Pardoned Felon Bernie Kerik’s Three Stories

Before I lay out the three different versions of Berie Kerik’s testimony with Jack Smith’s prosecutors last Monday, I want to make a separate observation. After turning a bunch of documents over to Jack Smith, Kerik’s stance regarding the privilege claims in the Ruby Freeman lawsuit changed.

Previously, he had said that the privilege was Trump’s and Trump had to decide.

But first on July 24 (three days after Kerik handed over documents to Jack Smith’s team) and then again in a status filing filed on Friday, August 4, he consented to let Beryl Howell review any that Freeman’s attorneys still contested, though Trump’s lawyers will get to challenge her decisions.

Following the Court’s order, on July, 23, Mr. Kerik produced a privilege log, (the “Revised Privilege Log”), see Exhibit 1, and 562 documents previously withheld as privileged (the “Previously Withheld Documents”) that were de-designated by the Trump Campaign. ECF. No. 83 at 2. On July 24, 2023, after meeting and conferring, Plaintiffs and Mr. Kerik filed the Joint Stipulation where the parties agreed that:

• should Plaintiff choose to challenge the privilege designation for any documents in the Revised Privilege Log, “Mr. Kerik takes no position and consents to their disclosure for in camera review by the Court;”

Freeman’s attorneys are asking Howell to review everything (unless Howell rules that Rudy has defaulted on the whole suit).

Plaintiffs have now reviewed the 562 Previously Withheld Documents and the Revised Privilege Log. It is Plaintiffs view, having completed this review and consistent with Plaintiffs’ predictions, that the vast majority (if not all) of the Previously Withheld Documents were not properly withheld as privileged. Apparently at the instruction of third parties, Mr. Kerik continues to withhold 318 documents based on both attorney-client and work product privilege. Plaintiffs have identified 97 documents that, on the face of the privilege log, appear not to be privileged, and also appear to be related to Plaintiffs’ claims. (See Ex. 2.) At minimum, Plaintiffs request that the Court should review these 97 documents in camera. However, because Plaintiffs’ assessment of what warrants further review is based on the descriptions in the Revised Privilege Log, and because Mr. Kerik previously logged documents which we not privileged, Plaintiffs respectfully submit that the more prudent course of action may be an in camera review of the full set of 318 documents. Mr. Kerik has previously stated that he has no opposition to this relief. See ECF No. 83 at 3.

It matters that Howell, who until March presided over the grand jury investigating Trump, would preside over that review.

Among the documents that Kerik is still withholding — at least from Freeman — is a document forwarding something from (!!!) 4Chan to both Kerik and Phil Waldron, alleging a Ukrainian role in Dominion Voting Systems.

Minutes after the 4Chan tip, Waldron and Kerik were also exchange claims that seem centrally pertinent to Freeman’s lawsuit.

Keep that in mind as you read the various stories that pardoned felon Bernie Kerik told the press about his testimony to Smith’s prosecutors.

The first version, from CNN, posted shortly after Kerik left the interview. Kerik’s lawyer, Tim Parlatore, claims that Kerik (who was receiving pitches from 4Chan) operated in good faith.

Kerik’s attorney Timothy Parlatore told CNN on Monday that Kerik told investigators about what Giuliani was doing in late 2020 to hunt down potential evidence of fraud that would show that Trump actually won a second term.

Kerik discussed “what the Giuliani team was doing” and “all the efforts they took at the time to take all the complaints of fraud, to see what they could do to chase them down,” Parlatore said. “Really kind of establishing that at that time, when they weren’t really able to necessarily establish proof, they had probable cause and they were pursuing investigation in good faith.”

Investigators also asked about the seven states that were the focus of Giuliani’s efforts, doing a deep dive on each state to understand the basis for making election fraud claims. Investigators went state by state, asking about each claim of fraud and what it was based on and who they talked to.

Monday marked first meeting with the special counsel team. Smith was not in the room during the closed-door interview, Parlatore said. The interview was conducted by three special counsel prosecutors and two FBI agents.

Parlatore scoffed at the idea Rudy would be charged, basing that claim on whether Rudy — who is trying to avoid further discovery in the Freeman suit by stipulating that the claims he made about Freeman tampering with the vote — knowingly lied about voter fraud, not if Rudy knowingly plotted with Ken Chesebro to set up fake electors.

Asked if he thinks Giuliani will be charged by the special counsel, Parlatore told CNN, “No, not a chance.”

“The idea that Rudy Giuliani was intentionally pushing claims he knew were false is not something supported by the evidence,” Paraltore said. In the 45-page Trump indictment, prosecutors say the co-conspirator that CNN has identified as Giuliani “was willing to spread knowingly false claims.”

CNN may have been the only outlet to note — in the very last paragraph — that Kerik was convicted of fraud and then pardoned by Trump.

Years before Trump became president, Kerik was federally indicted and pleaded guilty to tax fraud and related financial crimes. He served three years in prison, was released in 2013, and received a full pardon from Trump in 2020.

Contrast CNN’s acknowledgment that Kerik was convicted for fraud with NYT’s focus, instead, on his background as a cop.

The word “fraud” shows up seven times in the NYT story, because of its centrality to the charges against Trump. Never once does it mention Kerik’s past fraud.

Instead, NYT describes that if Save America PAC had paid Rudy’s team, their claims of fraud might actually have been vetted better. (Politico’s story also focuses on the financial aspect.)

Among the questions prosecutors asked Mr. Kerik were several related to Mr. Trump’s main postelection fund-raising entity, Save America PAC. The special counsel’s office has been drilling down for months into whether the political action committee raised millions of dollars on claims that there was widespread fraud in the election, but ultimately earmarked the money for things other than investigating those claims.

Mr. Kerik told prosecutors that the team Mr. Giuliani had assembled to look into the allegations of fraud received no money from Save America PAC, even though it was one of the chief groups assigned the task of hunting down evidence that the election had been marred by cheating, Mr. Kerik’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, said on Tuesday.

Mr. Kerik also told prosecutors that if Save America had provided money to Mr. Giuliani’s team, it might have more accurately vetted the claims of fraud, Mr. Parlatore said.

Remember: this was the topic of a subpoena sent to Rudy last year, how he got paid.

Friday, Rolling Stone put Kerik’s testimony at the center of a third story: how Trump’s associates are trying to make Sidney Powell the fall-gal for everything.

On Monday, Bernie Kerik — a longtime Rudy Giuliani associate and a Trump ally who worked on the Giuliani-led legal team challenging Trump’s 2020 defeat — sat with special counsel investigators for a roughly four-and-a-half-hour interview, according to his lawyer Tim Parlatore. (Parlatore previously served as a top attorney to Trump, advising the ex-president on Special Counsel Smith’s probes.)

“Based on the contents of their questions, and my understanding of criminal law, the main individual who was discussed who Mr. Kerik gave any information that could be incriminating would be Sidney,” Parlatore tells Rolling Stone on Thursday. Parlatore added that what Kerik told investigators included: “That there was no back-up for anything she said, that when she was asked to provide proof she didn’t produce anything, and when she was cut loose [from the official Trump legal team], how she kept trying to push her way in.”


Kerik, a former New York police commissioner, is one of the individuals who recently described to federal investigators — among other topics — details regarding Powell’s private behavior as she aided Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election outcome. According to Parlatore, the ex-commissioner did not mince words: “During Bernie Kerik’s interview with the special counsel’s office, the issue of a possible mental health break and change in her demeanor and personality was discussed,” the attorney says.

