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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 18, 2024
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 4/11/24 - 4/9/24 - Archives...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan; Also: Trump CFO back to jail; GOP chaos, panic after AZ's 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s), Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4
No Labels out; Soft sentence for vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Elctrl College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders, Biden tout drug price success...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


RNC rigging nomination for Trump; Also: Luttig's 'textualist' SCOTUS brief argues Trump 'disqualified himself'; More bad news for Bannon; Court nixes Musk's $56B pay package; Biden pauses new NatGas terminals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2024 6:11pm PT  

Be sure to put on your mud boots for today's BradCast. You're gonna need 'em. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • American Presidential Primaries and Caucuses were always confusing for voters. This year, they are even more so. That, however, suits Donald Trump just fine in advance of next week's Nevada Primary (on Feb. 6) and Caucuses (on Feb. 8 ), which have been rigged by Team Trump to assure he cannot lose a single delegate to Nikki Haley, his last remaining challenger for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination.
  • The day after the New Hampshire Primary last week, Trump supported an RNC executive resolution to officially declare him to be party's "presumptive 2024 nominee for the office of President of the United States." That, after nominating contests in only two states (Iowa and NH) where he won just 32 of the 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Two days later (perhaps after receiving some sage legal advice) the desperate former President came out against the resolution, so the RNC promptly killed it. We what actually appears to have happened.
  • Well-respected and very conservative former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael Luttig filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief [PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, arguing that the Justices must adhere to the "textualist" approach that rightwingers on the High Court have claimed to follow in recent years, as they weigh whether Donald Trump is eligible for the 2024 ballot under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause." Trump has "disqualified himself" for the office of President under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, Judge Luttig and others argue in the brief, after having "engaged in insurrection" on January 6, 2021, when he "sought to prevent the vesting of the authority and functions of the Presidency in the newly-elected President." That, the brief contends, may be even worse than when South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860 to "prevent the newly-elected President Lincoln from governing only in that State." The Justices must not construct an artificial "off-ramp" to avoid their Constitutional mandate, the brief asserts. The matter will be heard by SCOTUS on Thursday next week.
  • Disgraced former Trump White House advisor and campaign Chair turned podcaster and con-artist, Steve Bannon, may be in more trouble than you know. He has already been convicted and sentenced to four months in federal prison for Contempt of Congress for his refusal to answer subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating January 6. While free on appeal, he has also been charged by New York state for massive fraud in the "We Build the Wall" campaign which siphoned millions from duped Trump supporters. And now his former attorney in that case is gunning for Bannon's bank accounts after he was found to owe the law firm nearly half a million dollars in unpaid legal fees. Bannon's latest attempt to block his banks from turning over documents to the firm claims that doing so "poses a significant risk of compromising Mr. Bannon’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination." Sad!
  • BREAKING DURING SHOW: A Delaware court judge has voided Tesla CEO Elon Musk's nearly $56 billion compensation package, ruling it was unlawfully dictated by Musk himself to a non-independent Board of Directors in sham negotiations. Also sad!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as President Biden puts a pause on approvals for new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals; new reports find Canada tar sands are up to 6000% more toxic than previously known and that climate change made Brazil's Amazon rainforest draught 30 times more likely; and China, as it turns out, built more new solar power in 2023 alone than the U.S. has in its entire history...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Haley notches small victory in Dixville, NH; 2020 mistallies in VA benefited Trump; Deadly, climate-fueled storms slam nation...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2024 4:12pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, CBS News' legendary radio and TV broadcaster Charles Osgood has passed away at age 91. Other than that, we've got some arguably much brighter news throughout the bulk of today's program. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • Last night, just after midnight, Nikki Haley won every single vote cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the first town in the state to vote in the state's first-in-the-nation Primary on Tuesday. They had a 100% turnout. Haley won all 6 votes. Donald Trump won 0. We discuss why that matters (and doesn't). Voters across the entire state are voting today on hand-marked paper ballots. In Dixville Notch --- and about 40% of towns in the state --- ballots are publicly hand-counted by human beings after polls close. The rest of the towns, the larger ones in general, are tallied by 15 or 20-year old computerized optical scanners. Though, due to a write-in campaign for Joe Biden in the state, where there is no officially sanctioned Democratic primary, most of those towns will be hand-counting a lot of ballots as well. We'll have full reported results out of NH --- and why they matter (or don't) --- on tomorrow's show, of course.
  • For years, Republicans have been citing evidence of miscounted votes in Prince William County, Virginia as evidence of massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential race. The state's Republican A.G., after taking office in 2022, even filed criminal charges against the County's Registrar. Recently, however, the charges were unceremoniously dropped. And now we learn that, due to largely understandable tabulation errors, Joe Biden should have received 1,648 more votes than he was credited for, and that Donald Trump was given 2,327 votes that he shouldn't have, in a county that Biden won by more than 60,000 votes --- in a state where the Democrat won the Presidential race by some 450,000 votes. Races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House were also affected by the counting errors, though none of errors would reportedly have changed the results of any contest. We explain the whole mess.
  • We've got quite a bit of good news for you today when it comes to redistricting and rolling back GOP racial and partisan gerrymanders! In North Dakota, a federal judge has ordered new state legislative map after Republicans, following the 2020 Census, cracked two Native American reservations into different districts in order to flip both state House and Senate seats from D to R. It worked in 2022. But now, the judge has ordered not only new maps, but also new elections this fall in the districts found to have been in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Louisiana's new Republican Governor approved a new U.S. House map for the state this week, after the GOP state legislature finally adopted it last week, following a federal court order to draw an additional majority-Black voting district in the state. The Republican-controlled legislature previously had just 1 such district out of its 6 Congressional seats, despite African-Americans accounting for nearly a third of the statewide population. GOP lawmakers only agreed to do so after many appeals, and after realizing that if they didn't draw up their own maps, the court would do it for them. The new map will likely result in an additional Democratic member of Congress from the Bayou State next year.
  • And, in Wisconsin last week, voters filed a motion with the state's newly liberal-leaning Supreme Court seeking a new U.S. House map in time for the 2024 elections. Last month, the state's high court agreed with petitioners that the state GOP's state legislative maps for the Assembly and Senate, in place for more than a decade, were unlawful gerrymanders in violation of state Constitutional requirements. The new motion filed last week asks the same Supreme Court to order a new U.S. House map as well, on the same basis that the Justices determined the state legislative districts were unconstitutional. Petitioners argue that the unconstitutional and politically gerrymandered map resulted in Republicans winning 75% of the state’s Congressional seats despite winning just 50% of the statewide vote in the 2022 election. That year, the closely divided, if Dem-leaning Presidential battleground state also re-elected its Democratic Governor in the same statewide election.
  • Finally today, San Diego was deluged on Monday with a year's worth of rain in a matter of three hours, overwhelming infrastructure in the usually mild Southern California city. But, as discussed in our latest Green News Report today with Desi Doyen, it was just one of dozens of cities across the U.S. in recent weeks where infrastructure has been hammered by climate change-fueled extreme Winter weather. Nearly 100 have been killed in the recent storms in a number of states as of airtime. That, as Big Oil gears up a multi-million ad blitz to hoax Americans into supporting fossil fuel friendly candidates in 2024, as the unstoppable transition to clean, renewable energy is finally underway...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Voting system expert Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Our COVID chronicles continue; Biden charges Trump an 'insurrectionist', tried to 'steal' 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2024 6:05pm PT  

We're still fighting COVID, but we think we're almost over the hump on today's BradCast, just as a long awaited voting system trial in a critical swing-state is finally set to begin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, just as Desi had days earlier, I too tested positive for COVID. After avoiding it for four years, we both finally got hit. But, thanks to keeping up with our boosters, free rapid home tests and the miracle anti-viral drug Paxlovid, both she and I are almost back to normal this week. She is now testing negative and I am, very faintly, still positive, but suspect I'll be fully clear by tomorrow. Most of our symptoms are gone and, most importantly --- because we were both positive --- we're able to be in the same room again! So, I think we're finally back to our usual schedule after an unexpectedly long holiday break and a bumpy start to what is likely to be a very bumpy new year.

