Allies of former President Donald Trump, including Michael Flynn, drafted an executive order aimed at allowing the administration to seize voting machines in a desperate attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. The order named Coffee County, Georgia, where officials had refused to certify the election results, as a justification for the seizure. This incident in Coffee County became a crucial part of a racketeering indictment filed in Atlanta, alleging a broad conspiracy involving Trump and 18 co-defendants.
During a chaotic meeting in the Oval Office on December 18, 2020, Trump’s lawyers were horrified by the suggestion of signing the executive order. Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani intervened, informing the president that “voluntary access” to a Georgia voting system was being arranged, making the order unnecessary. Giuliani later revealed on a podcast that evidence obtained from voting machines would be used to bypass Republican governors who were unwilling to investigate fraud allegations.
Prior to the Oval Office meeting, Giuliani met with an unnamed whistleblower at the Willard InterContinental Washington. Meanwhile, Coffee County GOP leader Cathy Latham was staying at the same hotel. Surveillance footage captured Latham allegedly escorting a team sent by Trump attorney Sidney Powell into the Coffee County elections office on January 7, 2021, to access voting machines.
Powell recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of conspiracy related to intentional interference with election duties. Latham, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall, and former Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton were also indicted in connection with the Coffee County breach. Hall pleaded guilty to similar charges.
The allegations of fraud in Coffee County were brought to Trump operatives by Hampton and another Board of Elections member shortly after the November 5, 2020, election. Hampton had given a presentation warning about potential manipulation of the state’s Dominion Voting Systems machines. Trump campaign staffer Robert Sinners forwarded the information to campaign lawyers but considered Hampton’s allegations speculative.
The incident in Coffee County represents the only successful attempt by Trump allies to access federally protected election equipment.