Texts: Indicted Trump ally wanted to audit Michigan vote, undermine GOP probe
- Texts show Michigan Attorney Stephanie Lambert and CyberNinjas CEO Doug Logan planned a ‘forensic audit’ of Trump’s 2020 Michigan election loss
- Former Overstock CEO Patrick Bryne committed $1.2 million to the effort, Logan claimed
- Lambert has worked on 2020 election litigation across the country and is now facing felony charges for an alleged tabulator tampering scheme in Michigan
LANSING — A Michigan attorney battling criminal charges for an alleged tabulator tampering scheme also attempted to force a “forensic audit” of the state’s 2020 election and undermine a Republican report that found no evidence of fraud, according to new text messages.
A trove of Stephanie Lambert’s communications were revealed Friday by The Arizona Republic, which has investigated her role in an expensive partisan audit in that state.
The newspaper removed redactions from once-hidden texts between Lambert and Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, who helped conduct the Arizona audit but found no proof the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
- Trump sues to stay on Michigan ballot as opponents seek disqualification
- Michigan about to make history, as nine days of early voting kicks off
- Karamo blames ‘deep state,’ as Mackinac fundraiser drives GOP deeper in debt
- Jocelyn Benson loses in court for third time over her voting rules
In one message, Logan said former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne had committed $1.2 million to conduct a similar audit in Michigan that never got off the ground amid infighting by competing factions loyal to Trump.
“That is Patrick Byrne behind the money,” confirmed Lambert, who also goes by the name Stephanie Junttila, in an August 2021 text after former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck had requested a quote from Logan’s Cyber Ninjas firm.
The messages shed new light on Lambert’s role in national efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss. They came to light weeks after an Oakland County judge dismissed Lambert’s motion to dismiss criminal charges she is facing there for her role in an alleged scheme to breach Michigan voting machines.
The texts show Logan frequently consulted Lambert about the Arizona audit, which has been widely discredited.
The Michigan attorney offered advice, direction and assistance from private investigator Michael Lynch, who authorities accuse of helping her access Michigan voting machines here in 2021.
In the texts, Lambert said she was working on the planned Michigan audit but cautioned Logan against partnering with Colbeck, a former state senator, saying she did not “trust” the Canton Township Republican because “he leaks everything.”
Logan and Lambert discussed potential financing from Byrne, a leading 2020 election denier who spread widely debunked claims about the contest in a film called “The Deep Rig” that featured an interview with Matthew DePerno, the failed Michigan attorney general candidate who was charged alongside Lambert in the tabulator tampering probe.
Separately, Byrne has claimed he has helped fund Lambert's legal efforts across the country "to the tune of millions of dollars."
Fellow Michigan GOP activists who worked on a 2021 petition drive to try to force an audit of the 2020 election said Monday that they had initially expected funding from Bryne, but the businessman never followed through as estimated costs grew to top $5 million.
“He was supposed to be the main financier, but it was too much money,” Jon Smith, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party’s 5th Congressional District, told Bridge Michigan on Monday.
"We were looking for $400,000 for the initial print set up for the signatures, and he said that was too much at the time,” Smith said. “That was my direct text with him.”
John Rocha, a former congressional candidate who is now a member of the Michigan GOP state committee, said the 2021 petition drive effort "just kind of died" because of fundraising woes and "a lot of fighting on the Republican side."
‘Get this in front of’ Trump
The newly released texts show Lambert and Logan also discussed ways to undermine a June 2021 report by a Republican-led state Senate Oversight Committee finding no evidence of widespread fraud in Michigan’s 2020 election.
After months of investigation, the Senate panel concluded that "citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan."
But hours after the release of those findings, Logan asked Lambert to send him bullet points on “why the MI Senate’s report is flawed,” which she agreed to do.
"Pretty sure we can get this in front of 45,” Logan told Lambert, referring to Trump, who was the country’s 45th president.
“The sooner the better... I think Trump is ready to blast them.”
It’s unclear if Lambert ever sent Logan the bullet points for if her promised talking points ever ended up before Trump.
But a day later, the former president blasted Michigan Senate Republicans, calling them "corrupt (?) politicians" who were "doing everything possible to stop Voter Audits" through a "cover up" report.
State Sen. Ed McBroom, a Republican from the western Upper Peninsula who authored the report, said Monday that he is not sure if Lambert ever provided information to Trump because the former president never refuted specific findings.
"He just accused me of being a RINO and referenced people to her sources of information, so I doubt she ever supplied him with anything," said McBroom, who won re-election last year despite Trump urging voters to “overthrow” him.
The texts reveal that Logan also asked Lambert if she could enlist any Michigan legislators to visit the audit in Arizona, but the metro Detroit attorney again cautioned against working with elected officials, suggesting “they are dirty.”
No Michigan official ever visited the Arizona audit site — but Kristina Karamo did.
The failed Secretary of State candidate, who now chairs the Michigan Republican Party, toured the Arizona operation in June 2021. Karamo’s longtime adviser Michael Labadie joined her, according to Logan.
“Those are not the ones that I would have guessed,” Lambert told him by text.
Lambert and Logan also repeatedly referenced DePerno, the failed attorney general candidate who is now facing charges alongside Lambert in Oakland County, where both have pleaded not guilty in the tabulator tampering case.
DePerno went on the podcast of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in July 2021 to announce plans to raise money for the Arizona audit.
“We are raising $ for you,” Lambert told Logan, who was deep in debt and struggling to pay his employees at the time. “I think the info will go viral.”
See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:
- “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
- “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
- “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.
If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!