Karl Rove Accused by Attorney in Ohio Elections Fraud Case of Intimidating a Witness; Meanwhile, Expert Claims to Have Fresh Evidence of Possible Irregularities
CAVEAT: The underlying facts are still in the process of development. At present, file it away under ‘Interesting allegations’ against Karl Rove. There have been plenty of others.
According to Brad Friedman at The Brad Blog, Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck (lead plaintiffs’ attorney in the long-standing Ohio elections fraud case King Lincoln Bronzwell v. Blackwell has accused Karl Rove of attempting to intimidate a potential witness, cyber-expert Mike Connell. That case challenges the results the 2004 presidential election in
According to Arnebeck, Rove threatened cyber-expert Connell (and with his wife) with prosecution for lobbying violations if Connell failed ‘to take the fall.’ (The Brad Blog).
Alleged prospective fall guy Connell has a long history with the GOP. (The Brad Blog) Connell’s company is currently employed by a number of Republican and right-tilting religious organizations. (Brad Blog has links) Connell is now the IT developer for John McCain.
Source Watch describes Connell’s company here. At its website, the company says: ‘Led by veteran political strategist and admitted “technomaniac” Mike Connell, New Media played a strategic role in helping the GOP expand its technological supremacy.’ Hmmm.
According to Brad Friedman, Connell is described by plaintiffs’ attorneys as ‘ having appeared at the scene of every questionable Republican cyber-issue ‘from
Florida 2000 to Ohio 2004 to the RNC email system to the installation of the currently-used Congressional computer network firewall.’ (The Brad Blog)
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. After all he was the ‘technomaniac’ in charge of all the technology. So one would expect his presence when there are cyber-issues, including potentially nasty ones. We won’t rush to judgment. A thing that walks like a duck and quack like a duck sometimes turns out to be a short-necked goose, at least in my experience. And besides, if Connell is a technomaniac, I’m a technoramus.
But Arnebeck clearly thinks the facts are at least a little suggestive, and that Connell, as a witness, could provide a perspective on some issues with which Arnebeck’s clients are concerned.
According to Arnebeck, Connell "[D]esigns websites and he manages the information technology. Interestingly, he’s done this for the Bush campaign of 2000 and the Bush campaign of 2004. Simultaneously, he was doing IT work for the State of Florida in 2000, and for the office of the [Ohio] Secretary of State in 2004….
According to Arnebeck, "Mr. Connell also worked with the various front groups for the US Chamber, tobacco industry front groups, and starting in 2000 after the New Hampshire primary, there was an unleashing of a variety of these Washington-based lobbying groups that created these phony grass-roots groups that attack candidates, supposedly
independently. We believe there is clear evidence of a coordinated campaign in which Mr. Rove is involved, in which Mr. Connell is an instrument. And this emphasizes his value of a witness in bringing some of this together." (Brad Blog2)
But—like me—he does not wish to imply that Mr. Connell, his potential witness, was himself guilty of any offenses.
"We’re not saying that he [Connell] did anything wrong in the sense of his conduct, but we’re saying that these conflicting roles raise some issues."(Brad Blog2)
For this reason, he contemplates using Connell as a witness.
Interestingly, the plaintiffs’ expert witness in the Ohio case, Stephen Spoonamore—the guy who named Connell as a probable key witness— is a Republican cyber-expert too. And he too has impressive credentials:
Stephen Spoonamore is the founder and until recently the CEO of Cybrinth LLC, an information technology policy and security firm that serves Fortune 100 companies…. [H]e has security clearances from his work with the intelligence community and other government agencies, as well as the Department of Defense, and is one of the world’s leading authorities on hacking and cyber-espionage.
