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Wide-ranging Trump indictment spotlights south Georgia county

"Good shot at a conviction," says GOP activist

ATLANTA — Fulton County's election interference indictments include 15 acts that describe an election security breach in south Georgia’s Coffee County. And a former prosecutor said they may be among the strongest of the allegations.  

These are allegations rooted in a town 180 miles southeast of Atlanta. Yet prosecutors say it was integral to what they describe as a conspiracy to interfere with Georgia’s election system.

The surveillance video showed one defendant, Cathy Latham, holding open a door for a group of people connected to then-president Donald Trump. They entered the secure area of the Coffee County election office.  

More surveillance video showed another defendant, Misty Hampton, the county’s election director, in the room as the operatives scanned and copied secure software from the state’s Dominion voting system.  

Now Latham and Hampton, plus bail bondsman Scott Hall and Trump operative and attorney Sidney Powell are charged with a list of crimes.  

  • Interference with primaries and elections
  • Unlawful possession of ballots
  • Computer theft
  • Computer trespass
  • Computer invasion of privacy
  • Conspiracy to defraud the state

The indictment also lists six unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators in the Coffee County incursion.

"The one area where I think (Fulton DA) Fani Willis has a really good shot at getting a conviction is what happened in Coffee County," said attorney Jason Shepherd, a former Cobb County GOP chairman and onetime prosecutor.

Shepherd said a jury watching the Coffee County surveillance video could get a real-time sense of a crime in progress.

Marilyn Marks, with the Coalition for Good Governance, was among the activists who exposed the Coffee County incursion. She said it is still a danger to Georgia’s tech-driven election system.

"Effectively those breaches are still going on," Marks said. "They’re still going on because the software was distributed online to so many people."

No specific evidence has indicated the state's computerized election system has been altered, but tech experts said good hackers conceal evidence effectively.

When the case gets into a courtroom, Shepherd expects defense attorneys to try to undermine Fulton County’s allegation that the Coffee County incident was part of a vast conspiracy. For the Coffee County defendants, that could be their best hope to get them out of Fulton County. 

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