Parlatore adds that during the investigators’ multi-hour interview with his client, the word “lunatic” was indeed used to describe Powell.


However, the intense nature of the recent line of federal questioning has led various witnesses, lawyers, and others intimately familiar with the situation to the conclusion that Powell likely has a heavy amount of legal exposure in the current stage of Smith’s probe.

Or, as one source who’s been in the room recently with federal investigators succinctly puts it: “Sidney’s fucked.”

Asked to comment on the source’s two-word characterization, Parlatore simply replied with his own two-word statement: “I agree.”

The focus seems to misunderstand how Sidney Powell functions in the indictment. The more Trump advisors say she was a lunatic, the more Trump’s reliance on her makes his conduct problematic.

NYT hit on this part of the story too. In its version, it said prosecutors had specifically asked about Waldron.

Prosecutors asked Mr. Kerik on what factual basis he believed Ms. Powell had filed her suits and he responded that he was unaware of one.

Prosecutors also asked Mr. Kerik about Phil Waldron, a former Army colonel from Texas who served as a kind of liaison between Ms. Powell and members of Mr. Giuliani’s team. Mr. Smith’s investigators wanted to know how seriously Mr. Kerik and others on the team had vetted Mr. Waldron’s claims that there were mathematical irregularities in the vote results in some key swing states that indicated fraud, Mr. Parlatore said.

These stories are not necessarily inconsistent. Over a four hour interview, prosecutors may well have hit on all these topics.

But I’m not sure they fit together the way that Kerik or Parlatore think.

Update: This story from CNN, tying Rudy and Kerik to the Coffee County voting software breach in GA, may explain why everyone is trying to pin all this on Sidney Powell, and may likewise explain the curious status of Powell in Trump’s own indictment.

Shortly after Election Day, Hampton – still serving as the top election official for Coffee County – warned during a state election board meeting that Dominion voting machines could “very easily” be manipulated to flip votes from one candidate to another. It’s a claim that has been repeatedly debunked.

But the Trump campaign officials took notice and reached out to Hampton that same day. “I would like to obtain as much information as possible,” a Trump campaign staffer emailed Hampton at the time, according to documents released as part of a public records request and first reported by the Washington Post.

In early December, Hampton then delayed certification of Joe Biden’s win in Georgia by refusing to validate the recount results by a key deadline. Coffee County was the only county in Georgia that failed to certify its election results due to issues raised by Hampton at the time.

Hampton also posted a video online claiming to expose problems with the county’s Dominion voting system. That video was used by Trump’s lawyers, including Giuliani, as part of their push to convince legislators from multiple states that there was evidence the 2020 election results were tainted by voting system issues.

Text messages and other documents obtained by CNN show Trump allies were seeking access to Coffee County’s voting system by mid-December amid increasing demands for proof of widespread election fraud.

Coffee County was specifically cited in draft executive orders for seizing voting machines that were presented to Trump on December 18, 2020, during a chaotic Oval Office meeting, CNN has reported. During that same meeting, Giuliani alluded to a plan to gain “voluntary access” to machines in Georgia, according to testimony from him and others before the House January 6 committee.

The only overt act of Powell in the indictment is including Dominion in lawsuits after Trump asked — and after Rudy distanced her from his team and after Trump pardoned Mike Flynn.

But Dominion plays a key role, because it — including this Coffee County allegation — served as the basis for Trump’s demands of Brad Raffensperger to find more votes.

Michigan MAGAt News: Michigan Ballot Tabulator Suspect Claims She Has Been Indicted

According to Bridge Michigan, one of the suspects in a tabulator conspiracy, Stefanie Lambert, claims she has been indicted.

“My attorney has been informed that I have been indicted by DJ Hilson, the special prosecutor in Michigan, working at the request of (Attorney General) Dana Nessel,” Stefanie Lambert said Wednesday on a conservative podcast, where she bashed the pending criminal action.


Lambert is one of nine suspects Nessel referred to a special prosecutor last fall, citing an alleged tabulator tampering plot that aimed to prove former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims the 2020 contest was rigged against him.

Court records show Hilson convened a secret grand jury to review evidence. It is the grand jury that would decide any indictments. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Lambert’s claims or the timing of any potential charges.

Other suspects in the case include former state Rep. Daire Rendon of Lake City, Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, officials with the Cyber Ninjas security firm and former Republican attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, who did not return a voicemail seeking comment late Wednesday.

The move has been anticipated since the prosecutor appointed to conduct this investigation when Dana Nessel recused last year, DJ Hilson, obtained a ruling earlier this month that unwarranted possession of voting equipment is a crime.

Lambert’s co-conspirators would make this a fairly important development. Dar Leaf is a sheriff who made excuses for the seriousness of the militia-tied kidnapping plot against Governor Whitmer. Cyber Ninjas, which has had backing from Patrick Byrne, Mike Flynn, and Christina Bobb, is better known for their role in the Arizona audit. And Matt DePerno was the GOP nominee for Attorney General last year, which is why Nessel recused from this investigation.

Per Bernie Kerik’s privilege log, DePerno also had at least three contacts with Rudy Giuliani’s team:

  • 12/9/2020: Cyber Forensics Team Company Overview and CVs Sullivan Strickler.pdf
  • 12/17/2020: Navarro POTUS Fraud report out.pdf

When Hilson got his ruling on the underlying law, it attracted almost no national attention.

But the news has the possibility of having national repercussions.

Meanwhile, another key Michigan MAGAt, failed gubernatorial primary candidate Ryan Kelley (who was arrested for vandalizng the inauguration platform last June), is expected to plead guilty at 10AM in DC.

Update: Here are the plea and the statement of offense for Kelley. He will be sentenced in October, and has yet to do the FBI interview that comes standard with these generic plea deals.

Update, 8/1: Matthew DePerno has, indeed, been indicted. He was arraigned today along with another of the tabulator alleged election fraudsters, former state Rep. Daire Rendon.

Ruby Freeman’s Revenge: Rudy’s Blobs and Bernie’s Glitches

The other day I had the privilege of receiving an angry response from pardoned felon Bernie Kerik to a Twitter (Xitter?) thread I wrote in response to this article, which puzzled through why Bernie had an interview scheduled next month if Jack Smith already sent Trump a target letter.

Me: So CNN has a report that Kerik has (recently?) been subpoenaed for docs and is arranging what sounds like another "proffer" that we probably all misunderstand next month. Kerik: I really wish you guys would stop making shit up. I was subpoenaed months ago and gave them the documents that they asked for. I have no problem meeting with the government, just as I did with the J6 Committee, to provide them with the evidence we were attempting to investigate involving election/voter fraud, and improprieties in the 2020 election. Lastly, there was no fucking ‘Warroom.’ The campaign reimbursed me and others on the legal team for our hotel accommodations! That’s where we worked from, and where we slept at night. Stop making everything so nefarious. It’s pretty simple. We were investigating alleged and reported improprieties in the election, and there were plenty.

Bernie’s Tweet was an attempt to explain how he was responding to a subpoena with a delay. It was not a denial of my larger thread, which I’ll return to.

