Two leaders of True the Vote, which pushed conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, were jailed Monday for refusing to comply with a court order to provide information in a defamation lawsuit over their claims.
Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips were escorted out of the courtroom by Federal Marshals and were ordered to be held for at least one day or “until they fully comply with the Court’s Order,” U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt wrote.
The two refused to release the name of a person of interest in the defamation and computer hacking case against them, who they claim is a confidential FBI informant, according to Votebeat Texas.
The Texas-based group is being sued by Michigan-based election management software company Konnech Inc. for claiming that Konnech and its founder, Eugene Yu, transferred sensitive poll worker information to China.
Konnech filed a federal lawsuit in September alleging that True the Vote’s viral social media campaign targeting Yu led to personal threats made against him and his family and damaged his company’s business.
The lawsuit accuses Engelbrecht and Phillips of “racism and xenophobia” by making “baseless claims” that “the Chinese Communist Party is somehow controlling U.S. elections through Konnech because its founder and some of its employees are of Chinese descent,” ABC News reported.
They also accused the founder of being a Chinese operative, but Yu immigrated to the United States decades ago and has lived in Michigan for more than 20 years, according to his attorneys.
Yu, whose company provides election software used to recruit and train poll workers, is separately facing felony charges of grand theft by embezzlement and conspiracy to commit a crime in California.
Los Angeles County prosecutors allege that Konnech violated its contract with the county by providing contractors in China, who helped fix Konnech software, access to election workers’ information that was supposed to be stored only in the United States, according to Votebeat.
Yu has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing that even if the charges are true, they aren’t criminal. Los Angeles prosecutors have acknowledged receiving an early tip from Phillips.
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The lawsuit also alleges True the Vote’s leaders illegally downloaded the personal data of 1.8 million U.S. poll workers from Konnech’s server. The company says all of its U.S. customer data is secured and stored on “protected computers within the United States.”
Hoyt issued a temporary restraining order last month, telling Engelbrecht and Phillips to return all data belonging to Konnech and provide the names of anyone who helped access it. But in a court hearing last week, Phillips declined to reveal the name of an analyst who reviewed the data.
Over the weekend, True the Vote published a post on Truth Social informing followers they expected to be jailed.
“Hi friends. Writing on the eve of what appears to be jail time,” the post said. “Still praying it doesn’t happen. But if it does, be assured we won’t be gone forever.”
True the Vote received millions in donations to investigate the 2020 election and also provided research for the widely discredited “2000 Mules” film that alleged widespread voter fraud in the last presidential election. Their claims of election fraud have been repeatedly debunked by election security experts.
This content was originally published here.