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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: giuliani election lies

Giuliani May Face Prosecution For Overseeing Fake Elector Scheme

Disgraced ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is in ‘significant trouble’ for his role in orchestrating a plot to send fake Electoral College electors to Washington, DC to steal the 2020 election for former President Donald Trump, ex-prosecutors explained to The Guardian on Monday.

Giuliani served as Trump’s pro-bono personal lawyer throughout his single term.

The scheme involved individuals who claimed to be the “real” electors from seven states that Trump lost to President-Elect Joe Biden. Their objective – which was predicated on Trump’s lie that the presidential contest was rigged against him – was to have their votes counted in lieu of the legitimate electors that were chosen by voters. Or, at the very least, the imposters sought to sow doubt about which electors were legitimate. It was a last-ditch effort to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election in favor of Trump, which he did not. That, in turn, led to Trump inciting the deadly insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

Experts believe that Giuliani and those who participated are facing serious legal repercussions for attempting to subvert an American election.

“The threats to Giuliani come from multiple directions,” Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the Department of Justice, told The Guardian. “Evidence is growing that he was at the center of a series of schemes to change the election results – by fraud and by force. As the investigations focus more closely on the people Giuliani recruited to change the election results on January 6 and before, his criminal exposure grows as the number of witnesses against him multiplies.”

Michael Zeldin, a Harvard University Institute of Politics fellow and former federal prosecutor, said if the evidence shows that “Giuliani improperly influenced or attempted to improperly influence the election, potentially, he could be charged with state and federal crimes including: falsifying voting documents, fraud, false statements, mail/wire fraud or even conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Others noted that Giuliani’s proximity to Trump put him in a uniquely influential position that tied him to multiple efforts to thwart democracy.

“Giuliani was the cog of Trump’s flywheel to overturn the election, getting other Trump allies to act and leaving his imprint for investigators to find,” said former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut. “He’s reportedly key in the bogus slate scheme. That’s dangerous for Giuliani, because forgeries disprove innocent intent. In a conspiracy, which DOJ could charge as to the fake electors, a conviction doesn’t require that he solicited, or even knew about the forgeries, but only that he participated in a conspiratorial plot involving fake electors to help overturn the election.”

Giuliani is also facing a possible subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol if he refuses to cooperate.

“Giuliani’s information about various schemes that Trump promoted to block Biden’s win could potentially be very helpful to the House inquiry,” Zeldin said. “If Rudy provides significant cooperation (which is unlikely) he could help the panel unravel some of the major ways that Trump tried to thwart Biden’s election victory including, most significantly, whether there was any coordination or pre-planning between Trump and those who stormed the US Capitol.”

Lawmakers on the bipartisan congressional panel maintain that Giuliani’s testimony is critical to their probe and that they “fully expect that, in accordance with the law, we’ll hear from Rudy,” Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of only two Republicans serving on the Committee, said on CBS’s Face the Nation earlier this month.

Michael Moore, a former United States attorney from Georgia, said that Giuliani’s plan failed in part because of how haphazardly and amateurishly the entire tactic was assembled.

“For Giuliani and his crew to have legal trouble, you don’t have to get much more into the facts than to understand that he was orchestrating fake slates of electors, based on fake reports of fraud, using faked documents, to fake the outcome of the election, and then submitting those fake documents to government officials,” said Moore.

“That is a conspiracy that a kindergartener could unravel,” he added. “The submission of the pro-Trump fake elector certificates to the National Archives was about as smart as taking the note that you used to rob the bank to the frame shop.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Remember Wacky Mellissa From Michigan? She’s A Candidate Now

In December 2020, MAGA Republican Mellissa Carone was attorney Rudy Giuliani’s “star witness” at a Michigan State House Oversight Committee hearing — where she claimed, with zero proof, that Michigan had been stolen from then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Now, in the 2022 midterms, Carone is running for a seat in the Michigan State Legislature — and she is still promoting the Big Lie.

Journalist Brittany Gibson, in an article published by Politico on February 21, explains, “Carone is one of a large cohort of pro-Trump Republican conspiracy theorists and election deniers running for public office this fall in Michigan, where his baseless claims about a stolen election continue to roil the political landscape. Among those candidates, Carone might be the best known nationally.”