The pardoned felon has posted a similar Tweet in response to this article, which describes that, “Bernie Kerik has been engaged in a legal battle over turning over documents” but claims, “He’s finally cooperating,” pointing in part to a filing in the Ruby Freeman case over the weekend as evidence of cooperation.

For those of you responding to this article believing there’s some nefarious stuff going on, I hate to break it to you, but it’s exactly what the article says.

To clarify, I was subpoenaed several months ago and cooperated with that subpoena, giving the Special Counsel the documents that I could.

Any document covered under attorney-client privilege, or executive privilege, was held until my attorney @timparlatore/@ParlatoreLaw, recently received the appropriate waivers from President Trump to allow us to relinquish those documents to the Special Counsel.

No one has flipped, no one is selling out Trump or Giuliani.

This is about giving the Special Counsel the evidence that the legal team collected under the supervision of @RudyGiuliani, and was reviewing in the aftermath of the 2020 election relating to voter/election fraud, and improprieties in that election.

Those conspiracy theorists and haters with #TDS, please go find a hobby, instead of promoting lies and disinformation.

Bernie seems determined to explain that compliance with a subpoena — which he claims was delayed due to Trump’s privilege claims — does not equate to flipping.

I’m sure it doesn’t. Too many diehard Trump dead-enders have participated in what are being called proffers — Boris Epshteyn, then Rudy, Mike Roman, and now Bernie — for them to be preludes to a flip. I think the press is simply misunderstanding how Smith is using those proffers.

But he also seems intent on spinning how this “cooperation” came about.

As far as we know, Jack Smith’s visibility into what Rudy and Bernie were up to came via a process that looked something like this:

  • April 2021 to unknown: Seizure of Rudy’s phones on April 28, 2021 and at some unknown point thereafter sharing of fully privilege reviewed documents with January 6 investigators
  • Early 2022: Covert collection of metadata and cloud content
  • May, June, September, and November 2022: A series of subpoenas naming both Rudy and Bernie served on fake electors and other electoral shenanigans
  • September 2022: Seizure of Boris Ephsteyn and Mike Roman’s phones
  • November 2022: Rudy subpoena limited to Trump’s fundraising and spending
  • “Several months ago”: Bernie subpoena
  • April 20-21: Proffer session with Boris Ephsteyn
  • Week of June 19: Two day proffer session for Rudy with Jack Smith’s prosecutors
  • Mid-August: Anticipated proffer session for Bernie

At least three of Bernie’s closest associates have had their phones exploited, albeit via privilege reviews conducted using at least two different methods (the Special Master in Rudy’s case, and unknown means with Epshteyn and Roman). Based on how much got destroyed, Smith should have pretty good idea of what Bernie was up to.

But he subpoenaed him several months ago anyway.

For much of that period, Ruby Freeman has been suing Rudy for the false claims he made about her actions in the Fulton County vote count process. In October 2022, Beryl Howell rejected Rudy’s motion to dismiss and discovery has been going on more than a year.

In recent months, Freeman’s lawyers have filed a series of motions revealing the various methods by which Rudy and Bernie have been blowing off the lawsuit, which generally have consisted of relying on productions they made (or did not) for the January 6 Committee and other lawsuits, while (in Rudy’s case) claiming to have no access to the devices that got seized:

  • April 10: A status report describing how Rudy still claimed to have nothing
  • April 17: A motion to compel describing that Rudy was still relying on his earlier production and had not searched the archive of his seized devices, held by Trust Point, which Rudy would claim included all relevant communications from the time; the motion revealed Rudy had provided some documents on Hunter Biden
  • June 9: A motion to compel Bernie describing extensive efforts to refuse service and recent claims that a “technical glitch” prevented him from sharing documents with Rudy for a more detailed privilege review; it included the privilege log Bernie used with the January 6 Committee, which he had “reactivated” in August 2022
  • July 5: A response to Bernie’s bid to avoid compulsion that pointed to several ways his compliance was still insufficient; it included this privilege log which he turned over June 28
  • July 11: A motion for sanctions against Rudy that points to several communications from others that Rudy had not included on this privilege log, which dates to October 2022

A few highlights matter from this. First, Rudy and Bernie have two different sets of almost exclusive documents; there should be a great deal of overlap between these submissions, but there is virtually none. I’ll show in a follow-up, but Rudy claims to have almost no emails (including the several gmail accounts the government could have obtained without his knowledge). Bernie claims to have almost no texts.

The men adopted inconsistent approaches in the depositions, with Rudy answering more than Bernie, including on basic details about how Rudy’s team operated.

Freeman’s team claims that Rudy’s lawyer Joe Sibley conceded on May 19 that meetings in anticipation of lobbying aren’t privileged.

THE COURT: Okay. Well, I just want to be sure that you understand the law in this Circuit. The Circuit has made it clear in In re Lindsey — all the way back to 1998 — that it’s only legal advice that’s subject to the privilege, not a lawyer’s advice on political, strategic, or policy issues; that would not be shielded from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege.


JOE SIBLEY: We actually did not claim privilege on some of the meetings that Mr. Giuliani had with staff members and things like that before these Georgia hearings because, after looking at it, this was not in anticipation of litigation but in anticipation of presenting at a hearing which would not be privileged. So we withdrew privilege assertions on that basis.

In the motion for sanctions, Freeman’s team disclosed that the things Rudy turned over from Trust Point, most were unusable for technical or content reasons, including the prevalence of “blobs” Rudy blames on DOJ corruption of the files.

Of those txt files, 2,350 are completely non-readable, non-usable computer files known as “blobs.” Id. In his position statement, Defendant Giuliani opined that, in his nonexpert view, the large volume of blank and/or non-responsive documents in his June 16 production of materials from TrustPoint “appears to be a result of file corruption resulting from the DOJ seizure.” ECF No. 77 at 20. The non-txt files are overwhelmingly non-responsive junk including: non-readable computer code; emails advertising a year-long spiritual apprenticeship course; informational packets regarding Microsoft auto-updates (in five different languages); articles and memes about George Floyd; and death notices from The Washington Post.

From the start it seems that Rudy and Bernie attempted to blow off Freeman’s team altogether, perhaps to minimize their criminal exposure, perhaps out of sheer contempt for the women whose lives they allegedly ruined.

But Beryl Howell (who I can’t help but remember, has seen what DOJ did with January 6 grand juries prior to April) chipped away at those efforts. She has excluded lobbying from privilege claims (which may represent a narrowing over what was adopted in SDNY).  She has imposed sanctions on Rudy for blowing this off, is close to doing the same for Bernie. She has threatened to impose still more sanctions, potentially including contempt or default, on Rudy. At some point, even in this civil case, Rudy’s risks go beyond financial.

And all the while, Rudy and Bernie’s efforts to blow this off without expanding their potential exposure to obstruction in the January 6 investigation may have backfired. At the very least, they seem to have narrowed the scope of Bernie’s potential privilege claim and expanded his disclosure requirements.

On June 7, Bernie’s lawyer Tim Parlatore told Freeman’s lawyers, “there are other more pressing matters that have taken priority.”

Perhaps. Or perhaps Bernie made those other matters more pressing in an attempt to blow Freeman off. And that’s before you get into the conflicts between their discovery.

Rudy’s Even Worse Week

Back in May, I wrote a post called, “Rudy’s very bad week.”

