On the day a voting system there was compromised, a Republican county official in Georgia escorted two agents working with an attorney for former President Donald Trump into the county’s election offices, a newly discovered video reveals.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is currently looking into the breach, and the Fulton County District Attorney is also interested in it as part of a larger criminal investigation into potential influence on the 2020 election.
The film clarifies how a campaign to find proof of voter fraud was carried out locally, frequently with the aid of friendly local officials, from Georgia to Michigan to Colorado, under the direction of lawyers and others close to Trump.
On January 7, 2021, the day a voting system in the county is known to have been compromised, Cathy Latham, a former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County who is currently facing criminal charges for posing as a fake elector in 2020, is seen escorting a group of pro-Trump operatives to the elections office.
Scott Hall and Paul Maggio, the two men with Latham in the video, have stated that they were able to hack a voting system in Coffee County at Sidney Powell’s request.
Latham talked directly with the then-Coffee County elections supervisor about gaining access to the office both before and after the breach, according to text messages, emails, and witness testimony submitted as part of a long-running civil complaint investigating the security of Georgia’s voting systems. According to the court papers, one text exchange reveals Latham arranging the arrival and whereabouts of a crew “headed by Paul Maggio” that went to Coffee County under Powell’s instruction.
“Did you all finish with the scanner?” Latham texted the elections supervisor for Coffee County three days after the incident. Latham allegedly testified that she was unaware of Hall’s activities in Coffee County. She defended her Fifth Amendment rights when confronted with her texts regarding the scanner, though.
CNN’s request for comment from Maggio received no response. Instead, the data company SullivanStrickler, which court records indicate was hired by Powell, claimed in a statement to CNN that it had been “directed by attorneys to contact county election officials to obtain access to certain data” in Georgia and “directed by attorneys to distribute that data to certain individuals.”
An attorney for SullivanStrickler concedes in an email from August 29, 2022, that Latham was the “main point of contact” for organizing the team’s trip to Coffee County.
According to the firm, there was no reason to think that these attorneys would ask or instruct it to “perform anything either wrong or criminal.”
CNN repeatedly reached out to Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman and poll observer for the Fulton County Republicans, but he did not respond.
The attempt to hack voting machines in Georgia and the phony elector plot appear to have been parts of a wider, coordinated scheme to rig the 2020 election, according to newly discovered surveillance video and text exchanges in the civil case. Numerous counties in states across the nation thought to be friendly to the former president attempted to gain unauthorized access to voting machines. Some of the same Trump lawyers and allies who helped plan the effort to seat phony electors in states Trump lost in 2020 were also involved in these attempts.
David Cross, a lawyer for election integrity groups suing Georgia over its voting technology and who has watched the film, alleged that Cathy Latham had a more important role in the SullivanStrickler team’s work in Coffee County than she had previously indicated. “She can be seen, for instance, leading the team into the office that morning. She’s also a key link in the scheme to elect a group of Georgians to the 2020 presidential election who would have cast the wrong vote for Trump, which appears to be the focus of a grand jury inquiry in Fulton County.”
Court records state that when questioned about her role in the breach and whether she was present at the Coffee County elections office on the day it happened, Latham gave contradictory answers during depositions. The footage demonstrates that she was present when it happened and actually kept the door open for those who tried to hack the voting machines. Election authorities had already received a warning from the Justice Department not to let this kind of outside access.
When CNN contacted Latham for comment, she did not answer. The story’s details were uncontested by a lawyer for Latham, who claimed that Latham lacked the ability to “authorise anyone to do anything with the ballots.”
Latham did not “personally participate in anything that the elections board and/or its employee… may have opted to do under their own authority (or at least their perceived authority) with the votes,” according to the attorney.
Therefore, even if she accurately recalls the specifics of her time there on January 7, the lawyer continued, “it doesn’t change the reality that she had no authority to do any of this and was not personally involved in whatever was done.”
Bob Cheeley, a second legal representative for Latham, told CNN, “Over a long period of time, Cathy Latham has put in a lot of time and effort to safeguard the credibility of elections in Coffee County, Georgia. She wouldn’t and hasn’t intentionally participated in any irregularities in any election.”
In Coffee County in January 2021, “Latham did not allow or engage in any ballot scanning attempts, computer imaging, or any comparable activities.”
After the 2020 election, operatives with ties to Trump’s campaign and legal team collaborated with local GOP leaders to access vote machines in counties across numerous states, including Coffee County. The objective was to gather proof to support Trump’s unfounded accusations and ultimately overturn Joe Biden’s election — even after it had been officially recognized on January 6.
Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, who oversaw the partisan election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, was one of them. Logan was also recently identified as a target in the state-level criminal investigation into unauthorized voting machine breaches in Michigan by the attorney general of that state.
In January 2021, about two weeks after the breach, Logan also made multiple trips to the Coffee County elections office, according to the recently acquired CCTV footage. CNN has contacted Logan’s attorneys.
Separately, as part of a DOJ investigation, federal agents have reportedly filed subpoenas seeking information about Latham’s communications with Rudy Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team.
Eight days before the January 7 voting machine hack, on December 30, 2020, Latham and Giuliani testified before Georgia state lawmakers regarding alleged voting machine abnormalities in Coffee County.
