According to a report from the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery, texts obtained by the website between a former Georgia Republican county chair and an election board member revealed they were plotting to allow pro-Donald Trump outsiders access to the county's election computers.
As the report reveals, those text messages were flying back and forth on Jan 6th as the Capitol in Washington D.C. was under siege to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election that saw Trump lose re-election.
As Pagliery notes, the Washington Post has reported that "the Secretary of State’s office was investigating the matter. But the previously unreported text messages shed new light on who arranged the possibly illegal access to the computer and who was on the team that traveled south to do it."
According to the new Beast report, "The text messages acquired by The Daily Beast show two separate conversations in which former Coffee County GOP chair Cathy Latham and elections board member Eric Chaney lay out a plan to bring in a team of computer experts to access the computer voting system. The Daily Beast has verified that the conversations were real and remain stored on an iPhone."
"At 4:26 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, as the Capitol building in Washington was under attack, another plan was in the works 607 miles away in the small town of Douglas, Georgia," Pagliery wrote. "Chaney, the elections board member, received word that the county GOP chair was on the phone with an Atlanta businessman who wanted access to the voting system computers there."
Misty Hampton, then the Coffee County elections supervisor, reportedly texted, "Scott Hall is on the phone with Cathy about wanting to come scan our ballots from the general election like we talked about the other day. I am going to call you in a few.”
Adding, "The next morning, the operation was underway. Text messages show that a group of five people traveled south from Atlanta to the government elections offices in Douglas. According to the texts, the team was led by Paul Maggio, an executive at a computer forensics and data storage company in the city," the Beast reports another text message stating, "Team left Atlanta at 8… 5 members led by Paul Maggio… Scott is flying in,” later followed by, "Scott has landed and the rest of team is almost to Douglas.”
According to the report, "Hall and the team made their way to the windowless Elections and Registration building. Hampton would later tell The Daily Beast that Chaney and Latham were there, and she recalled telling her junior assistant, Jil Riddlehoover, to stay quiet," adding, "The team’s work wrapped up later that afternoon. Flight records show that the propeller plane left the tiny airport at 5:16 p.m. When Hampton reached out to Chaney that evening, he directed her to take the communications to an encrypted app with disappearing messages."
The report notes that Trump's team later "named Coffee County in a draft executive order dated Dec. 16, 2020, that would have authorized the nation’s defense secretary to 'seize, collect, retain and analyze' election equipment."
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