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Atlanta prosecutors contact companies that consulted with Trump campaign

Prosecutors in Atlanta investigating election interference by Donald J. Trump and his allies recently contacted two consulting firms that were hired by the Trump campaign in 2020 to investigate myriad allegations of voter fraud, but ended up finding no evidence. that significant fraud had occurred, according to the people. with knowledge of the investigation.

Despite the findings from the two companies, Simpatico Software Systems and Berkeley Research Group, Trump continues to this day to make false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, despite the fact that no credible evidence has emerged to support that and many of his electoral conspiracies. the theories have been discredited.

Prosecutors could use interest in the companies and their work in Georgia and several other battleground states to undermine claims by Trump and his allies that they had legitimate grievances about the election. The firms had previously been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors. The latest development regarding prosecutors in Atlanta was reported previously by The Washington Post.

Fani T. Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is weighing a number of possible charges against Trump, including whether he violated state laws with his post-election phone calls to state officials, including one on Jan. 2. . 2021 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump said he needed to “find” 11,780 votes, or one more than his margin of defeat in the state. Ms. Willis is investigating a number of other post-election moves by the Trump team, including a plan to create a list of fake voters committed to Mr. Trump despite President Biden’s victory in Georgia. More than a half of voters have accepted immunity agreements.

A special grand jury that heard the evidence in the case for about seven months recommended more than a dozen people for the indictments, and his foreman strongly hinted in an interview with The New York Times in February that Trump was among them. Ms. Willis will be required to seek any indictment from a regular grand jury, and she has indicated that she will do so in the first half of august.

Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at the University of Alabama, said Ms. Willis is likely interested in the companies finding no significant fraud because it could help establish that Mr. Trump acted with criminal intent.

If Ms Willis does press charges, Ms Vance said, she will have to show that “Trump knew he lost the election and, in essence, he wasn’t asking them to find legitimate votes, he was asking them to steal votes for him.” .

Both Ms. Willis’s office and the two companies declined to comment.

During the January 6 House committee proceedings last year, several Trump aides and allies testified that it was clear there had not been enough fraud to change the outcome of the vote.

One of the campaign’s lawyers, Alex Cannon, who was a point of contact for Simpatico, told Trump’s son Eric around Thanksgiving 2020 that the fraud allegations coming in were largely unreliable, according to testimony Cannon gave to House investigators in their investigation into the case. January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Asked if Eric Trump “expressed any dismay or concern about the conclusion that I was sharing with him,” Cannon said: “I think he was dismayed. I think that’s a fair characterization.” Mr. Cannon added that senior campaign lawyers were “not surprised” that the vast majority of the claims were unfounded.

By the time the fake voters list met in Atlanta on December 14, 2020, Trump had already lost three different vote counts and the state’s Republican leadership had certified the result.

Federal prosecutors, who are conducting criminal investigations of Trump separate from the Georgia investigation, have also been focused on determining whether Trump and his aides knew he had lost the race but continued to use false claims of voter fraud to collect money from Trump supporters. , in possible violation of federal wire fraud statutes.

Ken Block, the owner of Rhode Island-based Simpatico Software, previously said he received a subpoena for documents from federal prosecutors. Immediately after the election, he said, a Trump campaign adviser asked him to look into specific allegations of voter fraud in six states: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin. Mr. Block said his company refuted all the allegations “and did not find fraud substantial enough to overturn an election result.” His company received $735,000 for the job.

Shortly after hiring Simpatico, the Trump campaign hired Berkeley Research Group, a California-based consulting firm that focuses on research and corporate finance. A federal grand jury received evidence that Berkeley was hired at the suggestion of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who was overseeing the political operation.

In late April, The New York Times reported that the federal grand jury had been asking questions about whether Trump was briefed on the results of the Berkeley Research investigation, which also found no evidence of widespread fraud. The company was paid about $600,000 for his work, records show.

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