It described:

  • He had lost his lawyer for a PA suit against him
  • Judge Beryl Howell was forcing him to cooperate in the Ruby Freeman lawsuit against him
  • Rudy claiming he faced no legal risk from Jack Smith
  • He was being sued by a former associate Noelle Dunphy who claimed to have two years of his email

He had a worse week this week.

That’s true, in significant part, because yesterday the DC Board on Professional Responsibility recommended he be disbarred in DC. the committee basically said he made false claims based on no evidence to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.

The documentary evidence that Respondent did produce is fundamentally vague, speculative, or facially incredible. We have reviewed it and have examined with particularity the materials cited by Respondent in his posthearing filings. Respondent’s PFF 36-37. Although the materials identify a handful of isolated election irregularities, they completely fail to demonstrate that the observational boundaries or Notice and Cure procedures facilitated any meaningful fraud or misconduct that could have possibly affected the outcome of the presidential election.


Mr. Giuliani’s argument that he did not have time fully to investigate his case before filing it is singularly unimpressive. He sought to upend the presidential election but never had evidence to support that effort. Surely Rule 3.1 required more.


Mr. Giuliani brought a case that had no factual support. It caused an astonishing waste of the resources of the District Court, the Third Circuit, and multiple defendants in a compressed time frame.


We cannot blind ourselves to the broader context in which Mr. Giuliani’s misconduct took place. It was calculated to undermine the basic premise of our democratic form of government: that elections are determined by the voters. The Pennsylvania claims were carefully calibrated to blend into a nationwide cascade of litigation intended to overturn the presidential election. FF 9. Since John Adams established the precedent in 1800, no president – until 2020 – refused to accept defeat and step away from that office. And no lawyer – until 2020 – used frivolous claims of election fraud to impede the peaceful transition of presidential power and disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters.


His frivolous claims impacted not only the court and parties involved but threatened irreparable harm to the entire nation.

Even before that, though, Rudy was taking steps to settle a lawsuit for his conduct after he gave up filing frivolous lawsuits based on no evidence — the attacks he made on Ruby Freeman and her daughter.

On Thursday, Rudy’s attorney Joe Silbey reached out to Freeman’s lawyers and, less than a day later, they asked for time to come to some settlement.

On July 6, 2023, counsel for Defendant Giuliani approached counsel for Plaintiffs to discuss a potential negotiated resolution of issues that would resolve large portions of this litigation and otherwise give rise to Plaintiffs’ anticipated request for sanctions. Throughout July 6 and July 7—and into the evening on July 7, counsel for both parties have worked diligently to negotiate a resolution and believe they are close.

Silbey’s approach for a settlement came one day after Freeman’s lawyers asked for $89,172.50 in legal fees for all the stalling that Rudy has already done.

The same day as Freeman asked for sanctions, they also filed a motion to compel Bernie Kerik’s cooperation. They included a revised privilege log that — while they still argue it is noncompliant with legal standards — nevertheless points to a whole slew of interesting communications in Kerik’s possession. For example, there’s a January 4, 2021 briefing for members of the Senate on which Steve Bannon was CCed (note, Katherine Freiss used both protonmail and hushmail to conduct her coup plotting; I’m leaving these emails unredacted to show the stealth with which these people were trying to steal an election).

There’s a FISA proposal from Mark Finchem.

There is what appears to be a request that Mark Meadows clear them into the White House for the December 18 meeting that doesn’t even get Meadows’ first name right.

There’s an email showing MI fraudster Matthew DePerno receiving Peter Navarro’s report even before Trump sent it out, right along with the rest of Rudy’s team (and other emails show that Victoria Toensing was closely involved in the MI shenanigans).

And the emails give a better sense of what Sidney Powell and Mike Flynn were up to.

Almost none of this would be privileged, because Rudy was no longer pursuing litigation after the PA lawsuit.

All this comes amid more reporting on Rudy’s recent 8 hour interview with Jack Smith’s team, which itself follows voluntary interviews with (at least) Mike Roman and Boris Epshteyn.

During Rudy’s last really really bad week, he had the fantastic belief he wasn’t in any legal trouble.

He may finally understand how ridiculous that is.

Update: I hadn’t been tracking the Dunphy suit, but Rudy narrowly missed being assessed attorney fees there, too, this week.


Down a Mouse Hole with Bill Clinton’s Cat, Socks

When I first read this WaPo article yesterday, I was struck by two things: first, the revelation that when Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton appeared before a Jack Smith grand jury early this year, he was asked both about his central role in convincing Donald Trump he could rely on a case he, Fitton, lost, to justify stealing thousands of government documents (that’s the testimony we knew about), but also his role in January 6.

Fitton, who appeared before the grand jury and was questioned about his role in both the Mar-a-Lago documents case and the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, acknowledged he gave the advice to Trump but declined to discuss the details of their conversations.

I wasn’t aware that Fitton had much of a role in January 6.

I was also shocked that, in the spite of the grave damage Fitton’s crackpot advice had already done to Donald Trump’s future, he was nevertheless permitted to be there with the accused felon Monday night, dining on what was undoubtedly overcooked filet mignon, as Trump and his supporters discussed his plans for beating the rap.

In an interview Wednesday, Fitton said he dined with Trump on Monday night at his club, eating filet mignon with the former president one day before his first court appearance on the document charges. “I saw him last night; he’s in a good mood. He’s serious and ready to fight under the law.”

On top of the sheer stupidity of letting Fitton anywhere close to Trump in the wake of his indictment, Fitton’s presence presumably would breach any privilege claim lawyers present could make in the future.

The report that Fitton has been chatting with Trump this week explains some of the insanely stupid things Trump has said on his failing social media site, not to mention Trump’s deceit in claiming he would see everything presented to the grand jury, much less have already seen it before any protective order is signed and discovery is provided.

By invoking Clinton’s Socks, his term for Fitton’s failed lawsuit, Trump was falsely claiming to have inside knowledge of something that would have legal merit, presumably so his followers would believe Trump had some viable defense (that they would send him money to fund).

I was not, however, surprised by the sheer stupidity of the opinions Fitton expressed to WaPo.

“I think what is lacking is the lawyers saying, ‘I took this to be obstruction,’” said Fitton. “Where is the conspiracy? I don’t understand any of it. I think this is a trap. They had no business asking for the records … and they’ve manufactured an obstruction charge out of that. There are core constitutional issues that the indictment avoids, and the obstruction charge seems weak to me.”

Several other Trump advisers blamed Fitton for convincing Trump that he could keep the documents and repeatedly mentioning the “Clinton socks case” — a reference to tapes Bill Clinton stored in his sock drawer of his secret interviews with historian Taylor Branch that served as the basis of Branch’s 2009 book documenting the Clinton presidency.

Judicial Watch lost a lawsuit in 2012 that demanded the audio recordings be designated as presidential records and that the National Archives take custody of the recordings. A court opinion issued at the time stated that there was no legal mechanism for the Archives to force Clinton to turn over the recordings.

For his part, Fitton said Trump’s lawyers “should have been more aggressive in fighting the subpoenas and fighting for Trump.”

It’s not just that Fitton was allowed to share these legally incorrect opinions with Trump. It’s that he badly misunderstands how his own advice about the “Clinton Socks” case might be viewed as an agreement with Trump to enter into a conspiracy to withhold classified documents.

