The Untold Story of One Indicted Fake Trump Elector in Georgia

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Reuters
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Reuters

In the weeks before she became one of the GOP’s fake electors in Georgia and helped a secret MAGA team access a rural county’s voting machines, local political operative Cathy Latham visited the Trump White House, snapped a picture with Sidney Powell, and ran into conspiracy theorist Mike Flynn.

These details—published here for the first time—paint a broader portrait of this minor character in last month’s Fulton County indictment. But they also hint at her role in the wider scheme, one that could bolster the case against the former president’s associates.

Latham was charged alongside former President Donald Trump and was one of the 19 people booked in jail for taking part in what the local district attorney claims was a mafia-like criminal enterprise.

Her account offers a preview of what judges and jurors could hear in the coming months about the coordinated effort that resulted in racketeering charges, as District Attorney Fani Willis plans to put them all on trial as soon as the courts allow.

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In May 2022, at her home some 200 miles southeast of Atlanta, Latham sat down with The Daily Beast for a 90-minute interview about her whirlwind of life-changing experiences in the maelstrom after the 2020 election. During that interview, she lied about her role in the secretive operation to tap into her county’s election equipment, a deceit that we exposed at the time—prompting a federal judge to greenlight investigative subpoenas to probe further.

But now that she has been formally indicted alongside several of the people who took part in that mission, some of what she shared during that sit down carries new significance that Fulton county prosecutors could further explore.

Latham is a career grade school teacher who takes part in shooting competitions with her classic .22-caliber Ruger pistol, moonlights as a copy editor for friends, and claims to abhor traditional American politics.

“Politics is dirty,” she said, while sitting on her front porch during a thunderstorm. “I get tired of the corruption, and it seems to permeate everything.”

And yet, Latham said she was proud to do anything she could to involve herself in Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.

When the state’s GOP chair, David Shafer, invited her to the Republican convention to be a Trump delegate that year, she was disappointed to decline—saying the $5,000 cost of attendance was far more than she could afford on her teacher’s salary. That’s why she instead jumped at the opportunity when he offered to place her on the slate of electors, noting to this reporter that it would only cost her a $1.87 filing fee.

“Come on, that’s cool. You’re part of the process. To be a part of history like that, it was kind of neat,” she said.

At noon on Dec. 14, 2020, she met with the others at the state capitol in Atlanta and became one of the 16 fake electors who signed certifications purporting to represent the official votes for the state of Georgia. Those documents were later submitted to the National Archives, cementing their place in history—albeit not the one she intended.

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Latham, Shafer, and state Senator Shawn Still were indicted last month in Fulton County and charged with impersonating a public officer, forgery, false statements, and criminal attempt to file false documents. From the DA’s own disclosures in court papers in the run-up to that indictment, it appears that other fake electors flipped and began cooperating with investigators by offering damning information on their colleagues sometime this summer.

But at her home last year, Latham wasn’t ready to discuss any of that with this reporter, citing deep concerns that she might face a subpoena from the DA.

Instead, she noted the way top Georgia Republicans seemed keenly interested in the happenings in her sparsely populated city of Douglas, where the tiny downtown’s low-lying buildings are surrounded by open farmland and the fragrance of poultry barns. She recalled joining a Zoom call in December 2020, the express purpose of which was to better understand why the faraway county did not certify a second recount—this time an electronic one.

Publicly, local election officials issued a letter citing an “inability to repeatably duplicate creditable election results.” Republicans wanted to know more, and Latham took on the role of calling into question the election’s security. She remembered that several key GOP players were on the call, including Shafer, the state’s entire Republican executive board, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones’ campaign manager Stewart Bragg, and a Trump campaign liaison named “Joe.” Latham would repeat this role when testifying before the state Senate.

By mid-December, Coffee County somehow made it to the shortlist of locations mentioned in a draft Trump presidential executive order that called for seizing voting machines. Latham told The Daily Beast she had no idea how it got there, but she guessed it probably had to do with that Zoom meeting.

Later that month, during the winter holidays, Latham recalled traveling to Washington for two days and staying at the Willard Hotel—the very same place that became the MAGA “war room,” where Trump loyalists plotted to keep the loser in power and interacted with insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021. She didn’t remember which days exactly but said that it was all jotted down in her diary.

