Georgia prosecutors have reportedly obtained text messages linking a breach of voting machines to members of Donald Trump’s team as a grand jury prepares to hear evidence in a case surrounding the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
The state investigation, which is separate from a federal probe and indictment charging Trump with three criminal conspiracies and obstruction in connection with 2020 election subversion, appears to connect Trump-linked attorneys and operatives to a breach of voting machines in Coffee County. According to text messages obtained by CNN, a local elections official allegedly sent a “written invitation” to attorneys working for then-President Trump as they searched for evidence of fraud to undermine Joe Biden’s victory.
Furthermore, a former Trump official informed the House select committee investigating January 6 and attempts to overturn election results that White House officials had discussed plans to access voting machines in Georgia during an Oval Office meeting in December 2020.
While the focus of the Georgia case has been on Trump’s call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes, investigators have also scrutinized the actions in Coffee County. Prosecutors argue that attempts to infiltrate sensitive voting machine software were a top-down effort from the former president, as he won the rural county with 70% of the vote.
Text messages reveal that Katherine Friess, an attorney working with Trump-allied attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, shared an “invitation” to examine the county’s Dominion Voting Systems software before the breach. Additionally, Ms. Powell had enlisted a forensics company to investigate Michigan machines. Ms. Friess also sent a “Letter of invitation to Coffee County, Georgia” to former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who was working with Mr. Giuliani to support baseless claims of voter fraud.
The texts reportedly indicate that Mr. Trump’s team had obtained written permission for the breach. Data obtained from the Dominion Voting Systems software was then uploaded to a password-protected website accessible to election deniers across the country.
Robert Costello, Mr. Giuliani’s attorney, denies his client’s involvement in the matter, stating that Giuliani had nothing to do with Sidney Powell’s idea. However, the case led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is the result of a wide-ranging investigation over the past two years into Trump’s pressure campaign targeting state officials to reject the election results. The district attorney’s office has notified at least two witnesses to appear before a grand jury next week, indicating that indictments may be issued soon. Willis has previously indicated that the grand jury would vote on indictments by the end of August.