by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 12, 2021) — In an interview Thursday with Steve Bannon of “War Room,” Michigan attorney Matt DePerno claimed to have proof from “forensic images” acquired through an Antrim County investigation demonstrating that the county’s voter database was accessed “remotely” following the November 3, 2020 election and before the state’s November 21 certification of the results.
The exchange with Bannon amplified DePerno’s recent tweets beginning on Wednesday. “1. We have been lied to. The Antrim County election management system (EMS) was REMOTELY and successfully logged into anonymously on 11/05/2020 at 5:55 PM and again on 11/17/2020 at 5:16 PM. Yes, that is correct . . . REMOTELY,” DePerno tweeted during the early hours of June 9, followed by several more comments.
The same day, DePerno filed a Motion for Reconsideration and other documents in his case with the Circuit Court for the County of Antrim claiming “subversion” in the tabulation of November 3 votes allegedly affecting not only the presidential election, which Michigan declared in Joe Biden’s favor, but also the results of “down ballot races” and calling for a complete audit.
“We’ve proved now that there was direct access to the Antrim County election management system,” DePerno told Bannon. “We can see it in the forensic images that an anonymous user logged on to the EMS remotely with escalated privileges and made changes to the database when they were trying to retabulate the election…That is pretty damning for the non-forensic reviewers out there, people who do not want a forensic audit.”
In recent tweets DePerno called upon Michigan lawmakers to conduct an audit similar to one currently ongoing in Maricopa County, AZ which legislators from at least nine other states have visited over the past week. More are expected Saturday, the Twitter account Audit War Room reported Friday.
DePerno’s probe came about as a result of a civil lawsuit filed in December on behalf of a voter against the county, William Bailey v. Antrim County, et al, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Director of Elections Jonathan Brater alleging violations of state election laws.
Another “explosive” finding, DePerno further told Bannon, is that certain “black boxes” located on the side of each ballot “were all intentionally modified…in order to generate errors. What does an error do? In this case, by modifying those specific blocks, they were able to cause rejections for Republican ballots, meaning if you voted for Donald Trump and then put your ballot in the machine, your ballot was rejected at a rate of 20% more than a Joe Biden ballot.”
Bannon asked DePerno if he believes he can “make the case” for a “full forensic audit” of the November 3 election, to which DePerno replied, “Oh, absolutely. If they would allow us to come and talk to them — they refused to let us talk to them because once we talk to them and brief them, once they see my two volumes of evidence, there’s no way they can un-see it. But right now they’ve refused to talk to us, but we’re getting closer. We’ve so far sent 3,500 affidavits to the Michigan Senate demanding a forensic audit.”
DePerno is not alone in seeking a full audit of Michigan’s results. On Thursday, former Michigan state senator Pat Colbeck, referred to by a “Lawyers for Trump” election observer in a recent interview with The Post & Email, told Big League Politics that “It’s just a matter of consolidating that information and putting it in terms that actually hopefully explain a little better exactly what happened in this 2020 election because it was stolen. There was rampant fraud.”
On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland held a press conference to announce a doubling of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division with the purpose of “protecting the right to vote.” The Justice Department’s scrutiny of some states’ new voting laws, Garland said, might include “any post-election audits for evidence of voting law violations.“
Business Insider described Garland’s remarks as a “rebuke” of “GOP-backed sham audits and ballot reviews as ‘based on disinformation.'” “Arizona is now nearly two months into an unprecedented and highly controversial recounting exercise of millions of ballots in Maricopa County, which Garland mentioned without naming the county or the state,” the outlet wrote.
CBS News reported that “In response to the weakening of the federal voting rights law by the Supreme Court in 2013, Attorney General Merrick Garland made a commitment to expand the Justice Department’s efforts to protect voting rights, announcing a series of actions aimed at confronting state and local efforts that he said ‘will make it harder to vote.'”
In a May 28 article titled, “Voting Rights Under Attack,” CNN reported, “Fourteen states have enacted 22 new laws making it harder to vote…These 22 laws in 14 states mark a new record for restrictive voting laws since 2011, when the Brennan Center recorded 19 laws enacted in 14 state legislatures. Most of the new laws make it harder to vote absentee and by mail, after a record number of Americans voted by mail in November.”
State legislatures which have passed, and the governor signed, new election legislation are Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida, while the state of Connecticut is seeking to institute early voting and other changes to its constitution to ease “tight restrictions,” according to The Hartford Courant.
Early and extended use of absentee ballots in Connecticut was defeated in a referendum in 2014.
In response to Garland’s remarks, DePerno tweeted, “A source tells me Merrick Garland and the DOJ are weighing two options:  shut down the AZ audit by seizing everything now or  allowing the results to be published. They are debating the anger of 72 million voters vs. the potential decertification of multiple states.”
An earlier response to Garland’s remarks from Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers suggested that Garland focus the Justice Department’s resources on “stopping terrorism.” “You will not touch Arizona ballots or machines unless you want to spend time in an Arizona prison,” she tweeted. “…The Justice Department is one of the most corrupt institutions in the USA.”
To DePerno’s comment, Rogers tweeted, “The free state of Arizona will not tolerate this federal meddling.”
Various Democrat groups, including several law firms, had attempted to halt the Maricopa audit before it began, eventually appealing to the Justice Department, whose Civil Rights Division wrote a letter in early May to Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann asking for assurance that federal voting laws would not be violated by audit processes. “The Department has reviewed available information, including news reports and complaints regarding the procedures being used for this audit,” Karlan, a Biden appointee, wrote. “The information of which we are aware raises concerns regarding at least two issues of potential non-compliance with federal laws enforced by the Department…Past experience with similar investigative efforts around the country has raised concerns that they can be directed at minority voters, which potentially can implicate the anti-intimidation prohibitions of the Voting Rights Act. Such investigative efforts can have a significant intimidating effect on qualified voters that can deter them from seeking to vote in the future.”
According to the Audit War Room account, a delegation from the Michigan legislature toured the Maricopa audit premises on Friday, a development for which DePerno has advocated.
According to the account, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, an ardent Trump opponent who voted in favor of his second impeachment along with House Democrats and lost her position as conference chair of the House Republican Conference, “is trying to shut us down.”
On May 13 CBS News reported of Cheney’s removal:
On the eve of the vote, Cheney delivered a defiant speech on the House floor, warning her party that she “will not sit back and watch in silence” as Mr. Trump makes baseless claims that he won the election.
“This is not about policy, this is not about partisanship, this is about our duty as Americans,” Cheney said. “Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”
In a series of tweets Friday night, Arizona state representative Mark Finchem (R), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, wrote that “proof” of “foreign electronic intervention” in the state’s election was reported to the Justice Department prior to the launch of the Maricopa County audit, receiving no response.
“AG Garland would like to engage in the prosecutions that should arise from quite possibly the biggest racketeering case in American history?” Finchem punctuated his four-tweet commentary.
According to former New York City Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik of the DOJ, “Had they done their job and initiated an investigation into the November 3 election, Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan for starters would have seen Trump victories.”
The Maricopa audit is reportedly near completion, with One America News Network (OAN) suggesting that the ballot count reported and certified by the governor and secretary of state may demonstrate a shortage.
Update, June 15, 2021: The Post & Email neglected to clarify that DePerno’s Antrim County case, #29-9238-CZ, was dismissed on May 18, 2021. In his recent filings, DePerno took issue with 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer’s decision, which DePerno said was based on Elsenheimer’s assertion that the plaintiff, William Bailey, received all of the relief to which he was entitled under Michigan law.
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