GBI report highlights new players in Coffee County election breach

Text exchange from Coffee County elections supervisor used coded language to describe election system breach (Court exhibit)

New details in a Georgia Bureau of Investigation report obtained by the FOX 5 I-Team suggest some of the people who took part in the Coffee County election breach knew what they were doing was wrong and tried to keep it a secret.

The GBI conducted their investigation separate from the racketeering probe in Fulton County that led to the indictment of 19 people including former president Donald Trump.

That number is now 15 with the guilty pleas of Trump attorneys Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, and Atlanta bondsman Scott Hall. All received probation and agreed to testify against their former co-defendants.

But Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr now has his own decision: should anyone else be indicted for what happened in Coffee County?

"We continue to coordinate with the GBI and will evaluate our options," said a spokesperson for Carr. No timetable for a decision was offered.

Scott Hall rubs the shoulders of county GOP chair Cathy Latham. Elections board member Eric Chaney (wearing camo) was also there the morning of the electiojn system breach. 

The 392-page GBI report makes no recommendations, but it does highlight some players not included in the Fulton County racketeering case.

In August 2022, the GBI was asked to investigate after the Coalition for Good Governance exposed the Coffee County Dominion voting machine breach. The non-profit sued the state in 2017 over concerns about computerized voting. They want voters to bubble in their ballots by hand and feed them into a scanner instead of selecting their choices on a computer screen.

The Georgia Elections Board eventually asked the GBI to look into what happened in Coffee County. Investigators relied heavily on the Coalition’s findings — including depositions of key players — because many refused to meet for GBI interviews.

Before her indictment in Fulton County, former elections director Misty Hampton — who also goes by Misty Hayes — refused to talk to GBI agents without an immunity deal, so investigators quoted from her deposition in the civil case.

Security video starting in January 2021 showed Hayes allowing a parade of Dominion voting machine skeptics inside the secured areas of her office — including Atlanta bondsman Hall — to make copies of the Coffee County voting software.

The GBI report said she coordinated in code with then-Coffee County Elections Board member Eric Chaney, using the phrase "measuring my desk" when talking about the breaches.

Chaney also refused to meet with the GBI. So did Scott Hall.

The GBI report quotes a friend saying he "believes that Hall started going down a dark path when it comes to politics a few years ago… (when) he was introduced into the political world by his brother-in-law David Bossie," a former campaign aide for Trump.

Alex Cruce walks behind Scott Hall and Cathy Latham the morning of January 7, 2021. (Coffee County security camera)

Alex Cruce flew with Hall from Atlanta on Jan. 7 and was one of many in the elections office while the software was being copied.

Cruce told the GBI "he did feel as if illegal or shady things were occurring."

He also said that he believed "the other Coffee County Government Officials (Eric Chaney, Cathy Latham, Ed Voyles and Jim Ridlehoover) appeared to be on board with allowing them to access the data."

Former GOP county chair Latham is already under indictment in the Fulton County racketeering case. Former elections chair Voyles and assistant elections director Ridelhoover also declined to meet with the GBI.

The GBI report details text messages between Hayes and Chaney on January 15, 2021 during the time of the election system breaches.

"Do you have snap chat? Signal is down!" Hayes texted the elections board member. The GBI report said that exchange is evidence "showing that HAYES and CHENEY continued to attempt to communicate discreetly."

Hayes allowed more copying later in January with a second set of visitors, including the owner of Cyber Ninjas, the group that claimed evidence of election fraud in other states.

Misty Hayes took the 5th when asked why she used the phrase "measuring my desk" when allowing visitors to copy election software. (Deposition)

The GBI report said Hayes sent a text message to Chaney on Jan. 27, 2021 — "I took care of the people measuring my desk."

That proprietary Dominion software was later shared online.

The GBI also discovered another 3,010 emails on Misty Hayes’ computer that were not turned over to the Coalition for Good Governance despite a court subpoena.

The GBI report said only seven were of "particular interest," but the nonprofit filed a new lawsuit against Coffee County demanding to see all of those emails.

It’s not the first time the two have come to heads over public records.

Coffee County originally insisted there was no elections office security video for that time period. Only after the GBI began investigating was the key video evidence finally produced, ultimately leading to criminal racketeering indictments in Fulton County.

And perhaps soon, more charges in Coffee County.