The minutes of the hearing shows that at the time, the lawyer representing Latham and the Giuliani legal team was the same. Latham invoked her Fifth Amendment rights when questioned whether she knew Giuliani or had ever spoken to him during a recent deposition in the Georgia civil action.
According to numerous individuals and documents obtained by CNN, Latham is the subject of two criminal investigations into attempts to rig the 2020 election, one by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and a parallel investigation by the Justice Department. Both of the inquiries focus exclusively on the scheme involving the fictitious electors. Georgia state officials are also looking into the hack of the voting machines in Coffee County.
Trump allies target Georgia’s rural GOP stronghold
Coffee County rapidly became a focal point of the Trump campaign’s effort to void the results in the weeks that followed the election. Even though Trump received close to 70% of the vote in this consistently Republican bastion of around 43,000 people, only one Georgia county refused to certify its results after the election.
Latham, a key voice among those voicing concerns about the Dominion voting equipment used in Coffee County, was a supporter of Trump and his legal team and was willing to assist them in advancing their charges of voter fraud.
It was one of the two counties included in draught executive orders that, if they were signed by Trump, would have mandated that all voting machines be seized nationwide by the military or the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, they would have appointed a special prosecutor with the authority to look into voter fraud.
Despite the fact that those documents were never signed, according to prior reporting and testimony before the House Select Committee looking into January 6, Trump was shown the draught orders during the now-famous Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020, which was attended by election skeptics Powell and Michael Flynn.
As those close to the former President believed it was the only way to actually prove there was widespread fraud, obtaining access to voting machines became a top priority for Trump allies seeking to rescind the election in the weeks following that meeting, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
According to text exchanges discovered by the House Select Committee looking into the attack on the US Capitol, several Republican senators cautioned Trump’s inner circle that their attempt to rig the Electoral College would almost surely fail in the absence of proof of fraud.
Emails released as part of the civil claim and acquired show that Powell was one of those who took the initiative in the search for proof of voting fraud, directing her attention to Coffee County in the days leading up to January 6. The emails reveal that Powell, like Latham, had direct touch with the individuals who made the trip to Coffee County and Powell appears to have hired them for the job.
Hall, the Atlanta bail bondsman who is seen on the surveillance film being brought inside the Coffee County elections office by Latham, was a member of the team, according to the civil case.
Hall asserts in an audio clip that he “chartered the jet to go down to Coffee County to have them review all of those machines” in an interview with CNN.
Hall is heard in the recording saying, “I went down there, we scanned every stinking ballot.” The same group of individuals, according to Hall, may have accessed voting equipment in Antrim County, Michigan, a few weeks prior to the breach in Coffee County.
“The same individuals that performed the forensic work on the PCs in Michigan, ok. And they dispatched a team to Coffee County, Georgia, where they imaged all the hard drives, scanned every single ballot, and scanned all the equipment “According to Hall, the recording.
According to previously revealed records about the examination of voting systems in Antrim County and his own evidence in a civil court case concerning the Coffee County breach, Maggio was among those who were involved in both initiatives.
Hall further asserts that the local election officials in Coffee County gave their OK for him and the group of people to access the voting machines there.
Proof of an organized conspiracy
Uncertainty surrounds whether federal officials are looking into whether efforts to access voting machines after the 2020 election were a part of a planned, multi-state operation carried out by Trump associates. State detectives in Georgia, though, are looking into the potential of a larger conspiracy.
According to other sources familiar with those investigations, investigators in Colorado and Michigan are also sharing with the FBI the information they have gathered concerning illegal breaches in those jurisdictions.
In an effort to aid in the investigation into whether pro-Trump operatives gained access to voting machines in Antrim County as part of a planned scheme overseen by the former President’s legal team, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson earlier this year shared information with members of the House Select Committee and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Since then, information linking Powell and Maggio to the breach in Coffee County has come to light. These individuals acquired access to voting machines there.
A federal grand jury has allegedly been appointed, and a group of federal prosecutors and FBI agents are “conducting a sweeping criminal investigation into those, among others, who have ‘worked in the cybersecurity space on election- and voting-related issues,” according to a recent court filing by Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who was heavily involved in efforts to overturn the election.
The filing was made as part of Waldron’s ongoing legal battle with the House Select Committee looking into January 6—which has subpoenaed his phone records—which has lasted months. According to Waldron, federal prosecutors who are looking into attempts to gain election data by seizing and tampering with voting machines may obtain his phone records if the House Committee obtains them.
According to a previous report from CNN, Waldron was a member of the group that reviewed election data from Antrim County, assisted in creating draught executive orders for seizing voting machines, and oversaw efforts to gain access to voting systems in several states to support Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud.
Additionally, he provided testimony at a hearing on election fraud held by the Georgian state parliament in December 2020. Giuliani served as his introduction.
The possibility of federal prosecutors going after cyber investigators like Waldron worries a source acquainted with Trump’s legal defense strategy because they might try to turn them in order to strengthen their possible case against the former President.
Waldron and Powell were required to appear in court on August 25 as a result of the Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis specifically mentions in a court filing that Powell can probably provide details regarding the breach in Coffee County as well as comparable initiatives involving voting equipment in Michigan and Nevada.