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.
Read it first. Really.
Three freaking years later and three days 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 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 handwitten 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 here.
From the robocalls trial twitterfeed of Glen McGregor, Stephen Maher, Globals' Laura Stone, and Laura Payton at CBC. Excerpted :
- 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.
Wait. If, as per Matt Meier's testimony, the Pierre Poutine account on RackNine was set up on April 30, and if as Prescott is implying - Sona is Poutine, why would Sona be asking Prescott the following morning how to log in to 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.
- People were having drinks and cigars, toasting Harper, "MIchael [Sona] had a cigar in his hand and said something like thanks, Pierre, and laughed"
Also, Prescott says he did not *remember* Sona toasting "Pierre" until April 2014!
Also new and newish :
In Nov. 2011, RackNine CEO Matt Meier gave Prescott a heads up that Elections Canada Al Mathews was looking at Prescott's calls re fake polling station info before Mathews contacted Prescott the same month.
In March 2012, Meier discovered the Poutine IP info and passed it on to EC 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 memory of events three years ago has improved a lot over the telling :"The more I thought about it the better my recollections," Prescott said.
- Prescott's computer and campaign computer disc drives all destroyed.
- In Feb this year Prescott offered Ken Morgan help to also get an immunity deal.
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. All very *mostly* lone wolf tv bad boy.
And it's a wrap. Sona not testifying, nor key players Ken Morgan, out of the country; Arthur Hamilton, instumental in setting up the case against Sona; and the frequently mentioned Jenni Byrne, who restricted EC access to witnesses, etc etc.
Pic at top via Laura Stone at Global is "draft statement Prescott read in court when he thought he wouldn't be able to attend CPC convention" because his name was connected to Poutine robocalls .
Note reference to Nixon's CREEP* and "widespread, national, well-organized scheme" and "not the work of any lone staffer". Prescott clarified yesterday his statement refers to national scheme, not Guelph.
*CREEP : Richard Nixon's Committee for the Re- Election of the President, of Watergate fame