MAGA Election Conspiracy Theorists Tossed In Jail For Contempt

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Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, both of whom have been involved with the election conspiracy group True the Vote, were jailed in Texas this week after they refused to provide the identity of an individual who helped the group gain access to the internal computer systems at Konnech, an election software firm.

The pair alleged Konnech allowed Chinese authorities access to a computer server with personal details of millions of election workers across the U.S. — a claim Konnech denied. Concern about Chinese access to Americans’ information, which authorities there could use for just about anything conceivable, have proliferated. Just this week, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) once again raised concerns about Chinese connections to the social media site known as TikTok. Konnech brought a defamation lawsuit, leading to the order by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt for information on how True the Vote accessed Konnech computer systems, which the duo refused to provide. “The pair have claimed, without evidence, that the person who helped them was a confidential FBI informant,” The Washington Post notes. True the Vote has, however, already been exposed for blatant deception about informant relationships with the FBI.

That exposure came from the office of Arizona state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican who made an unsuccessful bid for Senate. An investigator with Brnovich referred the group for federal investigation in connection to concerns about lies to the attorney general’s team and local FBI personnel about evidence supposedly supporting claims of election fraud. Repeatedly, Brnovich’s staff sought info from True the Vote that would support the notion of thousands of so-called mules who carried fraudulent ballots to drop boxes, and eventually, they claimed an informant relationship with the FBI supposedly impacted whether they could provide the details that were sought. They weren’t informants, as Brnovich’s team later discovered. In southern California, Eugene Yu, the chief executive at Konnech, is now facing criminal charges for allegedly exposing personal details of “tens of thousands of County workers to possible compromise.” Yu’s initial accusations were “downgraded,” according to the Post’s summary.

True the Vote — with Engelbrecht and Phillips — was involved in the widely discredited propaganda film “2000 Mules,” which outlines the ballot box-stuffing conspiracy theory. The theory rests in significant part on geolocation data repeatedly placing certain individuals in close proximity to ballot boxes — which proves nothing. If a ballot drop box is in a highly trafficked area, and if certain individuals, you know, live there, then such data could easily emerge. Phillips, though, has been involved in denying election results since 2016, when he spread claims that Hillary Clinton’s lead in the final total of the popular vote was illegitimate. Trump provided a grim preview of 2020 by trumpeting some of those lies. Jail-time is certainly among the more extreme outcomes, but others involved in spreading election-related nonsense are also facing serious consequences. Rudy Giuliani has a hearing in a case alleging violations of ethics rules for D.C. lawyers scheduled for this December.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons