Georgia AG: Statements By 1 Defendant Explain Withdrawal From Voting Case

Attorney General Chris Carr has said his office plans to withdraw from a case challenging the integrity of Georgia’s voting system.

Attorney General Chris Carr is pointing to public statements by one of his office’s clients as the reason the lawyer’s office plans to withdraw from a case challenging the integrity of Georgia’s voting system. The case led to the recent revelation that an election server was erased at the Kennesaw State University Center for Election Systems.

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“In this situation, one state defendant in the Curling lawsuit made public statements that took a position adverse to another party that we also represented in the litigation,” said Carr in a prepared statement. “Mindful of the rules governing attorney representation of multiple clients, our office withdrew from our representation of all of the state defendants in this litigation,” said Carr, a Republican running for re-election.

Carr said he will not comment on positions taken by the office’s clients, which in this case include Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state elections board, county elections officials, and Merle King, executive director of the Center for Election Systems.

The law office of former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes is set to represent Kemp and members of the state elections board.

After the Associated Press reported the election server was wiped, Kemp blamed the “undeniable ineptitude” of the Center for Election Systems. A post on his Facebook page with similar comments appears to have been deleted. Kemp is running for governor.

The Secretary of State’s office declined to comment on the Attorney General’s recent statements.

Kennesaw State University has said IT technicians followed standard protocol by wiping the server, and a report released Tuesday evening by the Secretary of State’s office agreed. The report also cited communication issues between the Secretary of State’s office, the Attorney General’s office and the Center for Election Systems.

“I believe that it is likely that the AG’s office decided that their clients were not truthful with them and the public, and refused to be part of the ongoing deceit,” said Marilyn Marks, executive director of the transparency advocacy group Coalition for Good Governance. Her group brought the case.

Kemp’s office has said it first heard of the erasure of the server on Oct. 24. Marks said the Attorney General’s office first informed the plaintiffs of the erasure on Oct. 6, saying it happened March 17. On Oct. 18, the Attorney General’s office said the date was actually July 7, and a related server was erased on Aug. 9, according to Marks.

Kennesaw State University and the Secretary of State’s office have said the FBI has a copy of the server that was erased, which the FBI has not confirmed. Marks said at best, the FBI could have a partial copy of the data.

Although the Attorney General’s office won’t give specifics about the “public statements” or clients it referenced, Marks said an obvious conflict sprung up months earlier when Kemp’s office said it planned to review a contract with Kennesaw State University.

“These parties’ conflicting interests is not a new fact on the table, but only made more obvious by Kemp’s escalated public disparagement of Kennesaw State University,” Marks said.

Kemp’s office has repeatedly denied the servers at the Center for Election Systems were nefariously wiped.