring government operatives who worked together to give unauthorized individuals access to critical voting equipment.
“Rudy Giuliani had nothing to do with this,” said Robert Costello, Giuliani’s lawyer. “You can’t associate Rudy Giuliani with Sidney Powell’s crackpot idea.”
“Meyer landed back in DC just as big things started coming together!” An employee from the Sullivan Strickler firm, hired by Sidney Powell to study voting patterns in Coffee County, wrote in a group chat with other colleagues on January 1.
Former New York Mayor Giuliani was constantly referred to as “the mayor” in other texts sent by the same person and others at the time.
“Immediately, we were granted access by written invitation! – to Coffee County’s systems. Yes!” Reading the text.
After Election Day, Hampton — who still serves as Coffee County’s top election official — warned during a state Board of Elections meeting that Dominion’s voting machines could “very easily” flip a candidate’s vote. It’s a claim that has been debunked over and over again.
But Trump campaign officials noticed and reached out to the Hamptons the same day. “I want to get as much information as possible,” a Trump campaign staffer emailed Hampton, according to documents released as part of a public records request and first reported by The Washington Post.
In early December, Hampton delayed certification Joe BidenHe won in Georgia by refusing to verify recount results at a key deadline. Because of issues raised by Hampton at the time, only Coffee County in Georgia failed to certify election results.
Hampton posted a video online claiming to expose problems with the county’s Dominion voting system. The video has been used by Trump’s lawyers, including Giuliani, as part of an effort to convince state lawmakers that there is evidence that the 2020 election results were tainted by voting system problems.
Text messages and other documents obtained by CNN show Trump associates tried to access Coffee County’s voting system in mid-December amid growing demands for evidence of widespread election fraud.
On December 18, 2020, during a chaotic Oval Office meeting, Coffee County was specifically cited in the draft executive order to seize voting machines given to Trump, CNN reported. During the same meeting, according to testimony he and others gave before a House committee Jan. 6, Giuliani mentioned a plan to get “voluntary access” to the machines in Georgia.
Days later, Hampton shared a written invitation to contact the district’s elections office with a Trump attorney, according to text messages obtained by CNN. He and another local elections official, Kathy Latham, allegedly helped Trump operatives access county voting systems, according to documents, testimony and surveillance video produced as part of a long-running civil case centered on election security in Georgia.
Latham, who worked as a fake voter from Georgia after the 2020 election, came under scrutiny for his role in the Coffee County breach. Surveillance video was shown He allowed unauthorized outsiders to spend hours there voting.