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AG’s office denies possession of emails related to Jan. 6

In a letter to APR responding to an open records request, Attorney General Steve Marshall said his office is “not in possession” of emails.

Attorney General Steve Marshall at the Back the Blue BBQ at the Cooks Museum of Natural Science Tuesday July 27, 2021 in Decatur, Ala.

The Alabama Attorney General’s office is denying possession of any emails between its office and current and former staff of the Republican Attorneys General Association or the Rule of Law Defense Fund before and after the January 6 rally and attempted insurrection.

Attorney General Steve Marshall is the head of Rule of Law Defense Fund, a dark money organization acting as the policy wing of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

The Rule of Law Defense fund paid for robocalls detailing when and where citizens should meet for the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally held before the deadly pitched battle with Capitol Police and attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“We will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” the robocall stated, as first reported by Documented. “We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections.”

In a letter to APR responding to an open records request made Sept. 21., Attorney General Steve Marshall said his office is “not in possession” of emails sent or received between its office and the Republican Attorneys General Association or the Rule of Law Defense Fund between Sept. 1, 2020, to present.

A second letter to APR from the Attorney General specified the office searched “all computers and servers within the control of the Office of the Attorney General.”

Ben Baxley, chief of the opinions division in the Attorney General’s office, signed both letters.

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In an Oct. 15 email, a source with knowledge of the Attorney’s General’s office told APR that state computers could be used to communicate and conduct business with RAGA.

“It would not be a problem to use a state computer for these type [of] emails,” the source said, referring to emails between RAGA and the Attorney General’s Office.

The source further said activity with RAGA is considered “job related” since Marshall is a member of RAGA due to his position as the Alabama attorney general.

In September of 2020, the Rule of Law Defense fund held a two-day “war games” conference at the Omni Hotel, located in Atlanta, to discuss strategies if President Donald Trump would not be re-elected in November.

In a Sept. 24. 2020, email, obtained by the Sunshine and Government Accountability Project, the executive director of RAGA Adam Piper described the meetings as a “series of conversations planning for what could come if we lose the White House,” involving a group of “32 AG Staff Members.”.

“It was a fast paced, productive series of war games,” Piper said in a following email on Sept. 25. 2020. “Which hopefully will not have to be utilized in November.”

RAGA has yet to respond to questions of whether Marshall, the Rule of Law Defense Fund director, or anyone from his office was present at the Atlanta “war games” meetings in September 2020.

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Later, the Rule of Law Defense Fund held a virtual  “strategy session” a little over a week after the November 2020 elections, according to the emails.

Piper, along with U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, met with a cadre of then-President Trump’s executive staff and family at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., the day before the attempted insurrection.

In a statement made to APR, Piper said RAGA and the Rule of Law Defense fund had “no involvement in the planning, sponsoring, or the organization” of the “Save America” rally on Jan. 6.

The Attorney General’s office has refused to reveal Marshall’s whereabouts before and during the Jan 6 insurrection in Washington D.C. 

Marshall visited the Oval Office nearly a month before the attempted insurrection, according to an Instagram post on Dec. 11. 2020.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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