Latham joined a yearly tour of some 20-or-so put together by Julianne Thompson, a former Georgia Republican Party spokeswoman who’s married to a top GOP operative in the state. However, at least one person with her noticed that Latham only stuck around for brief period of time—and would disappear with an attorney who runs a lobbying group, Preston Haliburton.

"She disappeared so often. She was constantly gone. No one really knew why or where she was going. She was being really cryptic about it," said Jason Shepherd, a Republican lawyer in Georgia who was also in the tour group.

Latham told The Daily Beast they stopped by the Museum of the Bible and visited the White House, where she admired Melania Trump’s decorations—fondly remembering the Christmas trees, which that year were blood red, human-sized cones.

But the highlight of her trip seemed to be the Trump International Hotel—“so cool,” she said—where she sat on the sofas having drinks with friends and ran into Sidney Powell and disgraced Army Gen. Mike Flynn, both of whom later came under the Fulton DA’s scrutiny and became targets of her Trump coup investigation.

“We got yelled at because we kept leaving our masks off,” she recalled.

By Latham’s telling, it was pure happenstance akin to a celebrity sighting in her political circles. And she claimed that it was the only time she ever crossed paths with Powell, despite the fact that she was technically Latham’s lawyer in federal court. By the time they met at the Trump hotel, they were one month into one of Powell’s self-described “Kraken” lawsuits trying to overturn the 2020 election results. And in this case, Latham’s status as a Georgia resident was used to give Powell standing to sue in that district—not that it helped anyway, as they eventually gave up and dismissed their own case the day President Joe Biden was sworn in.

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Latham’s willingness to take part in that lawsuit was no surprise. At the time, Latham said, she was still incredibly frustrated with Georgia’s handling of the election and the way it improved access to the polls during the pandemic by stretching out early voting and installing more ballot drop boxes across the state.

“I want to make it as hard as possible. I had family members who died for the right to vote,” she said while petting her dog.

As Georgia was undergoing several recounts, Latham was the chair of Republican Party in Coffee County and naturally close with several employees and elected officials at the Board of Elections—which is what made it all the more curious that she claimed to have zero knowledge about a covert mission by MAGA diehard conspiracy theorists to illegally access the district’s election system computers.

She stuck to that story when a regional voting rights activist named Marilyn Marks began to dig around and had surmised that some kind of visit had occurred. It actually took place Jan. 7, 2021, the day after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

When asked about the coordinated visit, Latham denied knowing anything about it.

“I laughingly said, ‘How could somebody sneak down here?’ Do you know where the elections board is?” she asked this reporter. “It’s in the middle of downtown. You could not have snuck anybody in here without everybody going, ‘Who’s at the board office?’”

Latham also claimed to know nothing about Scott Hall, a bail bondsman who initially boasted about putting together the crew—only to slink back into the shadows when questioned by journalists.

She told The Daily Beast that they’d only crossed paths once on a Zoom call, one of so many calls she could hardly remember the details.

Text messages obtained by The Daily Beast would later show that Latham was actually in contact with Hall’s team the entire time they were making their way south from Atlanta to Douglas and was coordinating the entire affair. Government surveillance footage obtained by The Washington Post would later show her greeting Hall and the team at the board of elections office herself.

But at her home during this interview in May 2022, Latham was in denial mode.

“I never heard that before I read Marilyn Marks’ letter,” she claimed during the interview. “I can’t testify to that.”

In reality, she will indeed be testifying about that. Prosecutors last month charged Latham, Powell, Hall and a former elections employee with conspiracy to commit computer theft, trespass, and invasion of privacy. And ironically, all were charged with conspiring together to commit election fraud—the very crime they professed to care so much about after Trump’s stunning loss.

Latham, in particular, was hit with an additional charge—perjury—over the way she repeated the same lies she told this reporter to lawyers during a deposition in a civil case brought by voting rights activists.

Latham’s current attorney, William Cromwell, did not reply to a request for comment or clarification of her previous statements.

Last year, however, Latham seemed unapologetic.

“There’s no regrets in life. Everything puts you on a journey,” Latham said, as thunder literally rumbled in the background at that exact word. “I believe in full transparency in every form and fashion. Be open and you don’t have problems.”

“I just try to always do what is right,” she continued. “Be a good American. Do what’s right.”

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