In 1995, Spoonamore received a civilian citation for his work with the Department of Defense. He was again recognized for his contributions in 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security. Spoonamore is also a registered Republican and until recently was advising the McCain campaign. (The
Spoonamore said that there were enough red flags during the 2004 Ohio Election to produce "a fraud investigation in a bank, but…[not]when it comes to our vote." (The Brad Blog) He said that Connell ‘had designed a system that made possible the real-time "tuning" of election tabulators once Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell had outsourced the hosting of vote counting on the same server which hosted GOP campaign IT systems.’ (The Raw Story) No, I have no idea what that means. Moving on…
But Spoonamore said that he does not believe that Connell—with whom he has worked on projects—was actually behind any irregularities. (The Raw Story)
The new evidence that got the ball rolling emerged when Spoonamore received from a whistleblower a patch used on two Georgia Diebold machines.(The Raw Story). The Georgia whistleblower who turned the Diebold patch over to Spoonamore said he became suspicious because (1) the patch ‘was installed in person by Diebold CEO Bob Urosevich, who flew in from Texas and applied it in just two counties’; (2) the two counties were ‘ DeKalb and Fulton, both Democratic strongholds’; and (3) the patch didn’t fix the problem with the computer clock which they’d
been told it was designed to fix. (The Raw Story).
Spoonamore isn’t clear what the purpose of the patch—containing two identical programs—really was, except that it wasn’t designed to fix the clock. (The Raw Story).
Arnebeck now has his sights set on Rove. At a press conference last week, Arnebeck announced his intention to lift the stay in the elections case ‘and] proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election.’ He also said: ‘"[W]e anticipate Mr. Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio."’ (The Brad Blog)
As for the alleged intimidation of Connell, it’s not (of course) in writing; nor (of course) was it delivered by Rove in person.. It’s not really clear what Rove is meant to have done—only the gist of the purported intimidation attempt is reported. Well, I’m sure it will turn out to be a big misunderstanding—not that Arneback seems to think so. Sadly, he wasn’t able to fill in many details.
[I]n a phone call this afternoon, Arnebeck could not publicly reveal specific details of the information that triggered his concern about the threats to Connell. The message to the IT man from Rove is said to have been sent via a go-between…
That information led Arnebeck to contact Mukasey after he found the reports to be credible and troubling. (The Brad Blog)
Arnebeck went so far as to contact Michael Mukasey concerned the alleged intimidation attempt. Very wisely—I’m thinking of Mukasey’s invention of a brand new set of privileges on behalf of Dick Cheney and of other incidents as well—he didn’t stop there.
In the email (printed in full at The Brad Blog), Arnebeck informed Mukasey that he had also sent forwarded it to Rep. John Conyers [House Judiciary Committee] and Dennis Kucinich ‘in connection with their Congressional oversight responsibilities in these matters.’ Conyers, of course, has had his own problems getting Rove
In pertinent part, the email reads:
We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have identified in our King Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, that if he does not agree to "take the fall" for election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed lobby law violations. This appears to be in response to our designation of Rove as the principal perpetrator in the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act/RICO claim…….
I….am in the process…of seeking protection for Mr. Connell and his family from this reported attempt to intimidate a witness. (the email is published in its entirety at (The Brad Blog;
Arnemore said last week that he sent a letter to AG Mukasey asking him to advise officials to hold emails from Rove. (The Brad Blog 2) He also said:
"We think [Rove] is an individual who has been at the center of both the use of corporate money to attack state Attorneys General and their elections and candidates for the Supreme Court and their elections in the states, and also in the manipulation of the election process.
"We expressed concern about the reports that Mr. Rove destroyed his emails and suggested that we want the duplicates that should exist [to be put] under the control of the Secret Service and be sure that those are retained, as well as those on the receiving end in the Justice Department and elsewhere, that those documents are retained for purposes of this litigation, in which we anticipate Mr. Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio." (BradBlog2)
Much more at The Brad Blog (also here) and at E
Pluribus Media . The Brad Blog will be updating with some ‘interesting statements’ Arnebeck made during an interview. (The Brad Blog) The Brad Blog also has info on the testimony of Ohio Secretary of State, Thomas Blackwell, before the House Judiciary Committee.
More to follow if more develops.