As it turns out, we're not the only ones swept up among the largest spate of cases in the U.S. since the initial Omicron wave back in late 2021. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still on the rise. If you haven't already, please get your COVID and flu shots this year, as that is also seeing a big bump right now. And, if you want to get over COVID quickly, ask your doctor for Paxlovid as soon as you test positive, because it must be taken right away. It has certainly worked wonders, so far, for us.

With that medical sidebar out of the way, for now, we're back to the grind of the 2024 elections and the former President's threat to American democracy itself on today's program. Last week, Donald Trump failed to sign a pledge against advocating for the overthrow of the government in his Illinois candidacy paperwork, despite signing the optional pledge when he ran in both 2016 and 2020.

And, on Friday, President Biden, in his campaign launch in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, called out Trump, by name (44 times), including as an "insurrectionist". During his remarks, marking the third anniversary of Trump's deadly January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack, Biden also finally took our advice in calling out Trump in plain language for what he tried to do in 2020: "In trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election."

Thank you, Mr. President.

As to helping to prevent another attempted election theft in 2024, the long-awaited federal trial finally begins in Georgia this week in Curling v. Raffensperger, the 2017 lawsuit led by our friend Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance. The suit seeks to the block the use of Georgia's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion and see them replaced with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots in the battleground state.

In 2019, the federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, blocked the further use of the state's old touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold, finding them to have unconstitutional security infirmities. Unfortunately, against the advice of cybersecurity and voting system experts, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger then moved the entire state to touchscreens made by a different manufacturer with many of the same problems featured in the old systems.

This is also the case which uncovered, during the discovery phase in 2022, the now-notorious Coffee County, GA voting system software breach by Team Trump. That unprecedented theft and distribution of sensitive voting system software resulted in the indictment [PDF] of Trump attorney and breach organizer Sidney Powell as part of Fulton County, GA District Attorney Fani Willis' criminal conspiracy charges against the disgraced former President and 18 co-conspirators.

As Washington Post detailed in its own lengthy preview on Sunday, the trial, set to begin this week, has already resulted in MAGA election deniers and conspiracists like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell pretending to be vindicated by one of the judge's earlier rulings finding that the Curling plaintiffs, unlike Lindell, are not "conspiracy theorists of any variety" and that, as Judge Totenberg found, they have the support of "some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists."

Those scientists and experts have documented how the touchscreen systems used across the entirety of Georgia (and in jurisdictions in more than a dozen states) are wildly "vulnerable" to hacking and system failure, even as no evidence has been found that the 2020 or 2022 elections were actually hacked. As Judge Totenberg noted in a 2020 ruling, the plaintiffs "convincingly present evidence that this is not a question of 'might this actually ever happen?' - but 'when it will happen,' especially if further protective measures are not taken."

We're joined today by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at Free Speech for People. She has worked very closely on this case with the plaintiffs from Coalition for Good Governance and has joined us on the program many times to discuss it since it was initially filed seven years ago.

Among the details discussed in today's "curtain raiser" before trial: How Democrats have become frightened of challenging unverifiable voting systems in the wake of the MAGA election denial movement. The gob-smacking ruling on Friday from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that Raffensperger does not have to testify as a witness, despite the lower court judge ordering him to do so, and Raffensberger's insistence [PDF] in his own recent book, amusingly titled Integrity Counts, that "the ultimate fact-check in the United States...occurs in courts of law, where witnesses swear to tell the truth or risk imprisonment and where lawyers must also tell the truth or risk disbarment. If you want to know the truth, watch what happens in court."

Sadly, we won't be able to watch Raffensperger in court. He fought tooth and nail up to the appellate level to avoid 75 minutes of testimony as a witness in the Curling case.

Also, as Greenhalgh explains today, Raffensperger has now ordered the election security reviewer at the Sec. of State Office's "not to provide any reports in writing any longer, to only give them orally." She describes the order as "really strange," begging the question, yet again, as to why the rightwing 11th Circuit would allow Raffensperger to avoid testifying.

"There are a lot of questions that Raffensperger should be answering," she argues, while noting that despite the absence of the guy who, in defiance of experts, ordered the use of these machines in the first place --- and then failed to investigate the 2021 MAGA breach and distribution of statewide voting system software in Coffee County for more than a year --- there is still plenty of evidence for plaintiffs to make their case against these godforsaken, unreliable, unnecessary voting computers in advance of the 2024 general election.

"There are a lot of questions that really should have been answered by Raffensperger," Greenhalgh laments, before adding : "But they still have overwhelming evidence."

The trial is scheduled to begin in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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We're back! (Sort of.) With former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves of True North Research and attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2024 6:21pm PT  

We're still wrestling and/or dodging COVID on today's BradCast --- and not sure we can pull it off again until everyone tests negative (see this for more details.) But we really wanted to get back on the air for the first time this year after a longer-than-planned holiday break! And so we did. (No promises as to our next air date, however! Working on it. Not easy.) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Our guests today are former U.S. Deputy Asst. Attorney General LISA GRAVES, now of True North Research, and retired attorney KEITH BARBER ('KeithDB' at Daily Kos), who, like Desi, is also fighting a post-holiday bout with COVID.

After new news today on Donald J. Trump's never-ending corruption, we pick up in 2024 following the several cliff-hangers of 2023. We literally left off at the end of our final show last year, when, just minutes before signing off, the Colorado Supreme Court released its 200-page Opinion [PDF] that the disgraced former President and presumptive GOP front-runner was in violation of Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, barring insurrectionists from public office. Thus, the SCOCO ordered that he may not appear on the Colorado ballot as a candidate in 2024.

Since then (among a thousand other things), the Maine Sec. of State has similarly barred Trump from the ballot in her state. He has appealed that ruling to the state's Superior Court. and both the Colorado Republican Party and Trump himself have now appealed CO's ruling directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That, of course, is just one of the many critical cases on which American democracy may hang, as pending either now or soon before the corrupted and disgraced Republican majority at SCOTUS. They will also likely soon be wrestling with Trump's claim --- in Jack Smith's federal case against him related to his attempts to steal the 2020 election --- that Presidents have "absolute immunity" from charges for any crime they commit while serving in office.

Moreover, SCOTUS has already decided to hear a challenge to the charge of Obstruction of an Official Proceeding --- as successfully brought against hundreds of January 6 defendants --- on the basis that the law was originally intended only for white collar financial crimes. In addition to hundreds of J6 defendants charged with and/or convicted of that crime, two of Trump's four counts in his federal indictment for 2020 election interference are based on that same statute.

