How is it possible that Sidney Powell has not yet been indicted for her central role in Trump’s Coup Plot?

The MAGA/QAnon Colorado county election clerk, Tina Peters, conspiring with the My Pillow Guy Coup Plotter and Big Lie election denier has received the most media attention for security breaches of voting machines. Last month, a Third arrest was made in alleged Colorado election security breach:


The former elections manager for a Colorado clerk indicted on charges of tampering with voting equipment has been arrested on allegations that she was part of the scheme, an official said Wednesday.

Sandra Brown, who worked for Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, turned herself in Monday in response to a warrant issued for her arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and attempting to influence a public servant, said Lt. Henry Stoffel of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. The arrest was first reported by The Daily Sentinel newspaper.

Peters and her chief deputy, Belinda Knisley, are being prosecuted for allegedly allowing a copy of a hard drive to be made during an update of election equipment in May 2021. State election officials first became aware of a security breach last summer when a photo and video of confidential voting system passwords were posted on social media and a conservative website.

Peters, who has echoed former President Donald Trump’s false theories about the 2020 election and become a hero to election conspiracy theorists, lost her bid to become the GOP candidate for Colorado secretary of state last month. She first came to national attention when she spoke last year at a conference hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the most prominent election deniers in the country.

Peters is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, one count of identity theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty and failing to comply with the secretary of state.

Knisley is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant, one count of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, violation of duty and failing to comply with the secretary of state.

Last week the New York Times reported on a less publicized security breach of election machines in Michigan by the current GQP nominee for Attorney General in Michigan. Michigan officials push to investigate a G.O.P. candidate over an alleged 2020 election scheme.

In early 2021, with the turmoil of a bitterly contested presidential contest still fresh, several election clerks in Michigan received strange phone calls.

The person on the other end was a Republican state representative who told them their election equipment was needed for an investigation, according to documents from the Michigan attorney general’s office.

They obliged. Soon, the machines were being picked apart in hotels and Airbnb rentals in Oakland County, outside Detroit, by conservative activists hunting for what they believed was proof of fraud, the documents said. Weeks later, after the equipment was returned in handoffs in highway car-pool lots and shopping malls, the clerks found that it had been tampered with, and in some cases, damaged.

The revelations of possible meddling with voting machines have set off a political tsunami in Michigan, one of the most critical battleground states in the country.

The documents detail deception of election officials and a breach of voting equipment that stand out as extraordinary even among the volumes of public reporting on brazen attempts by former President Donald J. Trump’s supporters to scrutinize and undermine the 2020 results.

But one of the most politically striking elements of the case is the identity of one of the people implicated in the scheme by the office of the attorney general: Matthew DePerno, who is now the presumptive Republican nominee for that very post.

Mr. DePerno, a lawyer who rose to prominence challenging the 2020 results in Antrim County and has been endorsed by Mr. Trump, is vying to unseat Dana Nessel, a Democrat who is Michigan’s top law enforcement official and who fought attempts to undermine the state’s election.

Now, evidence provided by her office places Mr. DePerno at one of the “tests” of voting equipment and suggests that he was a key orchestrator of “a conspiracy” to gain improper access to machines in three counties, Roscommon and Missaukee in Northern Michigan and Barry, a rural area southeast of Grand Rapids. The tampering resulted in physical damage, but the attorney general’s office indicated that there was no evidence that there was “any software or firmware manipulation” of the equipment.

Even before the new accusations, the prospective race between Ms. Nessel and Mr. DePerno was one of the most closely watched contests for attorney general in the country.

During his campaign, Mr. DePerno has continued to falsely claim that mail voting is rife with fraud and that voting records were deleted or destroyed after the election, and he has pledged to “prosecute the people who corrupted the 2020 election.” He has also said he would begin inquiries of Ms. Nessel, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, all Democrats.

His candidacy has worried election experts, Democrats and even many Republicans, who fear that he could use his powers to carry out investigations based on fraudulent claims or engage in other forms of meddling in elections.

Yet because Mr. DePerno is the likely Republican nominee — he clinched the state party’s endorsement this year and is expected to be formally nominated later this month — any investigation by Ms. Nessel is politically fraught and risks a conflict of interest. With that in mind, her office on Friday requested that a special prosecutor be appointed to continue the investigation and pursue potential criminal charges.

