Ohio candidate who wants to run elections has made an abundance of dubious and fantastical claims
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Terpsehore “Tore” Maras, the podcaster who helped engineer the fictitious narrative that the 2020 election was stolen through electronic vote manipulation, has pointedly rejected the label “conspiracy theorist,” calling it a pejorative deployed against her “by certain politically motivated media outlets seeking to minimize her candidacy” for secretary of state in Ohio.

Despite her aversion to the “conspiracy theorist” label, Maras has used a similar term to describe herself, albeit sarcastically. In 2017, Maras appeared as a guest on a podcast hosted by Douglas Hagmann, a private investigator who is responsible for pushing the Pizzagate hoax into the right-wing media ecosystem roughly a week before the 2016 election. Eight months later, Maras told Hagmann: “We need to remember that every single United States president is related — except for that Dutch guy and Trump. Remember that. Even Obama is related to every single — genetically related to every single president before him. Can you guys let that sink in? Isn’t it weird how us tinfoil-hatters are now actually the ones with the truth?”

It's a rare example of a claim by Maras that can be verified: In 2010, a California middle schooler traced the genealogy of all US presidents, with the exception of Martin Van Buren, back to a 13th Century English king. Earlier media reports have linked Obama to the Bush family.

Maras has drawn on a dubious backstory claiming to have worked as a contractor for US intelligence agencies to assert firsthand knowledge of an array of fantastical scenarios, including witnessing the development of a “cyphertext” that was supposedly pitched to intelligence “top brass” in 1999 and later used to swap votes in the 2020 election.

Last month, during a joint podcast with former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, Maras claimed that having “worked under” President Obama, she could say from firsthand knowledge that he is gay. That claim has been widely debunked.

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Even court decisions finding against her have become fodder for Maras to launch new conspiratorial claims. Maras has disputed a North Dakota judge’s finding of fact, ultimately upheld on appeal by the state supreme court — that she violated a consumer fraud law and created “an entirely fake online persona.” Following the death of former North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem earlier this year from a reported cardiac arrest, Maras told Byrne: “Look at me with the North Dakota attorney general, right? The guy killed himself and took three years of DOJ emails with him. Deleted. No one went to jail for that.”

The 2017 fundraising campaign that brought Maras to the attention of the state Attorney General’s office presented a collateral tribute to Donald Trump, while mimicking the reality TV star turned president's audacity. The publicity surrounding the planned Magic City Christmas concert in Minot, ND featured bold claims to make great things happen, while calling out state-level “swamp” corruption. Maras even issued a personal invitation to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. And taking a cue from Trump, when state officials began to scrutinize Maras, she turned to a host of far-right media personalities for help in amplifying unfounded accusations against the Attorney General’s office.

In a court filing responding to a civil complaint by the Attorney General’s office, Maras claims to have met Trump’s advance team in Bismarck as they were preparing for an upcoming visit to the state by the president. During the purported meeting, Maras has said she conveyed concerns about funds to assist the city of Minot following a devastating flood that took place in 2011. She said she was selected “as one of 500 people who were specially invited to meet with President Donald Trump” when he visited Mandan the next month. Shortly afterwards, Maras said, she began organizing the Magic City Christmas event in Minot, where she lived at the time with her husband and two children.

The concert was advertised as featuring Kris Paronto, a former Blackwater security contractor who survived the Benghazi attack; actor Corey Feldman, who has raised awareness about the problem of pedophilia in Hollywood; Christian music singer Jason Crabb, and Crystal Neria aka Kaya Jones, a singer who was named Native American Ambassador for Trump despite having no verified ties with any tribe.

The website for A Magic City Christmas included a “Charity” page that stated that the event wasn’t “just for funding our local homeless shelters but the community too,” according to the Attorney General’s office, while displaying the logos of three local homeless shelters. The “Donate” link at the bottom of the “Charity” page linked to Maras’ PayPal account.

According to a motion for summary judgment filed by the Attorney General’s office, Maras’ took in a succession of donations in November 2017 from local businesses and a bank that she deposited in a bank account under the name “ML Labs.” Following each donation, the Attorney General alleges, Maras spent down the balance on purchases at McDonalds, Walmart, Target, local grocery stores and a leasing company.

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In November 2017, Maras received a $1,500 donation from a business named KRJ Safety Solutions, which she deposited into a bank account she set up the previous month under the name “ML Labs,” and then made purchases from McDonalds and local grocery store, according to a motion for summary judgment filed by the Attorney General. The only expenditures related to the event were payments totaling $1,825 to Neria, according to the Attorney General, and two attempted payments of $5,000 to Feldman did not clear due to insufficient funds.

After Maras announced plans for A Magic City Christmas, the city of Minot issued a press release making it clear that the city was not involved in the event and requested that Maras stop using the official city coin in the logo for the event. Likewise, a representative of the Bank of North Dakota asked Maras to take its logo off the event website. By early December, the Attorney General’s office was asking questions about the event through a series of “Orders to Produce Information.”

A fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding site Fundly soon cropped up, intimating that the troubles surrounding the event stemmed from retaliation against the organizers’ invitation to President Trump to appear as a special guest at the concert in northwestern North Dakota city of 47,000.

“We wanted to do what the city hasn’t, the state hasn’t or previous administration hasn’t,” the fundraising appeal began. “That is bring light to some very dark secrets of how politics really do work… but it got uglier.”

The fundraising page alleged without providing specific detail that some sponsors pulled out because the event was “too Christian,” while “others snarked at the idea that we had the ‘audacity’ to invite our President.”