So, what does all of this mean for Trump and the High Court --- and the American voters! --- as we enter the 2024 election year? Will his corrupt SCOTUS friends (and appointees) use any of those three cases to let Trump off the accountability hook? Will the Court's so-called "conservatives", who have claimed for years to believe in a strict textualist and originalist interpretations of the Constitution, conjure up some excuse to ignore the simple text of the 14th Amendment and the original intent of its post-Civil War framers? Will they allow Trump's March 4 trial date in the Jan. 6 case to slip beyond the election as they determine whether Presidents are allowed to violate any law they wish? Or will they choose instead to "settle all family business" by doing the right thing in the above-noted matters and, thus, end their own Trump-fueled nightmares along with the nation's?

"The same people that went to the courts scores of times trying to keep Obama off the ballot, under the absurd birther argument, are now trying to say the courts can't decide" on the Insurrection Disqualification Clause, observes Barber, a former Republican, today. "They let the courts decide before, and no one argued then that the courts couldn't."

Warns Graves about Trump's argument in favor of Presidential Immunity, it "is literally a recipe for tyranny," as it would allow any President (even the current one, apparently) to commit any crime at any time without possibility of ever facing charges.

Tune in for a bunch of smart thoughts and helpful insights on all of the above today as we head into what Graves aptly describes as a "land of uncertainty" as 2024 unfolds (unravels?) before our very eyes.

Also, while she was unable to join us for today's full show due to her COVID diagnosis, Desi Doyen joins us nonetheless for our first Green News Report of the year today, as we try to begin catching up with a whole bunch of stuff we missed over our longer-than-expected holiday break...which --- depending on how a whole bunch of antigen tests go for both of us in the days ahead --- may or may not continue, whether we like it or not...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Some good (and not so good) legal news at year's end, and some hope for what next year's elections could bring in our final show of the year...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2023 7:12pm PT  

Tonight's breaking news about the disgraced former President and insurrectionist being barred from the 2024 ballot in Colorado under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause" came just minutes before we were finishing up today's BradCast --- our last one of the year! But I suspect we'll have plenty to discuss when we return in 2024. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories we did have time to cover in full on today's program...

  • We open with a homerun public comment from a young man at a meeting of the Sarasota County, Florida School Board last week, calling for the resignation of Board Member and co-founder of Moms for Liberty, Bridget Ziegler. That, following the rape allegations against her husband, Christian Ziegler, Chair of the Florida Republican Party, by a woman who says she was involved in a threesome relationship with Christian and Bridget, a supposed "conservative" who rocketed to rightwing national fame as her Moms for Liberty group worked with FL Gov. Ron DeSantis to adopt the state's "Don't Say Gay Law" and to ban books from schools on LGBTQ-related issues. That, even as Bridget was allegedly involved in a sexual affair with another woman. But the guy's comment at the Sarasota School Board --- from which Bridget is still refusing to resign --- was killer.
  • Good news at the end of the year for voting rights out of --- of all places --- the very far-right 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in two different opinions issued on Friday, in fact. In one, the full court allowed a lower court ruling to stand mandating a new U.S. House map for Louisiana before 2024, after finding that the current map was an unlawful racial gerrymander by state Republicans under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The other decision by the 5th Circuit allows a Texas voter suppression law --- which bans online voter registration, in a state with the lowest voter turnout in 2020 --- to stand. That's not good. But both decisions re-affirmed that voters and private organizations do have a legal right to sue to block racist voter suppression laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Those affirmations come after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled just last month, for the first time since the creation of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, that only the U.S. Attorney General can sue to enforce Section 2 of the VRA. If allowed to stand at SCOTUS, the 8th Circuit's ruling would be an extraordinary blow to the landmark Act. So the 5th Circuit's rejection of those arguments, filed in both cases by Republicans, is a very encouraging sign.
  • On Monday, Texas' authoritarian Governor Greg Abbott signed a new state law allowing state police to arrest --- and local judges to deport --- anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. On Tuesday, civil rights groups sued to block the almost certainly unconstitutional new law. At least it used to be unconstitutional, back when SCOTUS overturned a similar "Papers, please!" law out of Arizona in 2012. But that was before there was a packed, stolen and corrupted 6 to 3 Republican majority on the High Court.
  • Very bad news for both Donald Trump and Mark Meadows out of the also very conservative 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, as a three-judge panel rejected Meadows' attempt to remove his Georgia state criminal indictment related to 2020 election interference from state to federal court. As Law Professor Lee Kovarksy of the University of Texas explained last night, the ruling, written by the court's Chief Judge and very close Clarence Thomas ally, is very bad news for appeals of the "immunity" defenses filed by both Trump and Meadows in several different cases where they are attempting to use that legal gambit to skirt accountability.
  • We received a lot of email following yesterday's lively call-in show, in which I asked folks who'd voted for Joe Biden in 2020, but who were planning on not doing so again in 2024, to call in and tell me why. Today we share a few of those notes in response.
  • But, for something for nervous pro-democracy Americans to consider over the holidays until we return after the new year, we share a recent column from University of Illinois' Political Science Professor Nicholas Grossman, explaining why folks should not (yet) be freaked out about polls showing Trump defeating Biden next year, and why "pro-democracy Americans [should] approach the 2024 election with enthusiasm, not only dread."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our final Green News Report of the year! She includes a boatload of details on why, though we may be done with 2023, 2023 ain't yet done with us yet! But she also has some encouraging news on how long-overdue actions to tackle our climate crisis by the Biden Administration are finally beginning to take root as we move into the new year...

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U.N. climate conference wraps in Dubai; Bad news for Trump in three courts; Heartbreaking testimony as Giuliani heads for world of hurt...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2023 6:54pm PT  

This week in Dubai, the U.N.'s Climate Secretary declared "the beginning of the end" of the fossil fuel era. Also this week, in a D.C. federal courtroom, Rudy Giuliani's attorney warned a jury that awarding a penalty of tens of millions of dollars against his client "would be the end of Mr. Giuliani". Both sound good to us on today's BradCast.

Among our many stories covered today...

  • The last minute, final agreement between 200 world nations at the COP28 U.N. climate conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates this week, calls for a "transition" away from fossil fuels. It wasn't the call for either a "phase out" or even "phase down" that many had sought. But it was a first. Including the first time in 28 years of such annual conferences that the words "fossil fuels" even appeared in the final unanimous joint statement issued by the parties. What does it all mean? It's both good and bad. We delve into some of the details with Desi Doyen today.
  • As the world was working toward moving beyond deadly fossil fuels, the disgraced, twice-impeached Donald Trump was campaigning in Iowa by lying to his supporters that gas now costs as much as $8/gallon, only cost $1.87 when he was President (during the pandemic in which nobody traveled and he helped nearly a million Americans die --- though he didn't mention any of that) and vowing to renege on the U.S. pledge at COP28 to give $3 billion to the joint "Green Climate Fund" to help poorer countries leapfrog fossil fuels and transition straight to clean, renewable energy. He even vowed that he would claw it back if he was elected next year.
  • As to Donald Trump's legal woes, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is now moving at "lightning speed" [PDF] to hear (and almost certainly reject) the twice-impeached former President's appeal on "absolute immunity" from the rule of law, in which he claims that he had the right to break any law he wanted while serving as President of the United States. On Wednesday, in a separate case related to defamation claims by writer E. Jean Carrol (who a court previously found Trump liable for sexually abusing), the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected [PDF] a similar immunity claim. In yet another courtroom in Manhattan this week, testimony ended in Trump's New York State fraud trial, in which he and his companies and his two eldest sons have already been found guilty. The only question is on the penalties they will face. They are likely to be substantial, to say the least. The judge's ruling will likely come early in the new year.
  • In a different D.C. courtroom, Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman testified on Wednesday in the defamation damages trial against one of Trump's sleazebag attorneys, Rudy Giuliani who, along with Trump, repeatedly lied about her and her daughter Shay Moss committing fraud while serving as election workers in Fulton County, Georgia in 2000 in the middle of a pandemic. Both Freeman and Moss were viciously targeted by Trump's supporters after the lies were told about them, and Freeman offered heartbreaking and harrowing testimony on Wednesday about the horrific threats she received from Trump's supporters and how their lives were turned upside-down in the bargain. Giuliani's attorney, Joseph Sibley, didn't even try to cross-examine Freeman. And, in his closing statement, reportedly agreed that the disgraced former NYC Mayor's behavior was appalling. His appeal to the jury was that Rudy is old, and they should try to remember that, decades ago following the 9/11 attacks, Giuliani wasn't as appalling. The jury may be more likely to remember last Monday, after the first day of trial this week, when Rudy repeated his pathetic false claims about the two women in front of cameras on the courthouse steps.

