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“Kraken releaser” Trump lawyer ensnared in Florida fundraising probe

“Kraken releaser” Trump lawyer ensnared in Florida fundraising probe

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Investigators for the state of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) have an active investigation into Defending The Republic and defendingtherepublic.org, which is both a website and the center of a nebulous cluster of companies run by attorney Sidney Powell.

She’s best known for disputing the 2020 presidential election results with a string of failed lawsuits, self-described as the “Kraken Releaser.”

Now, the authorities are kracking down on her.

Public records reveal an ongoing “Administrative Complaint” tied to Powell against Defending The Republic PAC, Inc. and ‘Defending The Republic’, a Florida entity or a Texas for-profit company associated with the former Trump lawyer. (document below)

An investigatory subpoena in the case shows that the Chief of Mediation and Enforcement for FDACS’ Division of Consumer Services asked GoDaddy’s privacy domain registrar for Powell’s website defendingtherepublic.org to deliver records revealing its true owner on March 23rd of this year. (document below)

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She started promoting it on the Rush Limbaugh Show two weeks after the election.

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Nobody knows how much money she raised to file election challenges or how much she has spent, but reasonable estimates are in the millions of dollars donated.

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Despite GoDaddy’s automatic written response acknowledging receipt of a faxed “emergency” subpoena from law enforcement and quoting a 30-day turnaround time, the Department has not received a response about who is the ultimate owner of defendingtherepublic.org says its spokesman who handled the records request.

For the moment, it is a civil case with penalties of up to $5,000.

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Officials from FDACS would have been able to exempt the investigatory records from release if there was already a current criminal investigation.

But Florida law makes it a 3rd-degree felony to knowingly violate the requirement to register before making charitable donation solicitations in the state.

The maximum penalty for that crime is 5 years in prison.

Civil penalties for violating the Florida Solicitation of Funds Act can also carry a $10,000 fine per violation under the state’s deceptive or unfair trade practices laws.

Lawyers representing different Defending the Republic incarnations were extremely tight-lipped when reached for comment by phone. A third has not responded or answered phone calls. The entities’ high-profile former CEO of one of the entities gave comment on the record specifying that he quit the group after one month. Powell has not returned voicemail or a written message submitted to defendingtherepublic.org.

Notices and emails reveal that state regulators are in their sixth month trying to shed some light on Powell’s “election fraud” and legal defense fundraising activities based inside the state using the name Defending the Republic in various forms.

Sidney Powell’s long career in the law began in the late 1970s when she graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law and spent a decade working as an assistant US Attorney handling civil and criminal cases before going into private practice in Asheville, N.C.

After moving her federal appellate law practice to Dallas, Texas, she later began representing retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to felony charges and cooperated with the Mueller probe when he decided to cease cooperation and fight his plea deal. Three weeks after last year’s election, the former president pardoned his QAnon-linked former National Security Advisor.

By then, Sidney Powell’s rapid rise to the national stage as the chief promoter of election fraud conspiracies was nearly complete.

Donald Trump praised her by name on his now-defunct Twitter account as a member of his legal team on November 14th, 2020, only six days after the national media called the presidential race for Joe Biden.

Two days later, Powell appeared on the late Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, guest hosted by Mark Steyn, who promoted multiple times what he called “Sidney Powell’s website” named defendingtherepublic.org to support her efforts.

Donations poured in.

Famously, she appeared on November 19th, 2020, at a press conference inside the Republican National Committee’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., alongside the former president’s other lawyer Rudy Giuliani where he precipitously leaked hair dye while Powell peddled preposterous conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems in her syrupy Southern accent.

Four days later, Giuliani issued a formal statement saying “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own” and booting her from their self-proclaimed “Elite Strike Force” legal team.

Just over one week after her ouster, Defending the Republic, Inc. was filed in Texas as a for-profit corporation.

Throughout that time period, Powell was directing people to the website defendingtherepublic.org.

Before most of the events of this story took place, Powell’s lawsuits would all be dismissed at the trial court level across multiple states.

At present, the appellate lawyer who threw all caution to the wind for QAnon and Trump after a forty-year legal career is facing calls for her disbarment by numerous high-ranking public officials in Michigan and court sanctions motions that could lead to bar discipline or fines in multiple states.

By March 1st, the Supreme Court ruled on the last of the appeals from each and every one of Sidney Powell’s self-described “Kraken” cases.

The Kraken releaser lost all of them.

“WE ARE NOT DONE,” proclaims a notice on the top of defendingtherepublic.com in off-white lettering on an eye-catching red background. “NEW SITE COMING SOON!!”

For more details visit Grant’s Newsletter on Substack.

Here are the public records showing the state’s administrative complaint and investigatory subpoena against the Kraken releaser aka Sidney Powell:

Page 1 of 2101-01824 SubpoenaToDomainsByProxy

Contributed to DocumentCloud by Grant Stern (Washington Press) • View document or read text

 

Page 1 of 2101-01824 AC

Contributed to DocumentCloud by Grant Stern (Washington Press) • View document or read text

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