The allegations against Mr. DePerno and eight others — including Daire Rendon, a Republican state representative, and Dar Leaf, the sheriff of Barry County — were detailed in a letter sent on Friday from the deputy attorney general to Ms. Benson, and in a petition from Ms. Nessel’s office requesting the special prosecutor. The Detroit News first reported the letter, and Politico first reported the petition. Reuters first reported Mr. DePerno’s alleged involvement.

[T]he petition identifies several people, like Jim Penrose, a former official at the National Security Agency, who have looked into claims about fraud in Mr. Trump’s loss in 2020 over the past two years, many of them focusing on the use of digital voting machines, like those made by Dominion Voting Systems. Others mentioned in the petition, like Doug Logan, the former chief executive of the tech firm Cyber Ninjas, were involved in different efforts to discredit the election results, like a partisan review of ballots in Arizona.

Local election clerks have been targeted by election deniers in several places across the country. Some have been pressured by right-wing sheriffs to participate in election investigations. One county clerk herself, Tina Peters of Colorado, faces felony charges related to a breach of her election equipment, and local officials in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Georgia have been accused of helping unauthorized people find evidence of tampering in the 2020 election.

Election experts worry that local officials are a possible weak point in the nation’s voting infrastructure, and that “inside jobs” could allow for tampering in future contests or unintentionally expose election infrastructure.

“It raises alarms,” said Harri Hursti, an election security expert who was in Georgia during the 2020 election. “Contamination is a real threat, and it doesn’t take a bad actor. It’s also just an unskilled actor.”

What appeared at first glance to be isolated incidents by bad actors motivated by partisan loyalty to breach the security of election equipment on behalf of the Trump campaign –  a crime –  was actually a multi-state coordinated conspiracy to breach the security of election equipment by the Trump campaign – yet another criminal conspiracy by the Trump campaign.

The Washington Post reports, Trump-allied lawyers pursued voting machine data in multiple states, records reveal:

A team of computer “experts” directed by lawyers allied with President Donald Trump copied sensitive data from election systems in Georgia as part of a secretive, multistate effort to access voting equipment that was broader, more organized and more successful than previously reported, according to emails and other records obtained by The Washington Post.

As they worked to overturn Trump’s 2020 election defeat, the lawyers asked a forensic data firm to access county election systems in at least three battleground states, according to the documents and interviews. The firm charged an upfront retainer fee for each job, which in one case was $26,000.

Attorney Sidney Powell sent the team to Michigan to copy a rural county’s [Atrim County] election data and later helped arrange for it to do the same in the Detroit area, according to the records. A Trump campaign attorney engaged the team to travel to Nevada. And the day after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol the team was in southern Georgia, copying data from a Dominion voting system in rural Coffee County.

The emails and other records were collected through a subpoena issued to the forensics firm, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, by plaintiffs in a long-running lawsuit in federal court over the security of Georgia’s voting systems. The documents provide the first confirmation that data from Georgia’s election system was copied. Indications of a breach there were first raised by plaintiffs in the case in February, and state officials have said they are investigating.

“The breach is way beyond what we thought,” said David D. Cross, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, who include voting-security activists and Georgia voters. “The scope of it is mind-blowing.”

A drumbeat of revelations about alleged security breaches in local elections offices has grown louder during the nearly two years since the 2020 election. There is growing concern among experts that officials sympathetic to Trump’s claims of vote-rigging could undermine election security in the name of protecting it.

The federal government classifies voting systems as “critical infrastructure,” important to national security, and access to their software and other components is tightly regulated. In several instances since 2020, officials have taken machines out of service after their chains of custody were disrupted.

State authorities have opened criminal investigations into alleged improper breaches of equipment in Michigan, a case that involves several people who appear in the new records. In Mesa County, Colo., a local elections official, Republican Tina Peters, was indicted on felony charges including conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and attempting to influence a public servant.

In two counties, SullivanStrickler’s examinations were permitted by courts, though many details surrounding those efforts have not been public. The records show how Powell’s group discussed, exchanged and paid for elections-system data. The plaintiffs intend to bring them to the attention of the judge in the case and provide them to the FBI as well as state and local elections authorities in Georgia, Cross told The Post.

