Arnebeck explained that the AG's "concept of looking at this from a criminal standpoint was not to convene a grand jury and cast the net broadly and use the grand jury process to investigate and narrow the focus into the question of who may have tampered with those votes. But rather they wanted us to come to them with a more focused case."
Arnebeck then informed the AG that they were going to file the motion to lift the stay so that the plaintiffs "could proceed with the civil case in order to collect discovery to do that" and create a more focused case.
Fitrakis, who was also at today's presser, said that early on they went to Washington and met with the House Judiciary staff who agreed to come to Ohio in early March of 2007. Fitrakis informed Ohio's then-Attorney General Mark Dann's office, but the office never got back to them.
Arnebeck also explained that he met with Conyers within the last two weeks. He made the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee aware of what they have: new resources and information, and the assistance of Spoonamore to help the state of Ohio, the Congress, and the court understand what needs to be done to help secure the 2008 election.
Also, Arnebeck has sent out document "hold" notices. A hold notice is, essentially, a letter sent to the parties of a lawsuit informing them of their legal obligation to hold on to (and not destroy) all relevant documents, including electronic documents such as emails, pending the outcome of the suit.
Hold letters have been sent to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, asking them to hold documents relating to their activities to use corporate money to influence the Ohio Supreme Court elections. Another hold letter was sent to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking that he advise the federal government to hold emails from Karl Rove.
Arnebeck 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 [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."
Arnebeck said they are prepared "to go after the issues of election integrity in a very targeted way, as opposed to a casting of a fishing net. We're able to do some 'rifle shots.'"
Along those lines, Arnebeck plans to subpoena and depose GOP operative Michael (Mike) L. Connell, who, as described by SourceWatch, is....
Chief Political Strategist and CEO of New Media Communications, Inc., a Republican website development and internet services firm based in Richfield, OH.
New Media's GOP clients are a "'Who's Who' of Republican politics", having provided campaign web services and Internet strategy for Bush-Cheney 2000/2004, as well as Republicans such as Dick Armey, Spencer Abraham for Senate 2000, Heather Wilson for Congress 2000/2002/2004, Rick Santorum for Senate 2000/2006, and John Thune for Senate 2002/2004 to name just a few. New Media also designed GOP.com for the Republican National Committee, RGA.org for the Republican Governors Association, and between two and three dozen state GOP sites.
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."
And just think of this: here's a person who is an instrument of a major presidential campaign simultaneously setting up the hosting of the votes in the Ohio election."
Arnebeck added: "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."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."
Indeed, Arnebeck believes that Connell's role in the suit, at least at first, will be that of a witness. "He, by virtue of his involvement in a variety of these roles that we're concerned with -- as a witness, he can provide a perspective. He's the one person who can bring a great deal of information together to better inform folks of what happened and what some of the vulnerabilities are and where some of the data security breaches may have occurred."
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