    Just like Trump on Monday in his NY fraud trial, after vowing to take the stand, Rudy didn't. Both cowards and liars.

    The U.S. District Court Judge overseeing the federal case has already determined Giuliani defamed the two women. The only question is how much Freeman and Moss will be awarded by a jury for their pain and suffering (they are seeking as much as $43 million) and for additional punitive damages. If it will "be the end of Mr. Giuliani," as his attorney warned, it won't come soon enough. But it's unlikely to be the end. He still faces criminal charges [PDF] in GA for attempting to steal the 2020 election there; billion dollar defamation lawsuits from Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems; and a grotesque sexual assault suit by his longtime personal assistant, among other legal woes.

  • A listener in Amsterdam writes in this week to correct us on a small, but important, error we offered this week regarding last month's shocking electoral victory in The Netherlands' parliament for the far-right political party of anti-immigrant extremist Geert Wilders.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us again for our latest Green News Report with a wrap-up of COP28 in Dubai, and some very troubling news in the Arctic...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Dow tops record high; Chutkan pauses Trump case; Hunter Biden pushes back at U.S. Capitol; House GOP votes to open revenge Impeachment inquiry...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2023 6:32pm PT  

We couldn't keep up with everything as it kept breaking all day and throughout today's BradCast. But we tried. Even while welcoming back one of our favorite guests. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're happy to joined once again today by Slate's top shelf legal journalist, the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, who is now back from his recent parental leave. (That, thanks, in no small part, to an excellent contract by his union, the Writers Guild of America!) And, while we had previously planned to talk with Mark today about far-right Trump appointees to the lower federal courts undermining voting rights and even the Supreme Court itself, the news just kept coming today out of SCOTUS. Thankfully, Stern was here to hold our hand through it all.

After indicating earlier this week they were prepared to move quickly in response to Special Counsel Jack Smith's request for an expedited hearing on Donald Trump's ridiculous appeal regarding Presidential Immunity, the Supremes announced on Wednesday they would be taking up a challenge to the federal law used to charge hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists, including Trump himself. Two of the four charges he is facing in his federal election interference case are related to unlawful obstruction of an official proceeding. But a lower federal court Trump judge, Carl Nichols, has decided those obstruction charges --- adopted by Congress as part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, focused mostly on white-collar crime --- are inappropriate for use against J6 rioters.

What will that mean for the pending charges against Trump and his trial currently scheduled for March 4 next year? Stern describes it today as "a troubling development", if only because "there wasn't a significant dispute over the interpretation of this particular statute" which has been used to convict hundreds of J6 attackers. While he explains that it is not necessarily fatal to either Smith's indictment against Trump in D.C. or the ability for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to complete the trial before next year's election, Stern regards it as "an ominous sign for those of us who wanted Chutkan to be able to move forward on her own timeline."

Nonetheless, it is, once again, another example of a lower court Trump judge "try[ing] to wield their power in aggressive and truly unprecedented ways." That similar effort to go "beyond the judicial power to essentially act as a free-floating veto over any Democratic policy, and trying to smuggle in Republican policies under the guise of judicial review," as Stern characterizes it, was similarly on view today as the High Court also announced plans to hear a challenge to the use of the widely prescribed abortion drug Mifipristone. That, after abortion opponents filed their case specifically so that it would be taken up earlier this year by Trump-appointed anti-choice activist Matthew Kacsmaryk, the only U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Texas.

But where the "dead hand of the Trump Administration," as a recent article by Stern describes it, may be most troubling is in a series of recent rulings by Trump judges focused on undermining the Voting Rights Act, which is facing a tenuous moment at the stolen, packed and corrupted GOP-majority Supreme Court. Stern details three different recent cases --- one of them "almost too painfully stupid to explain" --- where jurists appointed by Trump in the lower courts are targeting and/or undermining the landmark civil rights law, even in violation of both long-standing SCOTUS precedent and very recent opinions by the High Court.

But, the news just kept on breaking today. Chutkan declared that Trump's Jan. 6 case would have to largely be "paused" until Trump's ridiculous immunity appeal is resolved, further imperiling next year's scheduled March 4 trial date.

The Dow hit a record high on Wall Street, as investors became jubilant at news from the Federal Reserve that it is likely to finally begin lowering interest rates next year --- even more aggressively than previously expected.

The 200 nations meeting in Dubai for the U.N.'s COP28 finally came to an agreement on their final statement after this year's climate conference. They deigned to mention the phrase "fossil fuels" for the first time ever. But more on that (hopefully!) tomorrow.

And the GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, in a strict party-line vote, adopted a resolution to officially open an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden for...well...something or other. It remains unclear.

In truth, it's a revenge impeachment inquiry meant to placate the disgraced, twice-impeached former President, and to distract from the many failures of a corrupted, dysfunctional GOP-run House in advance of next year's elections. The vote was held on the same day that Republicans again refused to accept Hunter Biden's offer to testify in a public hearing. He had a few words about that for assembled media on the U.S. Capitol steps earlier today...

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Guest: John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: Jack Smith takes Jan. 6 case to SCOTUS; Trump chickens out in NY fraud trial; Rudy's defamation trial on damages begins...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2023 6:21pm PT  

Today on 'The BradCast: Lots of accountability under way for Trump and henchmen. And, also...for progressive author and journalist John Nichols?! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: Donald Trump's best, if not only, chance of avoiding a verdict (and potential felony conviction) before next year's Presidential Election (after which, if he wins, he'll have the power to make most, if not all, of his legal troubles disappear) is to delay Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal Jan. 6-related trial against him from proceeding as scheduled on March 4th.

Trump has one legit chance to do that: his legal challenge regarding whether a President enjoys total immunity from criminal prosecution for crimes committed while in office. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan has already ruled firmly against him. But he has the right to appeal the ruling all the way up the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeals --- first with a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit, then with the full D.C. Circuit court, and then, eventually, at the U.S. Supreme Court --- could absolutely prevent the trial from beginning or ending before Election Day next year.

So, on Monday, Smith attempted to leapfrog the D.C. appeals court entirely by asking SCOTUS to hear Trump's appeal on an expedited basis. Smith's filing [PDF] to the high court asks: "Whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin."

The federal prosecutor argues that "it is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected."

Citing similar, if very rare, action by SCOTUS in, for example, U.S. v. Nixon, Smith's filing makes the case that "The public importance of the issues, the imminence of the scheduled trial date, and the need for a prompt and final resolution of respondent’s immunity claims counsel in favor of this court’s expedited review at this time."