Remember, after Trump fucked up releasing the Crossfire Hurricane documents, Fitton went after them himself, only to reveal that the collection was just one dumbass binder.

Anyway, after puzzling through what role Tom Fitton might have had on January 6, I started reading through a motion to compel that Ruby Freeman’s attorneys served on pardoned felon Bernie Kerik last week. Bernie was the guy who mailed a key strategy document to Mark Meadows on December 28, 2020. In addition to making clear that Bernie was sharing the document to “move legislators,” not win court cases, it included exhibits laying out the claims about Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss that Rudy Giuliani would subsequently make publicly — that Freeman counted suitcases of votes multiple times after kicking out poll watchers, using a false claim of a water main break as the excuse — claims that Freeman alleges amount to defamation.

To be clear: those claims about Freeman are false, as is the claim she was arrested for her actions. Thus the lawsuit.

Freeman’s lawyers filed a motion to compel because when Kerik first responded to their subpoena last year, his attorney — Tim Parlatore — simply provided a link to the stuff that Kerik had provided to the January 6 Committee. Since then, Freeman’s lawyers argue, Rudy has disclaimed any work privilege claim over materials prepared for legislatures, as opposed to lawsuits. But when Freeman’s lawyers have gone back to Kerik to get the materials he withheld from J6C under a work product privilege claim that (they argue) Rudy has since waived, Parlatore explained there had been a “technical glitch” that creates some difficulties in consulting with Rudy’s attorney on the issue.

Relations between Parlatore and Freeman’s team have been sour for some time. Around the same time in December when Parlatore was telling a DC grand jury that he had done a diligent search of Bedminster — where at least two and probably a bunch of classified records have been sent, never to be seen again — he was telling Freeman’s team that Kerik didn’t have some documents that Freeman had obtained from other sources.

After Plaintiffs spent months negotiating with Mr. Kerik’s counsel and made more than a dozen unsuccessful attempts to effectuate personal service on Mr. Kerik,5 counsel for Mr. Kerik accepted service of the First Kerik Subpoena on November 14, 2022. (See Houghton-Larsen Decl. ¶ 4.) On November 21, 2022, Plaintiffs agreed to narrow the requests and provided examples of emails produced during discovery that were sent to Mr. Kerik but were not present in his production to the Select Committee. (See id. ¶ 5.) On December 21, 2022, Mr. Parlatore responded that “Mr. Kerik has looked and we do not seem to have any additional responsive documents to provide.” (See id. ¶ 6.) Mr. Kerik has never explained why he does “not seem to have” any of the example communications Plaintiffs provided to him, on which he was copied, and which have been produced by other parties.

By the time former Trump attorney Parlatore claimed a “technical glitch” was creating delays on June 7, the day before Trump was indicted, he also explained that, “there are other more pressing matters that have taken priority.”

The motion to compel includes fragments of both Rudy’s and Kerik’s March depositions in this case. In Kerik’s, Parlatore made a series of dickish responses to Freeman attorney Annie Houghton-Larsen’s questions that Parlatore deemed to ask for work product information, precisely the privilege claim that has since started to collapse.

In Rudy’s, there are a slew of hilarious responses showing how dissolute Rudy has gotten, such as when, struggling to come up with Sidney Powell’s name, he called her the Wicked Witch of the East.

Q. I’ll ask you about who was on it, but the team that was assembled at that point in time, is that the team that Ms. Bobb is referring to as the “Giuliani legal team”?

A. Correct.

Q. Now you can tell me, who was on this team?

A. It was myself, Jenna Ellis, Victoria Toensing, Joe DiGenova, Boris Epshteyn, originally.

We added Christina after about two weeks, and we added — oh my goodness, of course, her name will escape me.

Come on guys, help me. The wicked witch of the east.

Q. It’s — really, in this forum, I’m interested in what you remember.

A. Oh, I remember who it is. I just can’t remember the name. I block it out.

Q. We can come back to it.

A. On purpose. Everybody knows who it is.

Q. We can come back to it.

Anyone else aside apart this —

A. Sidney.

Q. Sidney?

A. It was Sidney.

Q. Sidney who?

MR COSTELLO: How could you forget that?

Q. Are you referring to Sidney Powell?

A. Sidney Powell, yeah.

Both men, however, struggled when asked about this passage of the strategy document, showing who, on December 28, its author considered key members of their team (Freedom Caucus members make the list on the following page), both struggled to remember who some of the members were.

There was little doubt that BK was Kerik and both ultimately decided that BE was Epshteyn.

But both simply couldn’t imagine what close Boris associate “SB” might be. Here’s Kerik’s epic struggle with the question:

Q. Okay. This might help you. Can we please turn to page 6.

Okay. So about two-thirds down the page it says, “Key team members. Rudy Giuliani.”

And then, “BK.” I’m assuming that’s you.

A. That’s probably me.

Q. Okay. “KF.” Do you know who that is?

A. Katherine Friess.

Q. And then, “Media advisors. SB.” Who do you think that is?

A. No idea. Well, I went through this before.

THE WITNESS: Who did I do this with? J6?

MR. PARLATORE: Probably.

THE WITNESS: Yeah. Boris Epshteyn would have been the BE. SB, I have no idea what that  is.


Q. Okay.

Sadly, Rudy dodged the TF question altogether and the excerpt cut off before Kerik was quizzed about the same question.

So we will have to wait to learn whether Tom Fitton is the TF who did influencer outreach on the effort to steal the election.

But it might help to explain why he was still welcome in the Boris Epshteyn-led effort to pursue political grievance rather than a sound legal defense.

Pat Cipollone Predicted the Obstruction and ConFraudUS Prosecutions

This morning, for the second time in two weeks, Liz Cheney called out former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, by name, to cooperate with the January 6 Committee.

Yesterday’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson revealed one reason why his testimony would be so important. He predicted — on January 3 or 4th — that Trump might be prosecuted under the very same crimes DOJ has been charging for well over a year: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of the vote certification.

Cheney: We understand, Ms. Hutchinson, that you also spoke to Mr. Cipollone on the morning of the Sixth, as you were about to go to the rally on the Ellipse. And Mr. Cipollone said something to you like, “make sure the movement to the Capitol does not happen.” Is that correct?

Hutchinson: That’s correct. I saw Mr. Cipollone right before I walked out onto West Exec that morning and Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, “Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”

Cheney: And do you remember which crimes Mr. Cipollone was concerned with?

Hutchinson: In the days leading up to the sixth, we had conversations about obstructing justice of defrauding the electoral count.

Cheney: Let’s hear about some of those concerns that you mentioned earlier in one of your interviews with us.

{video clip}

Hutchinson: … having a private conversation with Pat on the after noon of third or fourth, um, that Pat was concerned it would look like we were obstructing justice, or obstructing the electoral college count. I apologize for probably not being very firm with my legal terms here.

Or rather, Cipollone didn’t predict Trump would be charged with ConFraudUS and obstruction. He predicted “we” would, presumably including himself and even Hutchinson.

Here I’ve thought I was ahead of the curve by predicting — last August — that if Trump were prosecuted, it would be for those crimes. It turns out that Trump’s White House Counsel was way ahead of me, predicting the same even before the insurrection!

Cipollone’s recognition of this legal exposure is important for a number of reasons. First, it validates DOJ’s approach — and does so in advance of the DC Circuit’s consideration of DOJ’s appeal of Carl Nichols’ outlier opinion rejecting such an application.