Emails reviewed by The Post show that Powell told SullivanStrickler to share data obtained by the firm with other pro-Trump operatives, some of whom continue to openly push conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

Powell did not respond to messages seeking comment. SullivanStrickler also did not respond.

The documents shed new light on one front in the wide-ranging battle by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election. The small team of lawyers and security contractors worked quietly to get their hands on the county-level equipment while others around Trump filed legal challenges, deployed protesters to Washington and lobbied Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to reject Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump and his advisers had quickly seized on voting machines as the sites of supposed fraud, making wild allegations of plots involving the makers of the machines and shadowy foreign forces. Numerous recounts and reviews have confirmed the accuracy of the machines used in 2020. Two manufacturers say their systems are secure and have filed billion-dollar defamation lawsuits that are pending against prominent sources of the disinformation.

Powell spearheaded the claims with lawsuits filed in swing states, some with fellow pro-Trump attorney L. Lin Wood Jr. Soon after the election, Powell huddled with other Trump associates for strategy talks around Thanksgiving at Wood’s South Carolina estate.

The following Monday, the documents show, Jim Penrose, a former intelligence official who had been at Wood’s estate, emailed two senior SullivanStrickler executives and others. Penrose helped arrange for people from the firm to travel by private jet to Nevada for what Penrose called an urgent “forensics engagement” and an “opportunity in NV.” The documents do not specify what the work entailed.

Earlier that day Jesse Binnall, an outside counsel to Trump’s campaign who was suing to overturn the result in Nevada, won a court order granting limited access to “testing equipment and programs” in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.

Binnall replied to the email group asking for a formal agreement that he could sign to authorize the work in Nevada. Among those copied on Binnall’s email were Powell, retired Army Col. Phil Waldron, who later circulated a PowerPoint presentation proposing the seizure of ballots, and Doug Logan, whose company Cyber Ninjas led a Republican review of the election in Arizona.

Binnall promptly signed the engagement agreement, the new records show, and investigators began work in Las Vegas the following day. But the day after that, Binnall complained in a court filing that his team had not been allowed to access certain equipment. He attached a supporting statement from SullivanStrickler’s director of forensics, Gregory Freemyer, though the statement did not identify Freemyer’s employer.

On Dec. 3, SullivanStrickler’s chief operations officer, Paul Maggio, sent Binnall an invoice for “the 2 days we spent in Las Vegas, NV in support of this matter.”

Binnall’s efforts to compel access to additional equipment were rejected by the judge in the case. The case was later dismissed. Binnall declined to comment for this story.

Also copied on some of the emails about Las Vegas was Brian T. Kennedy, a fellow at the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank. The day after Maggio invoiced Binnall, Kennedy replied: “I spoke to Jesse and he said the payment is in process.”

Later, after Maggio also copied Binnall on another email about data examinations elsewhere, Penrose emailed him to say: “Please do not communicate about any additional forensics work in AZ to the other legal teams. Keep that in confidential channels with me, Sidney, and Doug only.” It is unclear what work in Arizona he was referring to.

Was there a breach of security in election equipment in Arizona that has not been discovered or reported? Or was this about Sen. Karen Fann subpoenaing Maricopa County election equipent and ballots for the Arizona “fraudit”?

Trump’s campaign and political action committee have paid Binnall’s law firm more than $1.5 million for legal consulting since the election, federal campaign filings show. Binnall is now representing Trump in litigation relating to the Jan. 6 attack.

Wood told The Post on Monday that he had no involvement in contracting SullivanStrickler. Penrose, Kennedy, Maggio and Logan did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Network data purportedly obtained from Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, were presented at an August 2021 election-fraud symposium held by MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell in Sioux Falls, S.D., as The Post previously reported. That data was captured through a county guest wireless network, according to officials, and contained no sensitive information.

A Lindell ally who spoke at the symposium, Peters, the clerk in Mesa County, was later indicted on charges relating to an alleged breach of the voting system. Sensitive data from the system was leaked online. Peters denies wrongdoing. Authorities have not accused Powell’s group of involvement in the case.

‘I am authorizing payment’

While Maggio was awaiting payment for Nevada, SullivanStrickler’s forensics team was called on again, this time for work in Michigan.