And now we wait for at least four Justices to agree to take the case up. Everything rides on that and their ultimate ruling --- and the timeliness of same.

MEANWHILE: As far as a substantive defense in the federal Jan. 6-related case in which Trump stands accused of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as one of several attempts to steal the 2020 election from Joe Biden, recent filings by Trump, as Washington Post reported last week, "revealed that he has been pressing the Justice Department for information on far-right claims" that the Jan. 6 insurrection was secretly the work of "foreign actors" or "Antifa" or the U.S. Capitol Police somehow in cahoots with Nancy Pelosi, or..."John Nichols," described by WaPo as "a liberal journalist in Wisconsin".

John Nichols?! Our friend and frequent guest John Nichols?! Really?!...Apparently so!

We're joined today by longtime progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, The Progressive and Madison Wisconsin's Capital Times to learn if he, in fact, was at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 (if not, where was he?); participated in inciting the riot there for some reason; and if he is now, or ever has been, a member of the Deep State?!

His answers today ('In Wisconsin at his daughter's orthodontist office'; 'No.'; And 'No.') may not surprise you!

So, how did all this happen? How did he come to be named in a Trump filing? Should we believe his many alibis (like filing an article at The Nation and speaking on the phone to many locked-down members of Congress that day)? Has he received any threats from MAGA in light of these Trump allegations? And what does any of this actually mean? Well...Nichols is here to explain it all to you.

FINALLY: Trump's $250 million New York State fraud case against him, his companies and his top executives (including his two eldest sons) was to reach a zenith today in Manhattan with the long-promised testimony of Donald Trump himself. On Sunday night, however, he announced on his social media cite he was chickening out and wouldn't be testifying after all. Surprised?

Also today, the civil defamation trial against Trump's disgraced alleged criminal co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani got under way in D.C. During the pre-trial proceedings, the federal judge in the case had already found Rudy guilty of defamation against Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss. He falsely accused them of rigging the election in Atlanta against Trump in the Fulton County counting room in 2020, charging that the two black women were secretly seen on video surveillance tapes passing USB thumb drives back and forth "like they were vials of heroin or cocaine."

They weren't. Freeman was, however, handing her daughter Moss a ginger mint and their lives have been turned upside by the baseless claims repeatedly made by Giuliani, Trump and his many supporters and the vile threats which followed them. The trial is now only needed to determine the amount of damages against the former New York City Mayor. The pair are seeking between $15.5 and $43 million. Giuliani's attorney admitted in his opening statements that Rudy lied about the two women, but he argued that the amount they are seeking "would be the end of Mr. Giuliani."

We can only hope so.

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Guest: Former federal prosecutor Randall D. Eliason; Also: McCarthy quits Congress; U.S. files war crimes charges against Russians; Trump's fake 2020 electors settle WI lawsuit, are indicted in NV...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2023 5:31pm PT  

Given all the legal delay tactics available to him, Is it even possible at this point for there to be a verdict in any of Donald Trump's criminal trials before November 5th, Election Day, in 2024? A former federal prosecutor joins us to discuss that very thing on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

BUT FIRST, there was quite a bit of other news today, some of which is somewhat related...

  • Short-lived former Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he is quitting Congress at the end of this month. The GOP's thinnest of House majorities will become even thinner until California holds a Special Election next year to fill the seat, likely not before next June. That means Republicans will have just two votes to spare on any legislation, including on whether to prevent the Government from shutting down in mid-January. (Happy New Year!)
  • The U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed war crimes charges against four Russian soldiers accused of torturing an American in 2022 following their ongoing invasion of Ukraine. It is the first time such charges have been filed under a 30-year-old statute. Nonetheless, Congressional Republicans --- even after the news of atrocities committed against Americans and Ukrainians alike --- continue to oppose additional military aid to help our sovereign ally defend democracy itself in Europe against the imperialistic assault of its fascist Russian neighbor.
  • The ten fake 2020 Trump electors in Wisconsin have settled a lawsuit filed against them by two official Biden electors. All ten Republicans, some of them top state GOP officials, have agreed to withdraw their false election filings, acknowledge Joe Biden won the 2020 election, share all related communications, and never serve as a Presidential Elector again in any election where Trump is on the ballot. Exchanges disclosed between several of them reveal that they knew what they were doing was wrong and an attempt to "possibly steal" the election. The exchanges also reveal that WI's U.S. Senator Ron Johnson advocated for the state Legislator to to steal the election for Trump.
  • The six fake 2020 Trump electors in Nevada were criminally indicted today by the state's new Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford. They all face penalties ranging from one to five years in prison for each of the various charges. This crew of miscreants also includes top Republican state officials, such as state GOP Chair Michael McDonald, Clark County GOP Jesse Law, and Jim Hindle, the man who runs elections in Storey County! Those degenerates join others in both Michigan and Georgia who have already been charged for their parts in attempting to steal the 2020 election for Trump. That, in a state where a new law adopted by the Democratic-run legislature to specifically criminalize future fake electors was vetoed by the state's new Republican Governor Joe Lombardo earlier this year.

THEN, we're joined by RANDALL D. ELIASON, the former chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He now teaches criminal law at George Washington University Law School, contributes to the New York Times and elsewhere, and blogs at his own site, Sidebarsblog.com.

Last week, Eliason penned an op-ed for the Times, calling for a "Rocket Docket" for Donald Trump's criminal charges, particularly related to his federal indictment in D.C. related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election. Eliason argues that the American people, to paraphrase Nixon, "have got to know whether or not their (former) President is a crook" before they may have to decide whether to vote for him next year. In fact, he argues, they have a right to know that.

But with all of the pre-trial motions available to the former President, in all four of the criminal trials he is currently scheduled to face next year, is it even be possible for there to be a verdict at the trial level in any of those cases before Election Day, after which, if Trump wins, he'll be able to make most, if not all of the charges disappear?

Eliason argues yes, particularly in the federal trial in D.C., currently overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, as scheduled to begin on March 4 (the day before Super Tuesday). But, he notes at the Times, "whether it happens will be decided by a relative handful of federal jurists --- including a number appointed by Mr. Trump himself."

Nonetheless, Eliason maintains today that a court schedule to keep that trial on track for a verdict before Election Day next year --- and even before Republicans must finalize their 2024 Presidential nomination at their convention next Summer --- is still totally possible. What the courts need to do, he tells me, "is pretty simple. They need to put these [pre-trial] motions on a fast track...They can do that when they want to. They have done it in the past. They just have to have the will to do it. Same with the Supreme Court."

We discuss a number of historic cases --- Watergate, the 2000 election, even cases from 2020 and several of Trump's current cases --- where even the Supremes were able to act with alacrity. "Bush v. Gore they decided in one day," notes Eliason, "so they can move quickly when they want to. But that's really what it all comes down to now."

So, will they? And, if they do, will Trump be able to argue that he did not receive a fair trial in the bargain because they were rushed? And, is there any indication to date that the appellate courts, including SCOTUS, also appreciate the importance of ensuring a conviction or an acquittal before Election Day next year?

We discuss all of that and much more with Eliason on today's program...