Those are also the crimes named in the warrant served on Jeffrey Clark last week.

But Cipollone’s awareness of this exposure also may explain why Cipollone has been reluctant to testify (though it’s possible he has testified with DOJ and simply doesn’t want that to be public). Hutchinson laid out a number of things that Cipollone did on January 6 that made it clear he was not willingly going along with Trump’s actions, most notably his efforts to get Trump to call off his mob before Trump re-ignited them with his 2:24 text attacking Mike Pence again. If there was a conspiracy to obstruct the vote certification, he took overt acts to leave that conspiracy before and during the conspiracy on January 6.

By that point, however, it may have been too late for Cipollone to avoid all exposure to Trump’s corrupt actions. That’s because Cipollone would have been involved in the pardons of those — Cheney focused on Roger Stone and Mike Flynn last night, but Bernie Kerik and Paul Manafort also got pardons — who would go on to play key roles in Trump’s insurrection. (I assume Cipollone was not involved in the Bannon pardon that came after the attack, and I noted in real time that Cipollone likely prevented a bunch of other pardons that would have made obstruction more likely.) That is, Cipollone might have exposure for obstruction for actions already taken by January 3 or 4 when he explained this legal exposure to Hutchinson.

Even Bill Barr said that rewarding false testimony with a pardon would be obstruction. And Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort all delivered on that quid pro quo.

For all Liz Cheney’s specific exhortations, Cipollone may know better than to testify to Congress. Because without testifying to DOJ, first, that may cause him more legal trouble than his current (presumed) silence.

Update: As a number of people in comments noted, the Committee has formally subpoenaed Cipollone.

Crime in the Era of Encrypted Apps: The Relationship between the DOJ and January 6 Investigations into Fake Electors

Yesterday, DOJ took a slew of overt steps in their investigation into the fake electors:

  • WaPo: Law enforcement activity targeting GA lawyer Brad Carver and Trump staffer Thomas Lane, subpoenas for GA GOP Chair David Shafer and Michigan fake electors
  • NYT: Subpoenas to Trump campaign aide in MI, Shawn Flynn, as well as Carver, Lane, and Shafer
  • CBS: Search warrants for NV GOP Chair Michael McDonald and Secretary James DeGraffenreid
  • CNN: Subpoena for Shafer, a warrant for Brad Carver’s phone, information on a GA Signal chat

Even though some of these reports cite the late January batch of subpoenas DOJ sent to people who had declined to participate in the fake elector scheme, the timing of the action — taking place one day after the hearing on the scheme — has set off the usual set of whinging that DOJ isn’t doing as much as the January 6 Committee.

Yet even the first of these stories — the WaPo one — provides reason to believe that DOJ is not chasing the January 6 Committee on this investigation at all. And as I keep pointing out, in April 2021, DOJ took steps — starting on Lisa Monaco’s first day in office — that will be critical to this investigation.

I’ve laid out how, by seizing Rudy Giuliani’s phones in conjunction with his Ukraine influence peddling investigation on April 28, DOJ has made the content available for the January 6 investigation at whatever time they were able to show probable cause for a warrant. That’s because the privilege review covered all content from the phones that post-dates January 1, 2018 and the privilege review was conducted prior to any review for relevance, so it would cover content whether or not it related to Ukraine.

As this table lays out, the review on half the devices DOJ was able to get into (there were two the passwords for which it had not cracked by April) included content to date of seizure on April 28, 2021.

Special Master Barbara Jones turned over the last of this material on January 21, days before Monaco confirmed that DOJ is investigating the fake elector scheme. In April, purportedly to conduct an interview in advance of an imminent decision on Rudy’s Ukraine influence-peddling, DOJ asked for his help to get into the last several phones (the numbers in this story don’t match Barbara Jones’ reports, but CNN may suggest there were two newly discovered phones; there has been no overt activity in the Special Master docket since then).

All of which is to say that whatever material Rudy, a prolific texter, had on his phones about the fake elector scheme he was central to would have been available to DOJ with a warrant since January, but that’s only true because DOJ started this process on Monaco’s first day on the job.

Even in spite of that (and the timing of Monaco’s announcement of the investigation into the fake electors), like many people, I believed DOJ might have been chasing the January 6 Committee investigation. Except several details revealed in recent days makes it clear that DOJ had developed information independent of the Committee.

For example, I first learned that Boris Epshteyn was involved from this slide in Tuesday’s hearing, which left Epshteyn’s name unredacted whereas the copy docketed in the John Eastman litigation redacts it.

But Kyle Cheney noted that Epshteyn’s name was first made public in a footnote in the associated court filing. That filing was dated May 26.

Before May 26, according to earlier NYT and CNN stories on DOJ’s investigation into the fake electors, prosecutors were already asking about Epshteyn’s role. Here’s CNN:

Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, adviser Boris Epshteyn and campaign lawyer Justin Clark are among the list of names the witness was asked about, the source said.

Yesterday’s WaPo story similarly described prosecutors asking about the involvement of someone — Bernie Kerik — whose role the January 6 Committee has not yet (as far as I’m aware) public disclosed.

Those earlier subpoenas sought all documents since Oct. 1, 2020, related to the electoral college vote, as well as any election-related communications with roughly a dozen people in Trump’s inner circle, including Rudy Giuliani, Bernard Kerik, Boris Epshteyn, Jenna Ellis and John Eastman.

One would-be Trump elector in Georgia, Patrick Gartland, had been appointed to the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration and believed that post meant serving as an elector would have created a conflict of interest for him. Still, two FBI agents recently came to his home with a subpoena and asked whether he had any contact with Trump advisers around the time of the November election. “They wanted to know if I had talked to Giuliani,” Gartland said.

One possible explanation (though not the only one) is that DOJ has a more Rudy-focused understanding of the elector scheme than the Committee, which would make sense if they had materials from Rudy’s devices that the Committee doesn’t have.

To be clear: I think it likely that DOJ has or will exploit the January 6 investigation into the same topic in at least two ways.

First, I think it likely that DOJ piggybacked on the Committee’s privilege fight with Eastman. They’ve always had the ability to serve a warrant on Chapman University for the same emails the Committee has been receiving covertly, after all, which is the kind of thing DOJ loves to do in an investigation. But by doing so in the wake of Judge David Carter’s privilege decisions, DOJ can get crime-fraud excepted communications without a Special Master process like the one they used with Rudy.

And, because the January 6 Committee is obtaining sworn depositions from some of the people involved, DOJ may get evidence of false statements — from people claiming to have no knowledge of the larger scheme or corrupt intent of the fake electors — that they could use to coerce cooperation down the road.

With the warrants in NV and GA, DOJ is taking the kind of overt acts that sometimes precede arrests. Because DOJ can get email and social media content covertly, it almost always does that before serving subpoenas (to minimize the chance someone will destroy evidence in response). Only after that, usually, do they seize someone’s phone. That kind of stuff takes months. So there’s no way DOJ could have gotten there overnight based entirely off watching the January 6 hearing.

In Tuesday’s hearing, it became clear that the GOP will try to, institutionally, blame Trump for all this. That may not be true. But it may be useful for DOJ investigators.

Update: Fixed the names of the NV GOPers.

Update: Fixed Brad Carver’s name.