Giuliani was one of Trump’s top attorneys during and after the 2020 election — and the former New York City mayor claimed, in December 2020, that Carone’s testimony would prove that Trump really won Michigan. But she never offered any proof of her over-the-top claims, and election recounts left no doubt that Biden won the state fairly.

Gibson notes, “In an affidavit from November 10, 2020 — six days after the AP called Michigan for Joe Biden — she alleged that some ballots were counted four or five times; that more than 100,000 ballots were then ‘found’ after vans dropped off food for the poll workers; that poll workers were filling out ballots on behalf of voters — and that her managers, who were responsible for overseeing the voting site where she was present and submitting the data, were incompetent…. She snapped at lawmakers from both parties and went on a tangent about dead people voting.”

Carone’s unhinged testimony was famously mocked in a Saturday Night Live skit, with SNL star Cecily Strong playing Carone. Carone claimed that Dominion Voting Systems helped Biden steal the election from Trump in Michigan, and the company sent her a cease-and-desist order.


Some of Trump’s allies have endorsed Carone’s 2022 campaign for a Michigan state legislature seat, including Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. But Trump himself has yet to endorse her.

So far, no Democrat in Carone’s district has filed to run for that seat. And Mark Brewer, who formerly chaired the Michigan Democracy Party, believes that Carone has a good chance of winning.

“A lot of the Republican base here, particularly in Macomb County, believes Trump should have been elected, the election was stolen, there should be an audit — I mean, the whole story,” Brewer told Politico. “And that’ll be what Carone will play to. A lot of Republican primary voters believe in the Big Lie …. If she gets through a primary, she could win.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet


New York Court Suspends Giuliani’s Law License Over Election Lies

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rudy Giuliani was suspended on Thursday from practicing law in New York State, after a panel of judges found he violated the professional rules of conduct in his effort to overturn former President Donald Trump's 2020 election loss.

"We conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at reelection in 2020," the judges' decision read.

They continued, "We conclude that respondent's conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law."

Giuliani can fight the interim suspension. However, the judges wrote that his conduct was egregious enough that it would likely "result in substantial permanent sanctions" and decided to suspend his license until a full investigation could be completed.

Giuliani's suspension marks a stunning fall from grace for the former New York City mayor, who once served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York — one of the most prestigious federal court districts in the country, which prosecutes some of the most high profile financial crimes and terror cases.

The decision was scathing, saying Giuliani lied multiple times about everything from dead people voting to the number of absentee ballots cast as part of his campaign to overturn Trump's loss.

It also said Giuliani's "misconduct directly inflamed tensions that bubbled over into the events of January 6, 2021 in this nation's Capitol," referring to the pro-Trump insurrection that resulted in several deaths, tens of millions of dollars in damage and repairs, and federal charges against at least 500 people.

The decision also pointed to Giuliani's disastrous appearance before a federal court in Pennsylvania — in which the Trump campaign sought to overturn Trump's election loss in the state — as a violation of New York's Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers.

Giuliani, they said, "repeatedly represented to the court that his client, the plaintiff, was pursuing a fraud claim, when indisputably it was not." The decision added that Giuliani's "mischaracterization of the case was not simply a passing mistake or inadvertent reference. Fraud was the crown of his personal argument before the court that day."

The judges similarly cited Giuliani's now infamous press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, during which he claimed that champion boxer Joe Frazier was "still voting" in Pennsylvania despite being dead. That allegation, unsurprisingly, turned out to be false.

"The public records submitted on this motion unequivocally show that [Giuliani's] statement is false," the judges' decision read. "Public records show that Pennsylvania formally cancelled Mr. Frazier's eligibility to vote on February 8, 2012, three months after he died."

Giuliani told the court that he didn't know his statement was false. The court disagreed.

"As for respondent's argument that his misstatements were unknowing, respondent fails to provide a scintilla of evidence for any of the varying and wildly inconsistent numbers of dead people he factually represented voted in Philadelphia during the 2020 presidential election," the judges wrote.

Giuliani is currently facing other legal challenges for his role in trying to overturn Trump's loss.

Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Giuliani in late January, claiming he had lied about the voting machine company and had pushed false claims that its tech had been rigged to swing the election for President Joe Biden.