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Also: McHenry quits; Tuberville folds; DeSantis Never Back Down staffers back down; GOP officials indicted for 2022 election interference in AZ; GOP official's wife convicted on 52 counts of 2020 election fraud in IA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2023 6:12pm PT  

It's impeachment madness on today's BradCast! Also, a whole bunch of Republicans are otherwise quitting, backing down or facing jail time. In other words, Tuesday. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a U.S. Senator and grown man who goes by the name Tommy, finally backed down from his pointless, one-man, months-long blockade of promotions for more than 400 U.S. military officials. He had been protesting a Pentagon abortion policy that none of the officers in question had anything to do with. The Senate quickly promoted all of them by simple voice vote shortly thereafter.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announces he has "no choice" but to hold a floor vote for a (revenge) Impeachment inquiry of President Biden next week. The announcement follows the latest bombshell disclosure by Oversight Committee Chair and supergenius Rep. James Comer (R-KY) that Republican investigators have discovered secret monthly payments made by China to Joe Biden and laundered through his son, Hunter! Err...Three monthly payments of about a $1,400 each from Hunter Biden to his dad in 2018 to repay him for the purchase of a used truck the then former Vice President helped him buy. (Yes, the same bombshell loan repayment reported almost two years ago by the New York Post.)
  • The bow-tied, far-right, but not-insane-enough-for-today's-House-Republicans Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has had enough. He joined a growing number of colleagues announcing they will be quitting at the end of this term.
  • An important CORRECTION following my mention yesterday of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum dropping out of the GOP 2024 Presidential race, and the RNC announces the four candidates who have qualified to appear at Wednesday's night's "Presidential Primary Debate" in Alabama. (Neither Burgum nor Trump will be there. DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy and Christie will, for some reason.)
  • The three top officials for Ron DeSantis' "Never Back Down" super PAC have backed down. They quite over the weekend, joining a growing number of other Never Back Downers who have exited the Florida Governor's losing 2024 campaign in recent days.
  • Two Republican Cochise County officials, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, have been indicted on state charges in Arizona for conspiracy and interference of an election officer after refusing to certify the county's 2022 election results because...well, tune in.
  • Kim Taylor, the wife of Republican Woodbury County, Iowa Supervisor and failed GOP Congressional candidate has been convicted on 52 counts of election fraud-related charges for falsifying voter registrations and casting dozens of fraudulent votes in the names of others in the 2020 election. Her husband, Jeremy Taylor, named as a co-conspirator, has yet to be indicted for some reason.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report (and our only one this week, due to our coverage of this week's dumb GOP "Presidential Primary Debate") with a bit of surprisingly good news out of the U.N.'s COP28 climate conference this week in Dubai, and more good news on the Biden EPA's new rule that will eliminate all 9 million toxic lead water pipes across the entire nation...

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Guest: Election technology expert Kevin Skoglund on why ES&S Ballot Marking Devices printed out the OPPOSITE of some voters' votes...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2023 6:09pm PT  

After a number of headlines on today's BradCast --- a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke last week --- we're on to our main story today. And it's a doozy.

Last month, during off-year elections in several states, touchscreen voting systems in Northampton County, Pennsylvania made by ES&S, the nation's largest voting system vendor, were discovered to be printing out the opposite of what voters had selected on their screens in two different statewide contests.

The so-called touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) used in Northampton, a suburban swing-county just outside of Philly in the critical battleground state, are supposed to print a ballot summary card, in human-readable language, based on selection made on the touchscreens, allowing voters to confirm their choices before those cards are then tabulated by an optical-scan computer. Similar systems are (shamefully) still used by about a fifth of the nation's voters on Election Day across the county, including in every precinct in the critical battleground state of Georgia and here in the nation's most populace County in Los Angeles.

But last month, on November 7th, there were two statewide retention elections for Judges, one Democratic and one Republican. If voters selected either YES or NO for both judges, everything printed out on the ballot cards as expected. But if they selected YES in one race and NO for the other, the system would flip their votes on the summary print-out. But here's the catch. It only flipped the votes on the human-readable portion of the ballot. The barcodes also printed on the ballot summary --- which humans cannot read --- as used for tabulation, recorded the votes correctly as cast.

As you can imagine, all of this resulted in chaos on Election Day. Some voters --- once precincts even noticed the problem --- began voting on hand-marked Emergency Paper Ballots instead. In PA, however, there are only about 20 such emergency ballots available at each precinct. They ran out very quickly.

After explanations by election officials and employees at ES&S (which did the programming of the computers for the election) on Election Day, a County judge ordered voters to begin using the touchscreen systems again. Some officials tried to ease voters worries by telling them they would just FLIP the votes after polls closed! In other precincts, voters were reportedly instructed to simply vote the opposite of what they actually wanted in those two contests.

This is the same County where, back in 2019, the first time these ES&S ExpressVoteXL systems were first deployed, the systems recorded zero votes for some races in certain precincts. One of those races, believe it or not, was for the County Judge who, this year, gave the okay to start using the misprogrammed systems again. He didn't receive zero votes in those precincts in 2019. In fact, he won the race for County Judge, as a post-election investigation would reveal.

So, what actually happened on November 7th last month? Longtime election technologist KEVIN SKOGLUND of Pennsylvania's nonpartisan Citizens for Better Elections, investigated to find out. He recently published a detailed report breaking down exactly what wrong. He was able to confirm that while the printed, human-readable text appeared to flip the votes in those two races, the human-unreadable barcode version of the ballot correctly reflected the intent of voters. In short, the votes were right, but the labels next to the two contests in question had been reversed.

As he explains on today's program, this is a programming error that, frankly, should never have been able to happen. Election Officials have long told skeptics of unverifiable touchscreen BMD systems that there was nothing to worry about, because the systems printed out a paper record of voters votes that they could approve before casting, and that the computer-printed barcodes or QRCodes would always match that human-readable text. In Northampton County last month, clearly they did not.

Skoglund also discusses the terrifying danger posed by a programming error like this --- whether it actually happens or voters simply claim that it did --- to next year's Presidential election in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and elsewhere where voters at the polls are forced to use the same or similar touchscreen systems to cast their ballots.

Describing BMDs like those used in Northampton as "a $9,000 pencil," Skoglund warns today that "events like this shake people's trust, with good reason."

"One of the core cybersecurity concerns is resilience," he tells me. "You want to have systems that can recover from problems. One of the reasons that we like hand-marked paper ballots is not just that the voter marks their ballot and verifies it all at the same time --- so there's not this extra step of checking if the machines works --- one of the other properties of them is their resilience. Because even if the power goes out, even if the machines all stop working, as long as you have a pen, you can mark the ovals on your ballot. But with these [BMD] machines, your 'pen' may just stop working. And you have to have a backup plan if that happens."

Clearly in Northampton, PA last month, there was no real backup plan. If something like this happens next year --- either real or manufactured by nefarious voters --- in even one precinct in PA or any of the other swing-states where similar systems are insanely still used by millions of voters, I shudder to think of what may happen next in this nation.

Incredibly enough, even after the failures in 2019 and 2023, Northampton plans to use the same systems again next year. We discuss that and much more related to all of this on today's show, before we receive phone calls near the end of the program from a few other election experts --- Susan Greenhalgh of FreeSpeechForPeople.org and Dr. Philip Stark, UC-Berkeley election expert and inventor of the post-election Risk Limiting Audit (RLA) protocol. Both have long warned of exactly this kind of election nightmare and have long urged all election officials to move to reliable, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots for all voters, other than for disabled voters who may choose to vote with an assistive technology.

