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    Coffee County officials to testify in Trump Georgia 2020 case

    The three could testify in the Oct. 23 trial against Sidney Powell about the election data breaches in Coffee County

    ATLANTA — Atlanta prosecutors named at least three current and former south Georgia election officials as state witnesses for the first 2020 election trial later this month that’s expected to focus heavily on the data breaches that took place there.

    The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office planned to subpoena Coffee County’s Ernestine Thomas-Clark, Wendell Stone, and Eric Cheney in the case against Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, according to documents reviewed by 11Alive and an attorney for the county’s election board.

    Stone said that he’s received a subpoena. Cheney declined to comment when reached by an 11Alive reporter, and Thomas-Clark said she has not yet received a subpoena, but a county attorney has spoken with her about the matter.

    Stone’s subpoena, which was reviewed by 11Alive, said he would be required to appear in Fulton County Superior Court on Oct. 23 to be sworn in as a witness and to give testimony in the election case. He will be considered “on-call” until he’s released from the subpoena, and he’ll receive 48 hours notice before he’s required to appear.

    “I’m just focused on the truth,” Stone said. “That’s all I’ve ever done.”

    The three join former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik among the growing group of witnesses prosecutors may call to testify about alleged election subversion plots in Georgia.

    A spokesperson for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis declined to comment. (Story continues below)

    Stone served on the Coffee County election board until last week. He resigned after county attorneys told him his employment at a local college violated the board’s bylaws. Cheney resigned in 2022, and Thomas-Clark is the only one of the trio still on the board. 

    However, they all served during the 2021 breaches that feature heavily in the indictment of former President Donald Trump and 17 others. Prosecutors allege the Jan. 7 copying of election data was done under a contract between Powell and Atlanta-based forensic data firm SullivanStrickler. 

    Court documents and video surveillance reviewed by 11Alive show Cheney, Scott Hall, Cathleen Latham, Misty Hampton, former board member Ed Voyles, and a team from SullivanStrickler were all inside the election office on Jan. 7. The SullivanStrickler team spent seven hours inside the building, producing exact copies of the county’s sensitive election equipment and software.

    In court filings, Powell has alleged she had nothing to do with the breaches, calling it “a project of the (Trump) campaign.” The work, she said, was approved by Coffee County. 

    However, statements from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office and testimony from several key Coffee County figures also offer a more complicated picture than Powell paints, suggesting the work couldn’t have been properly authorized.

    In testimony as part of an unrelated civil lawsuit last year, Stone testified the board did not approve and did not know about the breach beforehand.

    Prosecutors are continuing to prepare for Powell and Chesebro’s joint trial set for Oct. 23.

    Hall, who was also involved in the data breaches, pleaded guilty Friday to five misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties. As part of the deal, Hall promised to testify truthfully if called upon. He was the first defendant to plead guilty, and the district attorney’s office is proposing deals to others.

    Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ordered subpoenas to be issued for 900 prospective trial jurors with 450 potential jurors to appear Oct. 20 and another 450 to appear on Oct. 27. McAfee previously said he hopes to have a jury sworn in by Nov. 5.

    This is a breaking story and will be updated.


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