Smartmatic USA, another voting machine company, also filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Giuliani, as well as Fox News and fellow lawyer Sidney Powell, in February, claiming he and Trump's allies had knowingly pushed damaging conspiracies about the company in their attempt to overturn the election.

Giuliani's lawyers responded to the court's decision on Thursday, saying in a statement that the move to suspend him was "unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest."

"We believe that once the issues are fully explored at a hearing, Mr. Giuliani will be reinstated as a valued member of the legal profession that he has served so well in his many capacities for so many years," they added.

Correction: This article was updated to note that Giuliani served previously as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, not district attorney.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Arizona Legislators Still Pursuing Giuliani’s 2020 Fraud Fantasy

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

After winning a lawsuit to take possession of all of the 2020 presidential ballots and election equipment in Arizona's most populous county, Arizona's Republican-led Senate is poised to take 2020's post-election brawls into new territory where investigating unproven claims of electronically stolen votes, not widespread illegal voting, will be center stage.

Many Republicans, including Arizona legislators, have voiced their belief that former President Trump was unfairly denied a second term, citingvarious vote-centered conspiracies. In 61 out of 62 post-election lawsuits filed by Trump's allies across the country, scores of federal and state judges rejected those assertions as groundless and lacking proof.

But now that Arizona's Senate has affirmed its authority to investigate the accuracy of 2020's presidential vote count in America's second-largestelection jurisdiction—Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located—the focus has shifted from legislators fanning unproven claims of stolen votes to whether Republican lawmakers will conduct a credible evidence-centered inquiry.

"The Senate has and is doing a 100 percent audit, which is why we fought so hard to have access to all the data and documents," Arizona Senate President Karen Fann wrote on Facebook on March 2. "We are doing extensive research, interviewing, and background checks to make sure we find the best team available… This is and has always been about election integrity and getting answers to our constituents' questions and concerns."

The exercise will not change the election results, which have been certified. Trump lost Arizona by 10,457 votes, a closer margin than in Georgia, where that GOP-led state conducted a manual hand count of all of its presidential election ballots, and then electronically recounted those same paper ballots. It twice confirmed Joe Biden's victory over Trump before certifying the result. The investigation that is taking shape in Arizona could be as thorough as what was undertaken in Georgia, or it could descend into political theater to placate Trump's base.

"As you know, there is no credible evidence for any of the conspiracy theories that have abounded about the 2020 General Election," wroteArizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, to Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen on March 3. "If your goal is truly to rebuild public confidence in our democracy, it is imperative that you establish and abide by clear procedures and parameters for the security and confidentiality of the ballots and election equipment while in your custody and ensure independence and transparency should you proceed with any further audit."

A Closer Look At 2020's Closest Swing State?

Immediately after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason's February 25 ruling authorizing the state Senate's subpoenas, the county's supervisors—where four out of five are Republicans—said that they would not appeal. Its election staff began transferring the election materials, starting with 11 gigabytes of activity logs from its hundreds of voting machines.

What soon became apparent was that the senators had been more focused on winning in court than on planning the investigation that they hoped to take on. For example, the Senate had not yet secured a site for truckloads of materials, starting with 2.1 million paper ballots in sealed boxes on 70 pallets, hundreds of voting machines and tabulators, vote count management systems and the related data—digital images of every ballot cast, machine activity logs, and more.

As the first week of March began, election experts in Arizona were skeptical that the exercise would be a serious effort to examine the accuracy of Maricopa County's 2020 results.

"In this case, Sen. Fann and House members are chasing down a rabbit hole that was proposed by Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell back in November. Now they're trying to find the evidence," said Benny White, a longtime Republican Party election observer in Pima County, which is not far from Phoenix. "I don't want to talk poorly about my legislators, but I don't know what the hell they are doing. They don't understand election administration at all. They don't understand how these machines work. They don't understand how votes are calculated and aggregated. They are in a political position where they think they have to do something [to respond to Trump supporters]. So they're trying to do something."

Some of White's skepticism came from Fann's prior endorsement of a proposal by a Texas firm, Allied Security Operations Group (ASOG), that had made unfounded claims about the process in Michigan and Arizona. ASOG's "scope of work" said it would "hand count approximately 550,000 of the following paper ballots and scan approximately 55,000 of the following paper ballots… over a 7-10 day period on site in Arizona for a firm, fixed price fee of $10,000."