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Guest: Lawfare's Anna Bower on inexplicable omissions in the Georgia state agency's long-awaited, nearly 400-page criminal investigation...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2023 5:46pm PT  

This is just getting ridiculous. As detailed on today's BradCast, the long-awaited, criminal report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) on Team Trump's unlawful January 7, 2021 breach, copying and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software in rural Coffee County, appears to leave out more than it includes! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Our guest today is ANNA BOWER, Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent at Lawfare. She recently obtained the report [PDF] and yesterday published extensive coverage under the headline, "What the GBI Missed in Coffee County: At almost 400 pages, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation report on the Coffee County caper looks impressive. It's not."

"One could be forgiven for thinking initially that the GBI's report on Coffee County is an authoritative account. It is, after all, nearly 400 pages long, and those pages summarize a voluminous body of evidence. ... But the document turns out to reflect a less vigorous investigation of the effort to unlawfully access the state's voting machines than may initially appear," Bowers reports.

In fact, she continues, "The document suggests, rather, that the GBI did not investigate the Coffee County affair fully at all. The agency relied almost entirely on the previous work of civil litigants [that would be frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks and her Coalition for Good Governance] and the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. It failed to seek interviews with key witnesses, and it omitted relevant evidence that is readily available in public documents."

And yet, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger has been citing the GBI's long-running investigation as one of the reasons that his office has taken virtually no action over the past two and a half years in response to the unprecedented breach which threatens the legitimacy of next year's Presidential election in the critical battleground state. He has even ignored the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's warning to immediately apply security patches created by Dominion Voting Systems following the breach.

While Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has brought criminal charges [PDF] against five of Donald Trump's alleged co-conspirators involved in the scheme --- including Trump attorney Sidney Powell, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall (both of whom have pleaded guilty), former Coffee County GOP Chair and fake elector Cathy Latham and former Coffee County Election Supervisor Misty Hampton (both of whom pleaded not guilty) --- there were dozens more involved in the plot that have yet to be brought to account by anyone.

Moreover, according to Bower, GA's Republican state Attorney General Chris Carr, who has also cited the GBI's criminal probe as explanation for a lack of state charges to date, has "been ill served" by his investigative department. Maybe, however, like Raffensperger and the State Board of Elections, he's just fine with that.

While there is almost zero new information of note in the GBI's long-awaited report, as Bower details on today's program, the state agency inexplicably leaves out enormous, well known chunks of the story --- such as the infamous Trump Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020 when the Coffee County plot was hatched with Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn and others who were not interviewed in the agency's criminal probe. "In total," Bower explains, the GBI "interviewed only about 15 individuals" in their year and a half probe, "Many, if not most, of those interviews were conducted in under an hour."

"This account does not even attempt to answer certain key questions. Who devised the plan to access voting systems in Coffee County? When did the plan first arise? Who or what connected the then-president's attorneys to several locals in rural South Georgia? The report bizarrely omits readily available facts that help connect these dots."

On today's show, we attempt to connect at least some of the dots that the GBI didn't bother to, including those involving bedding impresario Mike Lindell and his still-unexplained, two-hour visit to the County in his private plane after flying from Mar-a-Lago to D.C. and back down to rural Southeast Georgia just prior to the breach; why the GBI would be seemingly be working so hard to cover up what actually happened; and why all of this is critically important to the state's (and nation's!) 2024 elections.

"For Georgians who care about elections, for Georgians who think that it's very serious that the then-President's legal team, aided by local allies in Coffee County, had a plot, a conspiracy, to copy and distribute Georgia's most sensitive voting system data, that is incredibly serious, and it warrants a serious investigation. And that just didn't happen here," Bower tells me.

"Georgia continues to use the same software and the Sec. of State's office has said there will not be an update before the 2024 elections. Election security experts have said that means that we could have increased risk in terms of vulnerability during the 2024 election. That software data that has been distributed and is still out in the wild from Coffee County [and] could be used for disinformation campaigns, because people can take the otherwise legitimate data, and make it look either edited or selectively presented. Adversaries could basically use that software to test it for vulnerabilities, and then potentially use that in the future for subverting the operation of that software through malware or other" means.

Federally, she observes, she has seen few signs that Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating "these multi-state breaches. That, in itself, is concerning"...

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Guest: ACLU voting rights attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended for two more days amid more hostage releases...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2023 6:05pm PT  

We're back live on today's BradCast after a much-needed holiday break. Thanks to those of you who helped us avoid disaster last week! Now the question is whether we'll be able to avoid disaster in next year's Presidential election where we will have "as stark a choice as the United States has ever faced."

A lot happened while we were off (as usual), but none as critical, as far as I'm concerned, as the mind-blowing ruling issued last week by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, upholding an insane lower U.S. District Court Judge's ruling in an Arkansas voting rights case.

The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, challenges Arkansas' gerrymandered legislative maps which should --- if the rule of law and Constitution mean anything anymore --- include another five Black-majority voting districts before the 2024 elections.

However, last year, a Trump-appointed District Court Judge, while recognizing the merits of the case, found for the first time in U.S. history that individual voters and private organizations like the NAACP and ACLU have no "right to private action" to sue against violations of Section 2 of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The lower court judge found that only the U.S. Attorney General may sue to block racially discriminatory laws under Section 2. And, last week, incredibly enough, that ruling was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel featuring two Trump judges and one George W. Bush appointed judge.

We're joined today by JONATHAN TOPAZ, Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, who worked on the case at both the district and appellate court level. He explains that the District Court ruling "was the first court in the history of the United States to determine that Section 2 lacked a private right of action, which means that private plaintiffs are unable to vindicate their rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This, at the time, and is today, is an incredibly radical ruling. We appealed, because it had no basis in the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, it had no basis in the precedent, and it certainly had no basis in the practice of decades and decades of private plaintiffs bringing suits to vindicate the incredibly important right to vote free of racial discrimination under the Voting Rights Act."

But, as Topaz goes on to explain, it got worse. Last week "a divided panel of the 8th Circuit voted to affirm the District Court's finding. So now these are the only two courts in the history of the United States that have ever made such a finding."

Indeed, the arguably even more "conservative" 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, recently found the opposite, that private plaintiffs do have the right to sue. So, the 8th Circuit Court is an outlier, with what Topaz describes as "a radical opinion on appeal to the voters of Arkansas and voters around the country."

What happens next? What will it mean if it is upheld by SCOTUS? What are the chances of that actually happening? How can it be that neither SCOTUS nor Congress nor dozens and dozens of courts have previously noticed this flaw in the VRA over the past six decades? And, if SCOTUS does find in favor of the 8th Circuit, what will that mean for the hundreds of Section 2 cases previously decided in favor of private plaintiffs? Tune in for answers to all of those questions and many more.

Also today, a bit of what suffices for "good news" out of the Middle East on Monday, as Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their four-day pause in hostilities for another two days to allow for the release of more hostages from Gaza and more Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

That largely encouraging news, however, is somewhat tempered by events back here in the U.S. over the weekend, where three Palestinian students were shot at close range in otherwise peaceful Burlington, Vermont. The three young men, all 20 years old, were heading to dinner at one of the men's grandmother's house. A suspect was arrested on Sunday. We discuss.

Then, we open things up to listeners via phone and email in our closing few minutes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also in GA: Who leaked the Fulton County tapes?; Jail time for a Trump co-defendant?; Defamed Atlanta election workers seek millions from Rudy...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2023 6:57pm PT  

You may have noticed the nation is a bit of a tinder box right now. If the currently presumptive 2024 GOP nominee loses in Georgia again next year and just one precinct, out of thousands in the state, experiences something akin to what happened last week during elections in Northampton County, Pennsylvania... well, I don't even wanna think about the likely ramifications. Though we do discuss that today as part of our BradCast, which focuses almost exclusively on election-related lawsuits and criminal cases in the Peach State. Our guest is one of the plaintiffs in one of the most important cases you probably haven't heard about on your favorite cable news station. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The long-awaited Curling v. Raffensperger voting system trial is finally set to begin in Atlanta in January, just after the start of the new Presidential election year in the critical battleground state Originally filed in 2017, the long-running federal lawsuit has already been extraordinarily consequential.

