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Georgia county judge may unseal absentee ballots for fraud probe

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A Georgia judge might unseal absentee ballots in Fulton County so that a government watchdog can investigate allegations of voting fraud from the 2020 presidential election. An overwhelming majority of Atlanta lies within Fulton County.

A lawsuit filed in the Fulton County Superior Court alleges that fraudulent ballots were cast and other irregularities occurred as workers counted ballots at State Farm Arena on Election Night, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday. Ultimately, those claims were investigated and rebuked by the secretary of state’s office. Although, the judge overseeing the case—Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero—said he’s willing to order the ballots to be unsealed and examined by experts who Garland Favorito, a voting-integrity advocate, hired.

The Peach State was one of the most hotly contested swing states in the 2020 presidential election, as well as the subsequent U.S. Senate runoff elections in January. The state narrowly went for Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential race and for the Democratic challengers by slightly bigger margins in the two Senate runoffs, marking the first time in decades that historically red Georgia went blue.

RELATED: 2022 Midterms: David Perdue won’t run against Raphael Warnock

Amero at a Monday hearing requested a detailed scheme for ensuring the secrecy and security of the ballots. In accordance with state law, the ballots are under seal in the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk’s Office.

“We want to do this in such a way that dispels rumors and disinformation and sheds light,” Amero said at the hearing. “The devil’s in the details.”

Favorito’s case is part of a wave of lawsuits that have claimed fraud or misconduct in the November 3 presidential election. While some aimed to overturn Biden’s victory in the state, others aimed to alter election rules for the Senate runoffs. However, none of these succeeded.

Nonetheless, the allegations of fraud have prompted a wave of controversial legislation in the Georgia legislature that could restrict voting on the grounds of election security. These bills have come under intense scrutiny from civil liberties groups, arguing that these would disenfranchise voters of color.

Last week, the watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, accusing his office of violating the Georgia Open Records Act. In November, Judicial Watch asked for documents pertaining to a 2020 settlement agreement that required additional steps before absentee ballots could be thrown out for mismatched voter signatures. They also asked for documents pertaining to the processing of absentee ballots in November.

The group’s case, filed in the Fulton County Superior Court, says Raffensperger’s office still hasn’t provided the requested documents.

Read the full original Atlanta Journal-Constitution report here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Elections

BREAKING: Clinton herself ‘agreed’ to leak Trump-Russia allegations to press

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Remember this 2016 post from Hillary herself just days away from the election? During Friday’s trial of her former attorney Michael Sussmann, some juicy details behind this vey post have emerged.

“Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, said that Clinton ‘agreed’ to leak allegations that the Trump Organization had a secret communications channel with Russia’s Alfa Bank to the media during his Friday testimony” reports National Review.

The media “report” Hillary tweeted about above, was spoon-fed to them with her blessing. Mook also revealed the “purpose” for the campaign to leak it to the press was to have a reporter “run it down” further and “vet it out.”

As for Mrs. Clinton’s involvement, Mook added that he “discussed it with Hillary as well” after which, “she agreed to” their decision to turn the loose gossip over to the press.

She was then able to use Slate’s “reporting” to discuss the fake collusion publicly. Clinton then tweeted the campaign’s press release on the “statement from Jake Sullivan on New Report Exposing Trump’s Secret Line of Communication to Russia.”

FBI agent James Baker, the then-agent who Sussmann took the Alfa Bank information to, testified in the trial Wednesday. He said he was “100 percent confident” that Sussmann said he wasn’t representing a client when they met.

A text message from Sussmann to Baker from the day prior reads: “Jim — it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”

National Review reports of the case:

The former FBI general counsel said that he would have treated the meeting and subsequent investigation differently had he known Sussmann was coming forward on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

 The evidence that Sussmann delivered to Baker came in the form of Domain Name System (DNS) data that allegedly showed frequent communications between servers associated with the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank. The data was provided to Sussmann by Joffe, an executive at the cybersecurity firm Neustar, which was also being represented by Sussmann as part of his role as a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm.

FBI agent Scott Hellman testified Tuesday that he was immediately skeptical of the data and accompanying analysis that suggested illicit communications between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank. In fact, the quality of the analysis was so poor, that Hellman questioned whether its source had a “mental disability” in a private chat with FBI colleagues, obtained by prosecutors.

Opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which Perkins Coie hired to work on behalf of the Clinton campaign, translated the DNS data into laymen’s terms and pitched it to various reporters, including Franklin Foer, a writer for Slate.

 “We certainly hoped that he would publish an article,” former Fusion GPS employee Lauren Seago testified.

Foer obliged them, touting the claims in an article published on October 31, 2016, a little over a week before Election Day.

 

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