White and others said that proposal was not serious. A precise audit does not cherry-pick what ballots to examine, he said, and its fee was unrealistically low. Fann later distanced herself from ASOG. While neither Fann nor other Senate Republican spokespeople would speak on the record, several background interviews suggested that the enormity of the actual task before the Republicans was dawning on them.

"My concern is I'm not sure if they know what they're looking for—or looking at," said Tammy Patrick, who served for 11 years as the federal compliance officer for Maricopa County's elections department, has served on a presidential commission for election reform, and now is the senior adviser for elections at the Democracy Fund, a philanthropic organization. "I also don't think they understand the volume of materials they are talking about. You're talking about at least one semitractor load for the ballots alone. What are their security protocols going to be?"

Most of Hobbs' letter to the Senate Republican leaders concerned maintaining a catalog of security and inventory controls for the ballots and machinery, as well as urging the Senate to plan for bipartisan teams to count ballots and be as transparent as possible as it proceeded.

"I implore you to treat your responsibility for the custody, security, and integrity of those items with the same level of vigilance that election officials across this State treat that responsibility," the secretary of state wrote. "I again urge you not to waste taxpayer resources chasing false claims of fraud that will only further erode public confidence in our election processes and elected officials."

What Will They Do? Who Will Do It?

Maricopa County, and Arizona as a state, both have reputations for well-run elections. While no election is error-free, election officials have extensive protocols that test their voting system hardware and software, their voting machine performance, and the vote count's accuracy before and after Election Day—before results are certified. While vote count audits don't review every vote cast, the process includes political parties choosing samples of ballots that are examined by hand, which was done following November's election. In response to Trump supporters' claims of secret manipulation of vote counts—and GOP legislators encouraging those claims—the county hired two national voting system testing laboratories to examine whether their hardware or software had been hacked or hijacked. They found no breaches.

"What's wild in all of this is that all of the voting equipment had logic and accuracy tests, and those logic and accuracy test reports could be reviewed," Patrick said. "The machinery has also undergone the [post-election] forensic test that was done by two federal testing labs. The challenge that I've had with some of this is that voting systems are not just like every other electronic device that's out there. There are some very specific things that you need to understand about voting systems in order to know what you're looking at and what it means."

"There's not a lot of point to what they're proposing," she said, assessing the Senate's probe. "They wanted a forensic report, and they got one. And now that's not enough. Even if they bring in their own specialists, they're not going to find anything, because there is no 'there' there."

As the week progressed, background interviews with reputable experts advising the Republicans said that the Senate investigation, ideally, would have three focal points.

Like Georgia, there would be a full manual hand count of every paper ballot—a massive operation involving potentially hundreds of workers in a giant warehouse. Unlike Georgia, but like the state of Maryland—whose electorate is larger than Maricopa County's—there would be an independent audit of all of the digital ballot images created by scanners. Even though voters cast paper ballots, digital images of every ballot card are what is counted by Maricopa's voting system. Third, there would be an analysis of the system's software and activity logs—detailing every operation by each voting machine—to ensure that the ballot images were correctly read and counted.

These steps, if all undertaken and not marred by predetermined conclusions, would arguably be more comprehensive than what Georgia did to verify its 2020 presidential vote. Where politics would re-enter is when Arizona's Republican legislators have to stand by the results of their process that, in all likelihood, will affirm Trump's loss. Thus, in 2020's two presidential swing states with the closest 2020 margins and histories of electing Republicans for president, the evidence would show that Biden won.

But before that assessment can occur, the Senate has to hire credible contractors and a reputable audit manager—possibly a former state election director like Detroit did before its 2020 general election. Additionally, the legislature's investigation will have to demonstrate the same level of security and inventory controls that are required of local election officials—a point underscored by Hobbs in her letter to the Senate Republican leaders.

"You have stated previously that you believe a further audit by the Senate is critical for the people of Arizona to be able to move forward and trust the 2020 General Election results. I respectfully disagree," she wrote. "But I believe we can agree that proceeding without clear procedures for the security of the ballots and election equipment when they are in your custody, and clear procedures to ensure the integrity, independence, and transparency of the audit itself and the auditors selected, will only open the door to more conspiracy theories and further erosion of voters' confidence in Arizona's elections processes."

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.