Among other things, it resulted in the 2019 banning of Georgia's then nearly 20-year old, unverifiable, insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold after the judge still overseeing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg, found the systems so deficient that their use was determined to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In response, and ignoring the advice of voting system and cybersecurity experts, GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger replaced the Diebold systems with newer, similarly unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion. The plaintiffs challenged the use of those systems on similar Constitutional grounds, hoping to see the state move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots at all polling places, where voters are now forced to vote on the unverifiable touchscreen systems. Raffensperger has refused.

As AP noted last weekend, the case also "spawned a landmark expert report that identified vulnerabilities in the election system used in Georgia that led [the US Dept. of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (or CISA)] to issue an advisory" to all jurisdictions around the nation that use the same equipment, recommending they immediately apply security patches produced by Dominion to mitigate at least some of the systems' known insecurities. Raffensperger stunned the federal court in Atlanta earlier this year when his office announced they do not plan to apply the recommended security patches until after the 2024 Presidential election in the highly contested swing-state.

Perhaps most famously (or infamously?) the Curling case also resulted in the revelation of the January 7, 2021 statewide voting system software breach in Coffee County, GA. That led to the criminal indictment of Sidney Powell and four others, with Donald Trump, in Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy case against the former President and 18 alleged co-conspirators. The revelation of the unprecedented Coffee County breach, copying and Internet distribution of Dominion's sensitive software occurred when Atlanta bail bondsman, Scott Hall (who, along with Powell, has since pleaded guilty in the indictment), called and essentially confessed the entire plot to one of the plaintiffs in the 'Curling' case, who was smart enough to record the phone call. That call was originally aired by The BradCast in May of 2022.

That plaintiff, MARILYN MARKS, longtime, indefatigable election integrity champion and Executive Director of the non-profit good government group, Coalition for Good Governance, is once again our guest on today's program, as she and her team prepare for trial against Raffensperger and GA, now set by Judge Totenberg to begin on January 9th.

Late last week, Totenberg released a 135-page Opinion and Order [PDF], denying the State's attempt to dismiss the case and setting a trial date. For clarity, she took pains to note: "the record evidence does not suggest that the Plaintiffs are conspiracy theorists of any variety. Indeed, some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists have provided testimony and affidavits on behalf of Plaintiffs' case in the long course of this litigation."

In the Order's conclusion, the federal judge emphasized: "The importance of the security, reliability, and functionality of state election systems, classified by the U.S. Homeland Security Department as critical national infrastructure, cannot be overstated in a world where cybersecurity challenges have exponentially increased in the last decade. The dynamics of how a breach in one part of a cyber system may potentially carry cybersecurity reverberations for the entire system for years to come exemplifies the important concerns raised in this case."

But, Totenberg also writes in her ruling that she is unable to order the use of a new voting system for the State, asserting that only the Legislature may do that. Thus, she urges the parties to find a compromise resolution. Nonetheless, as Marks explains today, this same judge, who will oversee a bench trial without a jury, found the old Diebold systems so dangerously deficient nearly five years ago, that she not only found them unconstitutional, she barred their use in any further Georgia elections.

"We've never asked for her to order hand-marked paper ballots," Marks clarifies today. "That ultimately just becomes the default, because state law already says that if the electronic system is not working, hand-marked paper ballots is what you go to. That's what the law says." She notes that Judge Totenberg "has the power to enjoin unconstitutional behavior, and that's what we are asking her to do."

"No amount of software patching is going to fix this Constitutional problem. No amount of so-called auditing. You can't do a real audit with those machine-printed ballots," argues Marks. After an election, only hand-marked paper ballots can be known to have been verified by the voter. Studies have found that voters didn't notice more than 93% of the time when a touchscreen voting system flipped their vote on a computer-printed paper ballot summary.

Last week, in Northampton, PA's elections, similar touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices to those used all across GA were showing voter selections one way on the screen in two different contests, in some cases, but printing the opposite on the paper that gets tallied. Imagine if that occurred in even one precinct next year in GA with Trump on the ballot. That is among the nightmare scenarios Marks is hoping to side-step by forcing the state to finally dump their insane --- and insanely expensive --- statewide system.

She says the solution is simple and inexpensive and can be done immediately. Emergency hand-markable paper ballots are already required at every precinct in the state. Just print more of them, and use the existing scanners in each polling location to tally them. "70% of Americans vote this way. This is not hard," Marks asserts. "Of course, the State pretends that it would take rocket science to make this happen."

There is, to say the least, much at stake in this upcoming trial, even as it is not receiving nearly the amount of attention of the other election-related case underway in GA right now, the Fulton County criminal case against Trump and his co-defendants. On that, we have some news as well on today's program, including...

  • An attorney for defendant Misty Hampton, the former Coffee County Elections Director, claims he is the one who leaked video proffers of Powell, Hall, and Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Jenna Ellis to the media. But is he really?
  • Willis is seeking the jailing of co-defendant Harrison Floyd for attempted witness intimidation. He is among those indicted in the conspiracy for threatening Atlanta election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss over false claims that they carried out ballot fraud in 2020.
  • And Freeman and Moss are now seeking between $15 and $43 million from former NYC Mayor and Fulton County co-defendant Rudy Giuliani in their civil defamation trial against him in federal court. The Judge in that case has already found Giuliani liable. The D.C. trial set to begin in December against him will now determine how much he'll have to pay to the two women.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report before our Thanksgiving break! We will be off --- from both The BradCast and GNR next week. So we send our best and thanks to everyone! We will return after the holiday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Public interest would be served if Sec. of State Raffensperger agreed to move to hand-marked paper ballots before 2024's Presidential elections...
By Marilyn Marks on 11/13/2023 10:15am PT  

(Additional reporting by Brad Friedman.)

All parties to the litigation received U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg's 135-page order [PDF] on Friday, in response to Georgia's Motion for Summary Judgement in the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG)'s years-long Constitutional challenge to the state's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems.

CGG will be going to trial as she denied the State's motion to dismiss our core claims regarding the critical battleground state's Ballot Marking Device (BMD) touchscreens. Trial is set to begin on January 9.

The Court described the inherent security flaws in Georgia's touchscreen voting system as well as the State's lack of response to the statewide system breaches emanating from the Coffee County breach activities we unearthed last year. That matter has now become infamous through Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' racketeering indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants, four of whom she charged for their involvement in the unprecedented copying and distribution of the state's voting system software after breaching the machines at the elections office in the rural, southeastern Georgia county. Two of the alleged co-conspirators specifically involved in the Coffee County plot, Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall, have pleaded guilty in the matter.

The Court noted the misleading and conflicting claims by the defendant in our case, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, regarding the Coffee breaches (see p. 66 of the ruling) and his delayed and ineffective response. The Order notes how the breaches have grave implications for the security of future elections. Nonetheless, the Secretary and State Election Board have continued to bury their heads in the sand, not wanting to second guess the Secretary's 2019 purchase of the highly flawed system that experts have concluded is less secure than the old paperless Diebold touchscreen system Judge Totenberg ordered to be replaced in 2019....

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