A White Board of the Sedition-Curious

Contrary to what a lot of people imagine, I don’t keep visual representations — like some cork board with a bunch of strings attached — of the investigations I follow, not even the sprawling January 6 investigation. Instead, I just try to capture important developments here, where I can refer back to them. There are several such relationships unpacked in recent weeks.

Roger Stone and Stewart Rhodes bug out at the same time after insurrection

For example, a bunch of people have asked me what I make of the WaPo report based on video taken by some Danish journalists who were filming a documentary of Roger Stone on January 6.

As you read it, keep in mind that the Get Me Roger Stone video team was following Roger Stone during key periods of 2016, including at the RNC.

Mueller at least attempted — as Stone feared Mueller would in real time — to mine the video for clues about Stone’s activities. For example, in one of the same email chains where Stone told Randy Credico to “do a [Frank] Panta[n]gel[i],” he and Credico were panicking about what Get Me Roger Stone writer Morgan Pehme was saying about 2016.

So even assuming Roger Stone wasn’t engaged in his everyday type of performance when being filmed for these film-makers, he would be acutely aware of the legal hazards of having a documentary team following around while crimes were being committed.

That’s why the report is most interesting for the times when Stone made sure to ditch the camera team: at precisely the time of a key Proud Boy planning meeting, during a meeting that Joshua James may have reported in on, and as the riot unfolded at the Capitol.

For example, the videographers did not track Stone when he left the hotel at 9PM on January 5 with Sal Greco.

At about 8:50 p.m. on Jan. 5, after the Danish filmmakers had left him, Stone exited the Willard again with his bodyguard, off-duty New York City police officer Sal Greco, a live-stream video shows. Their destination was unclear, though Stone had said he had a 9 p.m. appointment to have his hair dyed.

Just minutes after that — just before 9:17 PM — Joe Biggs and Ethan Nordean were meeting with as-yet unidentified people putting together their plan for the riot.

Then there was a meeting with Bernie Kerik at 10AM at the Willard; hotel staff prevented videographers from watching that meeting.

The filmmakers told The Post that Stone appeared to change his plans after an encounter in the Willard lobby around 10 a.m. with Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner working in Giuliani’s command center at the hotel. The filmmakers began recording their conversation but were forced to leave by hotel staff. It is unclear what was said.

There’s good evidence that Joshua James checked in with Michael Simmons before and after that meeting.

Finally, Stone blew off the videographers from just before the Proud Boys kicked off a riot until almost the moment both Stone-related militias stood down.

At about 12:40 p.m., some ofStone’s guests left his suite. Stone’s team and the filmmakers agreed to separate for lunch and then reconvene two hours later. Stone planned to speak at a smaller rally near the Capitol later that afternoon.

But as the filmmakers ate in their hotel room, they saw news footage of a riot escalating at the Capitol. Around 2:30 p.m., Guldbrandsen headed out to capture the scene while Frederik Marbell, the director of photography, rushed to Stone’s room.

“Kristin Davis opened the door and said that Roger was taking a nap, so I couldn’t film,” Marbelltold The Post.

Outside the room, Marbell attempted to reach Stone by text message starting at 3:03 p.m. The messages went unanswered for 24 minutes, when Stone responded and offered to go to Marbell’s room.

By about 4 p.m., with the Capitol in chaos, Stone had still not arrived at Marbell’s room. Marbell returned to Stone’s room and began knocking. About five minutes later, room service arrived and Marbell snuck inside, he said.

“Roger was not taking a nap. He was on the phone with someone,” Marbell said.

Stone condemned the riot to the filmmakers at 4:18 p.m., saying: “I think it’s really bad for the movement. It hurts, it doesn’t help. I’m not sure what they thought they were going to achieve.

These are like Stone’s July 2016 meeting with Nigel Farage at the RNC: The stuff he knew well to and did hide from the camera. That’s where the sweet spot of Stone’s interactions are.

All that said, the report shows that key Stone actions the camera team captured exactly map the known central events of the planning for the insurrection.

For example, Stone put together a Friends of Stone Signal list, including Enrique Tarrio, once it became clear Trump had lost. That fed Flynn’s efforts.

He told them to monitor a group chat on the app Signal titled “F.O.S.” — friends of Stone. Tarrio of the Proud Boys was among the group’s members, a later shot of Stone’s phone showed.


On Nov. 5, Stone drew up a Stop the Steal action plan that was visible on Alejandro’s laptop in footage captured by the filmmakers. As protesters were mobilized, the plan said, state lawmakers would be lobbied to reject official results. That tactic later proved central to Trump’s efforts.

Also that day, Stone had a 15-minute call with Flynn, the video shows. He told Flynn they could “document an overwhelming and compelling fraud” in each battleground state and urged him to spread the word on social media. That day, Flynn, Trump’s campaign and his sons Donald Jr. and Eric began using #StopTheSteal on Twitter.

Just after this mobilization, both Tarrio and Biggs started calling for civil war.

Later that month, Stone was coordinating with Mike Flynn and Ali Alexander.

Stone moved quickly after Trump’s defeat to help mobilize the protest movement that drew thousands to the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021, The Post found. He privately strategized with former national security adviser Michael Flynn and rally organizer Ali Alexander, who visited Stone’s home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in late November 2020 for a dinner where Stone served pasta and martinis.

In the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (when Flynn would be pardoned and Sidney Powell would, like Stone, start grifting off claims of a stolen election), Flynn and Powell were at Lin Wood’s properties in South Carolina, plotting away.

I was most struck, however, by the unsurprising news that in addition to Tarrio, Stone also used Signal messages with Stewart Rhodes.

Stone used an encrypted messaging app later in January to communicate with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, who is also charged with seditious conspiracy, and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, the footage shows.

When I saw the description in James’ statement of offense of the way Rhodes bugged out of town immediately after the riot, I suspected that someone had instructed Rhodes that they were going to be hunted.

At Rhodes’s instruction, James, Vallejo, and others met Rhodes that evening at a restaurant in Vienna, Virginia. Rhodes discussed saving “the Republic” by stopping the transfer of presidential power and began to make plans to oppose the Inauguration on January 20, 2021, including by having people open-carry firearms at state capitols around the country.

While at the restaurant, Rhodes and James came to believe that law enforcement was searching for Rhodes and others after their attack on the Capitol. The group immediately returned to their hotel, collected their belongings, and met at a nearby gas station. There, James saw what he estimated to be thousands of dollars’ worth of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment in Rhodes’s vehicle. Rhodes divvied up various firearms and other gear among James and others who occupied a total of three cars. Rhodes left his mobile phone with one person and departed with another person in that person’s car so that law enforcement could not locate and arrest him. The three cars departed in separate directions.

James returned to Alabama with some of Rhodes’s gear, including firearms and other tactical equipment.

According to the videographers, Stone bugged out at about the same time and in the same frantic manner as Rhodes did.

As a mob ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s longest-serving political adviser, hurried to pack a suitcase inside his elegant suite on the fifth floor of the Willard hotel. He wrapped his tailored suits in trash bags, reversed his black face mask so its “Free Roger Stone” logo was hidden, then slipped out of town for a hastily arranged private flight from Dulles International Airport.

“I really want to get out of here,” Stone told an aide, as they were filmed at the hotel by a Danish camera crew for a documentary on the veteran Republican operative. Stone said he feared prosecution by the incoming attorney general, Merrick Garland. “He is not a friend,” Stone said.