On Dec. 4, 2020, a judge in rural Antrim County surprised local officials by ordering them to allow the plaintiff in an election lawsuit to take images of county vote tabulators. The lawsuit was filed by Matthew DePerno, a lawyer who is now the Trump-backed Republican nominee for Michigan attorney general.

State officials made moves to oppose the inspection, but the Trump allies saw their opening and moved swiftly. The county was already under intense scrutiny after initially reporting inaccurate vote tallies that showed Biden beating Trump in a Republican stronghold. The Post and others previously reported that investigators from SullivanStrickler flew to Antrim on a private jet for the inspection.

The new records show Maggio wrote to Binnall the following evening that his team had made it to Antrim and would begin work the next morning. “It is our assumption that we will be working under our existing agreement and maintain the same daily rate / conditions” as in Nevada, Maggio wrote.

A report based on purported findings from the Antrim examination was promoted publicly by Trump and circulated to Attorney General William P. Barr as evidence of fraud. Independent analysts said the report was badly flawed.

Barr told the congressional committee investigating the Jan 6. attack that Trump had said the report was “absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged” and that it meant he was “going to have a second term.” Barr said that the report was “amateurish,” and that Trump would have to be “detached from reality” to believe it.

The new records reveal it was Powell who authorized SullivanStrickler’s investigators to work on Antrim — and arranged to pay for their first day’s work. “I am authorizing payment today for Michigan,” Powell wrote to Maggio on Dec. 8, 2020. Maggio replied two days later to say the firm had received a check, adding, “thanks for executing.”

The Michigan judge’s order granting access to the machines had barred the “use, distribution or manipulation of the forensic images and/or other information gleaned from the forensic investigation without further order of this court.”

The new records show that after SullivanStrickler investigators copied the hard drive of an elections server in Antrim on Dec. 6, 2020, Maggio emailed Powell and Penrose, who were not involved in the local lawsuit. Maggio told them the Antrim files would be made available to download from a secure online folder once the firm was paid.

The Antrim data was later publicized during the same Lindell symposium where the Nevada data was shared.

“There’s no real control of this data once it gets copied,” said Kevin Skoglund, an expert retained by plaintiffs in the case. “It’s just loose and out in the world.”

Both Dominion and independent experts have said that, even with the release of data copied from election equipment, there are many safeguards in place to prevent attempts to alter results. Accuracy testing ahead of an election and post-election audits that include the hand-counting of ballots are among the measures intended to detect any such activity.

Two weeks after SullivanStrickler’s team went to Antrim, it began working for Powell in Wayne County. An expected wide margin of victory for Democrats in the county, home to majority-Black Detroit, had propelled Biden to victory in the state.

Trump’s campaign unsuccessfully sought to challenge Wayne County precinct tallies, and then tried to stop certification of the state’s results. The campaign cited alleged irregularities in absentee-vote counting, largely in Detroit.

On Dec. 21, Maggio sent an invoice described as “the retainer for the Wayne County, Michigan work, starting tomorrow. The expectation is that this will be paid prior to any work commencing,” Maggio wrote.

Powell responded a few minutes later, saying her employee would “transfer money promptly, with the understanding that I and Phil Waldron and Todd and Conan will receive a copy of all data immediately.” Powell’s employee was to send a check via FedEx, according to emails.

The emails are the first public indication that Trump allies sought to obtain Wayne County election data.

Wayne County elections officials did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

Dispatched to Coffee County

Allegations that machine data had been accessed in Coffee County, Ga., first surfaced in February this year as part of the long-running lawsuit. In a recording of a March 2021 telephone call filed in court, pro-Trump businessman Scott Hall said he had arranged for a plane to take people to Coffee County and joined them as they “went in there and imaged every hard drive of every piece of equipment” and scanned ballots. “We basically had the entire elections committee there,” Hall added. “And they said: ‘We give you permission. Go for it.’ ”

Former local elections official Misty Hampton told The Post earlier this year that she had allowed Hall and other outsiders into her office in the hope that they could identify machine vulnerabilities and show the “election was not done true and correct.” Hampton resigned under pressure last year because she falsified time sheets, according to county officials.

Until now, it was unclear whether those involved in the Coffee County effort successfully obtained data from voting machines. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office said in April that it was investigating the possibility of a breach but had found no evidence it had occurred.

So Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office either failed to discover the security breach out of incompetence, or his office was covering up the security breach. Either way, he should not continue to be Georgia’s Secretary of State.

The new records show that on the morning of Jan. 7, 2021, as Washington reeled from the attack on the Capitol, Maggio emailed Powell to say his team was “on our way to Coffee County Georgia to collect what we can from the Election/ Voting machines and systems,” adding later that the job was “going well.”

The data obtained by the investigators included copies of virtually every component of the county voting system, including the central tabulation server and a precinct tabulator, according to a directory of file names that Maggio’s lawyer sent the plaintiffs in the Georgia case.

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s interim deputy secretary of state, told The Post: “Rogue election officials will not be tolerated in Georgia. Prior to this latest disclosure, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and the State Election Board had already looped in appropriate authorities, including criminal law enforcement agencies, to assist in the investigation into the alleged unlawful access in Coffee County. That investigation continues and any wrongdoers should be prosecuted.”

Sounds like CYA to me.

A Jan. 7 retainer agreement sent by SullivanStrickler, covering the first day of work in Coffee County by four employees, said the firm was to be paid $26,000 upfront. Maggio noted to Powell in an email that this was in line with “our existing agreement.”

Maggio told Powell the following day that his team would again share the data it had collected. But more than three months then apparently passed, with no explanation given in the emails. In late April 2021, Penrose asked Maggio to send the data and to bill Stefanie Lambert, a lawyer who has represented Powell. Once this was agreed, Lambert replied, “Thank you!”

Maggio later emailed again with a password for accessing the data online and said that a physical copy was to be sent overnight by FedEx.

Lambert was identified this month by Michigan’s attorney general as one of nine people under investigation for an alleged scheme to improperly access voting machines in the state’s Roscommon, Barry and Missaukee counties. The alleged breaches involved machines made by Dominion and Election Systems & Software. Also named in the investigation were Logan of Cyber Ninjas; Penrose, the former intelligence official; and DePerno, the lawyer whose Antrim lawsuit secured access to the machines there.

The plaintiffs in Georgia have accused Raffensperger of failing to adequately examine the allegations, alleging in a court filing that his office tried to “avoid revealing that this extraordinary breach occurred and that a real investigation has not.” [What I said.]

Raffensperger’s lawyers responded in court this month by criticizing the plaintiffs for not revealing the Scott Hall telephone recording sooner. They said his office had conducted a “fruitful” forensic review of the county’s election management system and sought assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

In June 2021, state officials replaced Coffee County’s election management system server, the central computer used to tally election results.

Attorneys for Raffensperger have told the court that the secretary of state’s office took possession of the old server because a former elections official, whom they did not name, changed a password, making it impossible for others to get into the machine. Hampton told The Post she did not change any passwords.

Hampton’s successor said during a deposition for the lawsuit that his understanding was the server and another piece of equipment were replaced out of concern that they may have been compromised. He also said he was troubled to find a business card for Logan of Cyber Ninjas on Hampton’s desk after he arrived in April 2021, and that he reported this to state authorities but did not hear back about it.

Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer scientist who has studied security vulnerabilities in voting machines used in Georgia, is working as an expert for the plaintiffs. He said he feared political actors granted unfettered access to the machines could exploit such vulnerabilities, especially when their access went undetected for more than a year after the election, as it did in Coffee County.

“Where else that we don’t yet know about has this same kind of access been given?” Halderman said. “That’s the real danger.”

In May, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an advisory detailing security flaws it found in Dominion voting systems but emphasizing that there was no evidence those flaws had been exploited. CISA was responding in part to a report by Halderman and another researcher.

CISA, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, flagged the vulnerabilities to election officials in more than a dozen states that use the machines, and notified them of measures that would aid in detection or prevention of attempts to exploit the vulnerabilities.

Bruce P. Brown, a lawyer who represents the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, one of the plaintiffs in the Georgia lawsuit, said the state should institute hand-marked paper ballots immediately to protect the 2022 midterm elections.

“These Georgia counties are not equipped to protect their software from attacks from people bent on disrupting the democratic process,” Brown told The Post.