According to a recent report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Sidney Powell paid for an attempt to access and duplicate data from a Georgia county’s election systems. The purpose of this effort was to find evidence of election fraud in favor of Donald Trump. It is believed that Powell footed the bill for this operation.
According to The New Yorker, a report spanning almost 400 pages has been obtained, detailing how Sidney Powell was contractually bound to ensure the legality of the work carried out by the data-services firm she hired for the breach. However, the report reveals that the work carried out was in fact illegal. The Coalition for Good Governance, an elections-watchdog group, had earlier acquired discovery rights and provided much of the information used in the report.
Sidney Powell, an attorney based in Texas who is associated with Trump’s legal team, was among the 19 individuals, including Trump himself, indicted by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in August for attempting to undermine the election results in Georgia. On Thursday, Powell entered a guilty plea on six misdemeanor charges connected to the conspiracy. As per her plea agreement, Powell will be obligated to testify against her co-defendants if necessary. The Daily Beast reported this development on its website.
In the weeks leading up to Powell’s plea, her attorney, Brian Rafferty, explored various legal tactics. One such strategy involved arguing that the heart of his client’s case centered on a single day: January 7, 2021. This was the day when the team from Powell’s firm visited the elections office of Coffee County, Georgia.
Rafferty concluded, “The crux of the matter lies in determining if the visit was authorized and what role, if any, she played in it. From our investigation, it seems that her involvement was minimal, if at all.”
According to a report by The New Yorker, the bureau’s findings have added complexity to Rafferty’s argument as it reveals that Powell funded the initial stage of the scheme, which lasted for more than a day. On January 7th, SullivanStrickler employees were captured on video surveillance entering the county elections office with the help of a local GOP official named Cathy Latham, who has since been indicted in the Fulton County case and pleaded not guilty. The footage further depicts additional participants arriving at the office in the following days.
As per the report from the bureau, SullivanStrickler sent a retainer agreement that charged a whopping $26,000 for a single day of work in Coffee County. Interestingly, the agreement bore the name of Powell, and it was paid for by her nonprofit legal advocacy group called Defending the Republic. The bureau also collected testimony indicating that Powell was overseeing the work carried out in Coffee County with the assistance of Paul Maggio, the chief operations officer of the firm.
According to the report, the company did not conduct any independent due diligence to verify the legality of their work. One executive of the firm explained that they did not perform such checks as most of their clients were lawyers, who are officers of the court and therefore, the affirmation in the agreement indicating the proper authority for the proposed work was deemed appropriate. In simpler terms, it was Powell’s responsibility to ensure that the firm’s work was legitimate and met all necessary requirements.
Upon receiving an invitation from Misty Hampton, a former elections supervisor and co-defendant in the Fulton County case, SullivanStrickler made their way to Coffee County. Hampton had extended the invitation as a sympathetic local official. In a message dated December 31, she reassured Giuliani and Latham’s lawyer that assisting them in accordance with Georgia law would not be an issue. At that point, Giuliani and Latham were attempting to prove the existence of supposed voting machine issues to the Georgia legislature.
Hampton extended a warm invitation, saying, “You are welcome to visit our office anytime.”
According to The New Yorker, the report contradicts the claim that SullivanStrickler had been given formal permission to access the county’s election data. The report points out that no official invitation was created or agreed upon by Coffee County officials to grant outside access to their voting equipment.
Despite the setback, the Trump team refused to back down and continued with their efforts. One of Trump’s lawyers even messaged an employee of SullivanStrickler the day after, saying that they had been granted access to the Coffee County Systens by written invitation. The message was filled with excitement, with the lawyer exclaiming “Yay!” and mentioning that they were currently putting together the necessary details. Despite the spelling error in the message, the Trump team remained determined to see their plan through.
As per The New Yorker, it is stated in Georgia’s administrative code that only the election board employees are allowed to enter the rooms where the election systems or equipment is kept. This is something that Powell would have been aware of if she had fulfilled her contractual obligation to ensure the legality of the plot.
According to John K. Carroll, who served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, if Powell wrote the check without any knowledge of the illegality of the scheme, that could be a strong defense. However, if Powell was aware of the scheme, then it would be considered a highly incriminating act. As Carroll put it, “Even the getaway driver is guilty of robbing the bank.” These words were reported by The New Yorker.
Shortly before The New Yorker released their report on Sunday, Trump made a loud and untrue statement on Truth Social, claiming that Powell was never his attorney.
In a recent statement, former President Donald Trump acknowledged Sidney Powell’s belief that the 2020 Presidential Election was rigged and stolen. He emphasized that Powell was not his attorney and never was. Trump echoed the sentiment of many Americans who still hold the belief that the election was illegitimate and that the country is suffering as a result.
Powell may not have officially acted as Trump’s representative in court, but she was certainly part of his legal team, as the former president tweeted on Nov. 14, 2020, praising his “truly great” legal team. Along with Rudy Giuliani and attorney Jenna Ellis, Powell made headlines during a now-infamous press conference where the trio, who referred to themselves as an “elite strike force team,” made baseless claims of election fraud and propagated a series of outlandish conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, Giuliani’s makeup began to run down his face, making for an unforgettable moment.
Shortly after, the Trump administration began to distance themselves from Powell’s actions. She had been making appearances on conservative news outlets, advocating for claims that were considered too unrealistic even for that audience.
According to a statement from the campaign, which was attributed to Giuliani and Ellis, Sidney Powell is currently practicing law independently. It was clarified that she is not a member of the Trump legal team and is also not representing the president in his personal capacity.
Despite the controversies surrounding her, Powell remained in close contact with Trump and his associates. In December 2020, she even attended a meeting at the White House where the former president and his inner circle discussed the possibility of ordering the military to seize voting machines. Furthermore, Trump also considered appointing her as a special counsel to investigate allegations of voter fraud. Despite the scrutiny, Powell remained a key player in Trump’s camp.
According to a recent report by The New Yorker, during the same period, Powell visited Tomotley Plantation, a property in South Carolina owned by Lin Wood, the controversial lawyer who has been accused of denying election results. There, Powell became part of a group of individuals who were referred to as the “brain trust,” consisting of figures affiliated with the MAGA movement, and who were devising strategies to keep Donald Trump in power. The FBI’s report indicates that Tomotley was the “central hub for voter fraud information processing.” It was around this time that Powell engaged the services of SullivanStrickler, and sent them to Nevada, Michigan, and eventually, Georgia.