Videos Show Trump Allies Handling Georgia Ballots

Videos showing contractors and associates of former President Donald J. Trump handling voting equipment in a rural Georgia county weeks after the 2020 election have recently been made public.

 

The video, which was released as part of ongoing litigation over Georgia’s voting system, casts further doubt on whether or not Trump associates in several battleground states attempted to get access to and copy sensitive election software with the help of amenable local election managers. In one such case, a small crew headed to rural Coffee County, Georgia, on January 7 of last year, a day after Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.

Videos Show Trump Allies Handling Georgia Ballots
Videos Show Trump Allies Handling Georgia Ballots

Members of the Atlanta-based business SullivanStrickler were among the group; they had been engaged by Sidney Powell, a lawyer and self-proclaimed “conspiracy theorist” who serves as an advisor to Mr. Trump.

One of the company’s executives, Paul Maggio, emailed Ms. Powell that morning in January, saying, “We are on our way to Coffee County, Ga. to collect what we can from the election/voting machines and systems.” We scanned every stinking ballot,” Scott Hall, a bail bondsman and Trump supporter from the Atlanta region, stated in a recorded phone conversation weeks later.

Mr. Hall claimed the team “scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives, and scanned every single ballot” with the approval of the local elections board.

Members of the team are seen in the new footage, inside an office, handling the poll pads for the county. (The containers seen in the footage carrying the various pieces of gear are clearly marked as “POLL PAD”). On September 9, David D. Cross, an attorney for a nonprofit group that is suing over perceived security vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voting system, told a judge that his client suspected that the “personally identifiable information” of approximately seven million Georgia voters may have been copied. The new videos were released as a result of the litigation.

Electoral official Charles Tonnie Adams of Heard County, Georgia, assured voters through email that their names will be included on every voter registration form. What, if anything, was done with the information collected from the poll pads and what precise personal information about voters was recorded remains unclear.

Poll pad “does have voter information but it’s scrambled behind security standards,” said to Mike Hassinger, a spokesperson for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. He also noted that no spaces were provided for voter IDs or Social Security numbers on the ballots.

The newly released footage also reveals that Mr. Trump’s campaign and/or his associates, including those who traveled with him to Coffee County, were granted access to the building over the course of many days.

Cathy Latham, the former head of the county Republican Party, is shown in the new tape among members of the Trump team in an office with a table containing the county’s poll sheets. It has come to light that Ms. Latham is being investigated for possible criminal activity in Atlanta, since she was a member of an alternative slate of electors that attempted to reverse Mr. Trump’s loss in Georgia. That probe, headed by Fulton County’s district attorney Fani T. Willis, has already made some connections to events in Coffee County.

In a document submitted to the court on Monday night, the plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit criticized what they called “the repeated failure of Latham and her counsel to be open with this court about the facts.” They said she was trying to downplay her role on the Trump campaign when in fact “she literally guided them on what to collect in the office.”

On Monday, Ms. Latham’s attorney, Robert D. Cheeley, declined to comment for attribution. His client “would not and has not knowingly been involved in any misconduct in any election,” he assured CNN earlier this month.

The appearance of Mr. Raffensperger’s office investigators in the new films raises doubts about the extent of their knowledge. Voting rights groups engaged in the litigation have questioned why Mr. Raffensperger, the defendant in the civil case, did not move more aggressively, despite his office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation examining what happened in Coffee County, 200 miles southeast of Atlanta.

According to Mr. Hassinger, the office of the secretary of state “had no notion” in early January why its investigators were at the elections office in Coffee County.

He said, “We’re investigating it.” As I’ve said before, we’re not joking around about the seriousness of this. If criminal activity is found after this investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Secretary of State’s office, those responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.