The event’s organizers soon began engaging conspiracy-oriented right-wing websites. In a motion filed to dismiss the Attorney General’s civil complaint, Maras said that on Dec. 11, 2017 “reporters for alternative media sites such as Rightnews, InfoWars and such had collected information indicating this was politically motivated since the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump was invited,” adding that Assistant Attorney General Brian Card “knows that the executive director of InfoWars was copied on the emails I would send them asking questions.”

A printout of the @MagicCityXmas Twitter account submitted into evidence in the case indicates that Jack Posobiec, a former Navy Reserve intelligence officer who conducted an in-person investigation of Pizzagate, was enlisted in the cause of striking back at Maras’ perceived enemies.

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“AG of North Dakota has been naughty, naughty, naughty,” Posobiec wrote in a tweet that was approvingly reshared by the @MagicCityXmas account. “And I have the emails.”

On Dec. 14, a Twitter account named “Tore” with the handle @drlindeman (her married name) tweeted, “Looks like AG offices do a lot of…” followed by a strongarm emoji and the hashtag #DrainTheDeepState. “I’m David, nice to meet you Goliath,” the tweet continued. “I’ve got #MAGA army behind me - #askme I’m ready #emails.” The tweet tagged Posobiec, InfoWars host Alex Jones and Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe.

“This email is a direct threat,” Maras wrote in an email to Card in March 2018, responding to his warning that her false allegations on Twitter against the Attorney General’s office potentially could run afoul of the state law against threatening public servants.

“Don’t like me talking about it on Twitter?” Maras told Card. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

In the rambling email, which mentioned retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and former FBI Director James Comey, Maras said she had told his boss, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem: “If you want a circus, I have the monkeys.”

Maras continued by daring Card to bring criminal charges against her.

“We can make this the GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH !!!!” she wrote.

In a brief supporting her motion to dismiss filed in August 2018, Maras claimed that she and Stenehjem had “a long-established history of her whistleblower investigations against his actions as attorney general since 2010.” Maras’ motion referenced an email on a laptop seized by the FBI from former Congressman Anthony Weiner, Abedin’s husband, while vaguely mentioning “emails that indicate a possible connection to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem” and a connection to an investigation of a company that placed foreign guest workers in North Dakota.

The Attorney General’s office responded with a motion that heaped scorn on Maras’ suggestion that the state’s enforcement action to protect citizens from consumer fraud was somehow motivated by a nefarious motive to cover up corruption.

“Online, defendant claimed the attorney general’s enforcement action was because she invited President Trump to her A Magic City Christmas event, because of the diversity of the cast, and because the event as putting ‘Christ back into Christmas,” Card wrote. “And now, those arguments having failed her, defendant claims that the Attorney General’s action is precipitated by her supposed ‘whistleblower investigations,’ all buttressed by outlandish claims of being an expert in ‘Title IV cases’ and an author who is published by outlets like the Washington Post. Defendant’s real motive for her claim is part of her attempt to develop a false narrative that the attorney general is improperly motivated by some desire to silence defendant. In reality, defendant seeks to conceal that her attacks are part of an effort to bully the attorney general from enforcing the laws as to her conduct.”

Although there’s no evidence that Maras ever wrote for the Washington Post (an outlet that would later expose her as the anonymous author of a declaration used by attorney Sidney Powell in federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the 2020 election), by the summer of 2018, she was writing for the pro-Trump website Big League Politics.

Maras was an early promoter of the false narrative that any elections not won by Donald Trump are not legitimate — a position that would propel her into the orbit of Powell, Flynn and Byrne in late 2020.

“This is why they can’t fathom that Donald Trump became president,” Maras told far-right podcaster Douglas Hagmann in July 2017. “Because this is the only election we actually voted in. This is the only election — because they couldn’t rig it well enough. They cheated, and they still lost. Them saying, ‘Oh, she had sixty-some million and Trump had sixty-some million’ — no, I think Trump had like two-hundred million and she had like five. They cheated hardcore.”

By November 2019, Maras had befriended Millie Weaver, then a contributor to InfoWars. The two sprang into action when Republican Matt Bevin lost his reelection bid for governor of Kentucky.

Three days after the general election in Kentucky, according to Weaver, she and Maras were on the phone when an email landed in Weaver’s inbox containing hundreds of documents that turned out to have been stolen from Harp Enterprises, a company that supplies voting machines to some Kentucky counties.

Based on a financial transaction between Harp Enterprises and a company with foreign ownership, Maras surmised in a joint podcast the next day with Weaver: “You can’t get any more smoking gun with regards to foreign-entity meddling, let’s say.

“This is election fraud,” Maras declared. “Kentucky was a dry run. In 2020, they’re coming for everything.”

Then she predicted that the Democrats — “losers,” she assessed — would “steal” the 2020 election.

At the time, Maras’ consumer fraud case in North Dakota remained unresolved. But in August 2017, a district court judge granted a default judgment against her, finding that her non-compliance with orders to produce discovery documents was “deliberate and in bad faith.” In an accompanying order, which was later upheld on appeal by the North Dakota Supreme Court, the same judge wrote that “overarching” Maras’ online solicitations for funds to support the Magic City Christmas event, she used “various social media websites” to create “an entirely fake online persona.”

Since then, Maras has continued to build a podcast audience of listeners hungry for a framework for processing reality outside the norms of election law, public health authorities and evidence-based reasoning.

Now, running as an unaffiliated candidate to run the office in Ohio with responsibility for supervising elections, Maras has, if anything, become even more brazen as tribune of fantastical claims premised on a dubious backstory as a secret spy.

“Personally, I just ran because I know these machines,” she told host Brannon Howse on Lindell TV last week. “This is part of my work as a private contractor. You know, we don’t always go guns a-blazing when we take over nations. We go in and select their leaders with election software and conduct their elections. And the last elections that I helped conduct were in 2014 in Ukraine. So, I’m very well versed in how these machines work and how they operate.”

This is the second in a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.