I would, at this point, be shocked if Rhodes and Stone hadn’t communally decided they needed to bolt. The remaining question I have, though, is whether someone in government — like Mark Meadows — alerted Stone or someone close to him that the FBI had switched immediately into investigative mode.

Sidney Powell springs for the sedition gaslight defense

In the same way that the Danish videographers confirm that Roger Stone and Mike Flynn were conspiring early in the post-election process, a recent BuzzFeed report reveals that Sidney Powell is now using her hard-won grift to pay for the defense of some Oath Keepers.

Since October, the organization, Defending the Republic, has been making monthly payments to the defense attorney for Kelly Meggs, a member of the militant group the Oath Keepers who is charged with seditious conspiracy for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. In an interview, the attorney, Jonathon Moseley, said he was aware of “at least three or four other defendants who have that arrangement” as well. The Oath Keepers’ general counsel, Kellye SoRelle, said that one of those others is the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes. Offered the chance to deny that, his lawyers said they don’t discuss funding.

The revelation, which has not been previously reported, sheds new light on the activities of Powell’s organization, which was incorporated in December 2020 “to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans.” By last August, the group had raised nearly $15 million, according to its audited financial statements, and since then has raked in untold cash in donations and sales of merchandise, including T-shirts, drink coasters, and highball glasses adorned with the organization’s logo. Yet despite mounting legal scrutiny from federal and state investigators, Defending the Republic has disclosed almost nothing about where that money has been going.


Powell’s involvement in the Oath Keepers case helps explain how some of the defendants, most of whom are far from wealthy, have been able to work with private attorneys who charge hundreds of dollars an hour rather than court-appointed lawyers. But it also raises questions as to who is dictating their defense strategy. In recent months, defense attorneys have raised many of the same far-flung conspiracies about COVID-19, antifa, and the deep state that appeared in lawsuits against the federal government filed by Powell herself.

As Ken Bensinger notes and I have traced, Jonathon Moseley has chosen to use court filings to engage in conspiracy theorizing rather than a more typical defense.

But on top of the futility of such an approach to actually obtain an optimal outcome, it serves to undermine rule of law more generally. Moseley’s approach is not all that different from the one that Powell herself used with Mike Flynn in attempting to blow up his prosecution by inventing false claims about the government. There was no evidence to support it, but it fed the frothers.

Tellingly, Powell’s efforts did nothing but make Flynn’s outcome worse. Thus, the defense plan, such as it existed, served to undermine rule of law and then make it all go away with a Presidential pardon. I’ve long assumed that that was the hope for Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson (who has adopted a similarly conspiratorial defense approach): that they could stall through 2025 in hopes a Republican would pardon them for their alleged sedition.

On March 4, Judge Amit Mehta appointed Andrew Wise of Miller Chevalier as conflict counsel to inquire into conflicts between Moseley’s representation of Meggs and (at least in the civil suit) Stewart Rhodes). That’s likely to bring a review of compensation arrangements, which may lead to inquiries about what Powell is paying Moseley to do.

Interestingly, BuzzFeed suggests that Juli Haller, who represents Meggs’ wife Connie, but also Ryan Samsel, may be on this dole. There was a time when Samsel looked like he might have considered flipping but that time is long gone.

Roger Stone’s pardon grift

And now, having covered Roger Stone’s Stop the Steal grift and Sidney Powell’s Defending the Republic grift, we come to Stone’s pardon-selling.

The Daily Beast adds to the earlier WaPo report (the first item here) that addressed all the pardons Roger Stone pitched Trump to make in the days between when he bolted from DC quickly and the day any such power expired. It notes that in mid-January 2021, Stone was playing all sides of the Florida scandal that engulfs Matt Gaetz.

It’s already known that Stone lobbied for pardons for both Gaetz and Greenberg in the waning days of the Trump administration. But it wasn’t known that Stone also advocated for a pardon for this third man connected to Gaetz and Greenberg: Stephen Alford, a serial fraudster from the Florida panhandle.

That development was first revealed by The Washington Post in a draft memo published earlier this month. But the Post report didn’t mention Alford—his name only appears in a document the Post obtained and uploaded online—and the link hasn’t been explored.

Two months after Stone advocated for Alford’s absolution, that allegiance dissolved when Alford became Gaetz’s scapegoat for the investigation. (Stone also eventually blasted Alford as part of the “deep state.”)

Just weeks before, however, Stone was in Alford’s corner, lobbying for a pardon.

Much of this is just scammy Florida politics. I’m interested in two details of this.

First, one of the ties TDB did find between Alford — the guy who attempted to extort Gaetz’s dad — and Stone goes through Oleg Deripaska.

According to a person with direct knowledge of the events, however, Alford had one powerful friend: A Republican lobbyist close to Stone.

Weeks after Alford’s pardon request was declined, that lobbyist shared some more information: Matt Gaetz was in trouble. And the lobbyist, this person said, had the details, including images of Gaetz with young women at a sex party.

While it’s unclear how the lobbyist—an associate of Oleg Deripaska—came into this information, Stone had by that time known about the Gaetz allegations for months; Greenberg had told Stone all about their involvement with a 17-year-old, both over text messages and in a confession he drafted at Stone’s request, as part of the pardon process.

It didn’t take long for Alford to cobble together a plan—and it was a doozy: He would secure Gaetz a presidential pardon in exchange for $25 million, which Alford would supposedly use to repatriate an FBI agent taken hostage in Iran who has long been considered dead.

TDB then describes how this plan, involving a lobbyist with ties to Deripaska, was behind the campaign against the NYT story on Gaetz’ legal woes.

When The New York Times broke the investigation in late March last year, Gaetz used Alford’s ploy as ammo. He fired off a tweetstorm, claiming the Times report was a “planted leak” designed to torpedo an investigation into “criminal extortion” plot “to smear my name.”

The central figure in Gaetz’s narrative, however, wasn’t Alford; it was Alford’s lawyer, whose role was limited to holding the money in an escrow account while Alford negotiated the release.

That lawyer had one special characteristic: Three decades ago, he served as a DOJ prosecutor. And that fact equipped the narrative with a “deep state” hook—a Roger Stone special.

Gaetz doubled down that night on Tucker Carlson’s late-night Fox News talk show, explaining the convoluted “leaking” and “smearing” plot to a befuddled Carlson, who remarked that it was “one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.”

The next day, Stone piped up to defend Gaetz, using the same language.

And I’m interested in that because Glenn Greenwald was another key player in this anti-NYT campaign, including as recently as December.

Click through for the details on Gaetz paying Stone until he stopped paying Stone.

Update: One more note about Stone’s plan for pardons. Unsurprisingly he pushed for pardons for Assange and Stone, and unsurprisingly he did so in the same terms that Greenwald did — as the best way to get back at the Deep State.

Hell yes ,I would pardon Julian Assange and Edward Snowden- they are persecuted because they exposed the same people who attempted the Russia Collusion Hoax, the Ukraine hoax the last phony impeachment and are now pushing you’re their new phony impeachment.

The plan is a telling document of how Stone exploited Trump’s narcissism and grievances to get things done. The UK Supreme Court just rejected Assange’s bid to appeal, so the initial extradition request will go to Priti Patel for approval (though he still has several avenues of appeal).