Included in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sweeping racketeering indictment – charging Donald Trump and eighteen co-conspirators with a coordinated plot to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election – is an audacious scheme to unlawfully take copies of Georgia’s voting machine software. DA Willis offers evidence that this plot was funded and directed by Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, and was part of a larger multistate plot to take voting software in other states.

What may be unclear from the indictment and news reports is that the evidence of this shocking scheme was not uncovered by the FBI, Special Counsel, Department of Justice, Georgia law enforcement, or even the Fulton County DA’s office, but by plaintiffs in a long-standing lawsuit filed in 2017, led by the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG). CGG is an allied organization to Free Speech For People, and Susan Greenhalgh, FSFP’s Senior Advisor for Election Security is a consulting expert to the CGG plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

After obtaining evidence that a theft of Georgia’s state voting system software had occurred in rural Coffee County, CGG successfully petitioned the Court for discovery regarding the suspected voting system breach in the Spring of 2022. Through records, emails, texts, videos, photographs, contracts, documents and depositions, the plaintiffs unearthed evidence that showed that Sidney Powell hired computer forensics operatives that traveled to Coffee County, and with the cooperation of the County’s election director, GOP chair, and one member of the Board of Elections, copied all of the software on the voting devices.

The evidence also showed that other operatives involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, Doug Logan and Jeffrey Lenberg, traveled to Coffee a few weeks later to spend days accessing and “testing” the system.

Furthermore, records and testimony showed that the copies were then shared covertly with a wide network of Trump allies and election deniers. And because Georgia uses one statewide voting system, this means that the exact same software taken from Coffee is used in Fulton, Dekalb and every other county in the state. And similar software versions are also used in other states.

As this evidence was unfolding, Free Speech For People’s Susan Greenhalgh worked with CGG to sift through the documents, prepare for depositions, and publicize the findings. Watching the depositions of those caught on camera improperly accessing and copying the voting software, Greenhalgh was shocked to learn that, even though the scheme had been widely publicized three months before, none of those involved had been contacted by federal law enforcement.

Possessing copies of the voting system software enables bad actors to install it on electronic devices and create their own replicas of the voting systems, probe them, and develop exploits. They could use it for disinformation, to fabricate evidence of stolen votes, or to challenge election results. They can decompile the software to get the source code, study it for vulnerabilities, and could even develop malware designed to be installed with minimal physical access (even with unskilled accomplices) to the voting equipment that could steal votes in future elections.

Election security experts have warned that the stolen voting software released “in the wild” puts future elections at risk.  In fact, before the election system breaches were publicly known, Dominion Voting Systems vigorously argued that the distribution of its voting software to biased, partisan entities would cause “irreparable damage” to the “election security interests of the nation.” And Georgia’s state Chief Information Officer testified that if potential adversaries obtained voting system software, it would give them a “road map” to hack the system.

To better understand the scope of the plot, Free Speech For People  analyzed testimony to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol and found evidence indicating that the scheme to take copies of election software was discussed in December 2020 with Donald Trump in the White House.

The unauthorized access and distribution of voting system software by and among domestic extremists that have a record of attempting to undermine free and fair elections poses very real and serious threats to our elections and national security that warrant investigation and intervention by the federal law enforcement and security agencies. The absence of any federal action to investigate this breach, determine where the software had been shared, and prosecute those involved, puts future elections at risk. For this reason, Free Speech For People has prioritized pressing for a response from the Department of Justice, Special Counsel Jack Smith, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to assess and respond to the security threats facing the 2024 elections and beyond.

FSFP's Actions

In September 2022, Free Speech For People co-hosted a press briefing with CGG to share information about the Coffee County, Georgia voting system breach.

In December 2022, Free Speech For People led a coalition of cybersecurity and election security experts to write to the Department of Justice, Special Counsel Jack Smith, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to provide in detail the evidence uncovered in the CGG lawsuit that showed that Trump allies took copies of voting software and distributed them covertly among a network of Trump allies and election deniers.

In February 2023, Free Speech For People received a response from the FBI declining to investigate the alleged breach based on specious rationale and a lack of understanding of key facts. Free Speech For People responded and publicized the FBI’s response in the press.

After the January 6th Committee published documents and transcripts of depositions taken during its investigation, Free Speech For People reviewed the documents and discovered evidence indicating that the scheme to access voting system software was discussed with Donald Trump. We wrote again to federal law enforcement to share this information April 18, 2023.

MSNBC featured the FSFP letter citing evidence that tied Donald Trump to the voting software breaches in a segment with January 6th Committee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who affirmed that Trump knew of the plan.

Free Speech For People and CGG hosted another briefing on the developments in the Coffee County voting system breach.

In May 2023, we published an op-ed in Slate on the profound need for a federal investigation.

Following the filing of the Fulton County indictments, Free Speech For People published an additional oped in Slate, that underscored the need for a federal investigation with additional information and evidence.