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Former Trump campaign official in talks to cooperate in Jan. 6 investigation – UnlistedNews

Michael Roman, a senior official with former President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 campaign, is in talks with the office of special counsel Jack Smith that could soon lead to Roman voluntarily answering questions about a plan to create pro-Trump voter lists. in battleground states that were won by Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a person familiar with the matter.

If Mr. Roman ends up giving the interview, known as a proposal, to prosecutors working for Mr. Smith, it would be the first known instance of cooperation by someone with direct knowledge of the so-called fake voter scheme. That plan has long been at the center of Smith’s investigation into Trump’s sweeping efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The conversations with Roman, who served as Trump’s director of election day operations, were the latest indication that Smith is actively pushing forward with his election interference investigation even as attention has turned to the other case in his portfolio. : the recent indictment of Mr. Trump in Florida on charges of illegally withholding classified documents and then obstructing repeated government efforts to recover them.

In recent weeks, several witnesses with connections to the bogus ballot plan have appeared before a grand jury in US District Court in Washington that is investigating the ways in which Trump and his allies tried to overturn their defeat against Mr. Biden. Among them was Gary Michael Brown, Roman’s former deputy, who was questioned in front of the grand jury on Thursday.

Roman did much of the legwork putting together the bogus election plan and finding ways to challenge Trump’s losses in several key battleground states, according to emails reviewed last summer by The New York Times. Roman, the emails show, coordinated with several other Trump lawyers and aides in seeking to rally support for creating the fake voter lists in states including Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and Nevada.

Among those with whom Roman worked closely, the emails showed, were Boris Epshteyn, a lawyer and campaign political adviser who has since served as Trump’s in-house counsel, and Jenna Ellis, another lawyer who has advised Trump. Trump after his loss to Mr. Biden on how to challenge the election results.

In March, as part of a disciplinary proceeding brought by law bar officials in her home state of Colorado, Ms. Ellis admitted that she had knowingly misrepresented the facts in several of her public claims that widespread voter fraud had led to to the defeat of Trump.

Emails reviewed by The Times showed Mr Roman and others discussing options to try to prevent Mr Biden from being certified the winner of the election. He reported details of his activities to Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney, who defended Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud.

The fake voter strategy was arguably the longest and most expansive of the many efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It involved a sprawling cast of pro-Trump lawyers, state Republican officials and aides. from the White House in an effort that began before some states had finished counting their votes.

The scheme culminated in a campaign by Trump and others to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use the fake lists to subvert Congress’ certification of the election result before a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021. That proceeding was interrupted when a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and chased away lawmakers.

Even some of those associated with the efforts to keep Trump in office seemed to acknowledge that the voters’ plan was legally dubious.

“We’d just be sending ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can object when he starts counting the votes and starts arguing that ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” Jack Wilenchik, a Phoenix who was helping organize pro-Trump voters in Arizona, he wrote in a December 2020 email to Mr. Epshteyn.

In a follow-up email, Mr. Wilenchik wrote that calling them “alternate” voters was probably better than “fake” voters, adding a smiley face emoji.

The FBI formally opened an investigation into the bogus election plan in April 2022, according to people familiar with the matter, and federal prosecutors issued a series of grand jury subpoenas to Republican officials in states including Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and Nevada over two months. after.

Two top Nevada Republican officials who were involved in the scheme, Jim DeGraffenreid and Michael McDonald, testified before a grand jury in Washington two weeks ago, the same day Trump was arraigned in Miami in the classified documents case.

Throughout the winter and spring, a steady stream of witnesses, some of them exceptionally close to Trump, were subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury and answer questions about the fake voter plan and other efforts by the former president. cling to power after losing the election.

Among those forced to come forward were Pat A. Cipollone, the former Trump White House attorney; Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff; and former Vice President Mike Pence. Most of these witnesses tried to limit the scope of their testimony by asserting various forms of privilege in a lengthy, closed-door legal battle that ultimately failed.

In a separate investigative track, the Justice Department seized the cellphones of a handful of lawyers connected to the fake election scheme in June 2022. They included John Eastman, a California law professor who advised Trump on the plan, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who was nearly named acting attorney general and who helped draft a letter to state officials in Georgia recommending they create a pro-Trump voter list.

Last July, the Justice Department had created a team of prosecutors, working under the code name Project Coco, to review the various communications seized from Mr. Eastman, Mr. Clark, and another former Justice Department attorney, Ken Klukowski. , for anyone who was potentially protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, according to a person familiar with the matter.

This so-called filter team grew in size and scope, the person said, as investigators obtained more data from other research subjects, including Mr. Meadows; Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who recruited Eastman to work on the fake voter plan; and Mr. Epshteyn.

adam goldman contributed reporting.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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