Judge approves motion for discovery in Michigan election lawsuit

A 13th Circuit Court chief judge in Michigan approved a motion for discovery Monday, ordering Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to produce information requested from a plaintiff in an election-related lawsuit.

Judge Kevin Elsenheimer approved the motion from Michigan constitutional attorney Matthew DePerno, who is representing plaintiff William Bailey in Bailey v Antrim County, setting a February 1 deadline.

The judge granted a request to obtain communications between Benson’s office and rural Antrim County, the state legislature, and tech companies Apple, Facebook and Google.

Benson’s office will have to produce communications, correspondences, and documents regarding training conducted in Antrim County for the 2020 election as well as Michigan’s voting system contract terms.

The office must also produce documents from communications with state lawmakers, county officials, and Dominion Voting Systems.

Perino tweeted Tuesday: “Yesterday in Antrim County, Judge Elsenheimer largely overruled SoS Benson’s objections to discovery and ordered her and her office to produce large amounts of information regarding the 2020 elections.

Bailey, an Antrim County voter, brought the case after the November presidential elections when election officials said human error caused the county to flip from Republican to Democrat.

A forensic audit report of voting machines and software concluded the system was designed to lead to election fraud and argued the results in the county shouldn’t have been certified.

Bailey agreed to remove the phrase “state of Michigan” from each request because Benson argued the defendants do not control all aspects of the “state of Michigan.”

Her office intervened in the case last month to stop the release of a 23-page forensic report on voting machines in the county prepared by Allied Security Operations Group, Inc., a Texas-based cyber security firm. It has since taken the lead in the defense.

On Dec. 14,  DePerno and Bailey successfully urged Judge Kevin Elsenheimer to allow the release of the report which Michigan officials have called inaccurate and misleading.

DePerno also asked Elsenheimer to issue a protective order, barring Benson’s office and Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office from disclosing the names of the forensic team involved in the analysis.

“The issue before the court is whether to protect the identities of expert witnesses,” said Judge Kevin Elsenheimer on Monday.

  The names of expert witnesses in the case are a matter of court record, the judge argued. Barring the release of their names would be “extraordinary,” he said.

“The court believes that is frankly part of the process,” the judge asserted. “The court system is an open one. When one participates in it, there is a loss, if you will, of privacy, absent some specific clear threat against a person that is actionable.”

 He ordered the plaintiffs to release the names of the forensic investigators, but noted that personal identifying information, like phone numbers and email addresses, should not be released.

“As for the release of the witnesses by name and their identifying business associations the court believes that is frankly part of the process,” said Elsenheimer.