At left is the draft statement robocall trial star witness and Guelph Con campaign worker Andrew Prescott sent to the accused, Michael Sona, in July 2013. Pic via Laura Stone at Global.
Read it first. Really.
Note reference to Nixon’s CREEP* and “widespread, national, well-organized scheme” and “not the work of any lone staffer.”
Three freaking years later and a week into the CREEPshow trial charging Michael Sona with sending robocalls out to more than 6,000 Guelph voters in the May 2, 2011 federal election directing them to the wrong poll locations, a couple of other new things stand out.
It was indeed Andrew Prescott who logged out of his own account at RackNine on election day only to log back in again a few minutes later on the Pierre Jones/Poutine account. He did so on the instructions of Guelph election campaign chair Ken Morgan who gave him a handwritten note with the Poutine credentials.
So Prescott was Poutine for Morgan in this instance of its use at least. However Prescott has an immunity deal with the Crown to testify against Sona and says he didn’t know the significance of the alternate log-in until Sona mentioned “Pierre” later in the day in a toast that Prescott didn’t remember until April 2014!
So why isn’t Guelph campaign chair Ken Morgan on trial here? Other than that he decamped to Kuwait in 2012, of course, and has never been questioned by Elections Canada afawk. I guess it’s a case of love the one you’re with.
- Prescott says he was in Burke campaign office until the early hours, until sun up, on May 2 (e-day)
- Sona was in his cubicle on that early morning of election day, Prescott says.
- Prescott says Sona asked him about how to log into RackNine after 4:00 am on election day. “I was suspicious,” he said [but he complied].
- In February interviews with Elections Canada, Prescott couldn’t recall Sona asking about RackNine.
- When sun came up, Prescott says he slept on the couch in the office for a few hours.
- Sona came out of office: “was shaking, ecstatic, and said in a low voice, ‘It’s working,'” Prescott says. Sona was “quiet, almost euphoric”
- Later, as they heard [from their own supporters telling of calls saying that polling stations were closing early], Ken Morgan came up to Prescott and said “We need to counter this. They’re bombing our supporters.”
- Then Morgan approached Prescott later day and said “I need you to stop the dial.”
- Morgan approached Prescott’s desk; Prescott went to RackNine website and found he was logged in.
- “I went to pending calls page and noticed there was a pending dial to go out and I immediately cancelled it,” Prescott says.
After the election day vote count, according to Prescott:
People were having drinks and cigars, toasting Harper, “MIchael had a cigar in his hand and said something like thanks, Pierre, and laughed”
— Robocalls trial (@robocallstrial) June 4, 2014
Interesting because their Guelph campaign had just lost the election, so the thanks to “Pierre” would have been about bogus calls made to voters in 200 other ridings that Elections Canada has since completely lost any further interest in.
Also new and newish:
In Nov. 2011, RackNine CEO Matt Meier gave Prescott a heads up that Elections Canada was looking at Prescott’s calls re fake polling station info. EC contacted Prescott later that month.
In March 2012, Meier discovered the Poutine IP info and passed it on to EC’s Al Mathews; he also copied the same data to Con headquarters.
- Prescott agrees he kept information about Morgan asking him to stop a dialer to himself until immunity deal in 2014. Also withheld re Sona saying “It’s working.”
- Prescott says he saw a burner phone on Sona’s desk and packaging for it in his garbage can. Previous to today, Prescott only mentioned packaging. Says he told EC about burner phone on Sona’s desk in second interview with EC that Con Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton asked not to be recorded.
- Prescott’s computer and campaign computer disc drives were all destroyed.
- In February of this year Prescott offered Ken Morgan help to also get an immunity deal.
Prescott’s memory of events three years ago has improved a lot over the telling:”The more I thought about it the better my recollections,” he said. Given the appalling quality of his self-absolving testimony, you have to wonder why Prescott was granted immunity. Possibly the CPC did not much care for his statement about Nixon dirty tricks (see pic).
Con layer Arthur Hamilton’s four pet Hill staffers/interns also testified that Sona bragged to them afterwards about being Poutine and masterminding the whole shebang. Aside from the odd dramatic account of sign-stealing car chases, their accounts contributed nothing that wasn’t already public knowledge from the media over the last three years.
And it’s a wrap. Sona not testifying, nor key players Ken Morgan (out of the country); Arthur Hamilton, instrumental in setting up the case against Sona; and the frequently mentioned Jenni Byrne, who restricted EC access to witnesses, etc etc.
*CREEP : Richard Nixon’s Committee for the Re- Election of the President, of Watergate fame