True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht and contractor Gregg Phillips were released from jail Monday after spending a week in federal prison for refusing to out one of their sources in a lawsuit brought by Konnech, a Michigan-based election management software company.
The order for their release, issued Sunday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, overruled the prior ruling of Judge Kenneth Hoyt that the election integrity watchdogs be jailed for contempt of court until they revealed the name of their source for their allegations that Konnech has been storing U.S. polling data on Chinese servers.
“IT IS ORDERED that Petitioners’ opposed motion for release from detention is GRANTED pending further order of this court,” the brief Sunday order stated.
Following Engelbrecht’s and Phillips’s arrest last week, True the Vote released a statement that an appeal seeking their release would be filed.
On a Locals livestream Monday night, the newly freed Engelbrecht and Phillips shared the details of their “harrowing” week.
“What we were going through was unprecedented — that was a commonly used term this past week, ‘unprecedented,’” Engelbrecht noted.
Engelbrecht and Phillips were arrested last Monday and transported to a medium-security prison, which they described as being “90 percent men, 10 percent women.”
Thanking the supporters who held an hours-long prayer vigil in the prison parking lot during a thunderstorm on Sunday, they said it was a “humbling” experience for them to learn of the support they had received.
The pair also noted that, of the politicians they reached out to for help, only two answered their calls: Republican Texas state Rep. Steve Toth and President Donald J. Trump.
Expressing her gratitude for the two men’s assistance making calls on their behalf, Engelbrecht added: “And for those of you that didn’t answer our calls and didn’t see fit to, I don’t know, help… What can I say? Bad, bad move.”
Trump, after learning of Engelbrecht’s imprisonment, had shared the news with supporters Saturday at a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
“Can you imagine?” the 45th president said. “They put her in prison. She’s in jail. What a disgrace. Our country’s going to hell in so many different ways.”
In their Monday comments, Engelbrecht and Phillips also suggested that the FBI — which they had alerted about the elections data allegedly being stored in China — had turned on them after learning about “2000 Mules,” Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary detailing True the Vote’s investigation into alleged ballot trafficking during the 2020 election.
“Just about the time the movie was about to come out and then did come out, there was a huge level of agitation amongst the people at the bureau,” Phillips said. “They were mad at us about the movie — I think I mentioned the bureau in the movie. They were hugely unhappy and began this sort of counter-counter-intelligence operation to try to somehow pin this whole 15 months’ worth of investigation on us.”
Upon being warned by one FBI agent that the situation had flipped, the two election integrity workers decided to take “the nuclear option” by going public with the information they had about Konnech at an event they dubbed “The Pit.”
Although they noted that the lawsuit with Konnech is ongoing and so they could not go into detail about that situation, Engelbrecht and Phillips did say they felt the entire case was an attempt to keep them from going public with specific information they possess relating to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania — specifically Pittsburgh — that they plan to share more on soon.
Ending the livestream on a positive note, Engelbrecht encouraged viewers to “hold the line” and go out and vote.
“This country is amazing,” she said. “America is great because Americans are good. And our best days are ahead. There’s going to be some tough times — some of the things we have yet to disclose are going to be tough — but we can make it through this. … This is the call of our generation.”