Pro-Trump lawyer says his plantations were go-to spots for those aiming to overturn the 2020 election
Attorney Sidney Powell looks at attorney L. Lin Wood as he speaks during a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia, December 2, 2020.
Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters
A lawyer allied with former President Donald Trump hosted numerous conspiracy theorists looking to overturn the results of the 2020 election at his South Carolina plantations, he recently told CNBC.
Lin Wood, a conservative trial lawyer who led a failed legal challenge against the election results in Georgia, said in a lengthy interview that shortly after the 2020 contest last November, he hosted at his massive South Carolina properties fellow right-wing attorney Sidney Powell, former Trump national security advisor Mike Flynn, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, and Doug Logan, the CEO of cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas.
Jim Penrose, who says on his LinkedIn profile that he used to work for the National Security Agency, and Seth Keshel, who promotes himself on his Twitter page as a former Army captain and who has spread falsities about the election, according to the Associated Press, also made appearances at Wood’s properties, the attorney said.
Penrose was among a group of people who met with conservative lawyer John Eastman on Jan. 5, the day before the deadly riot on Capitol Hill, attorney and independent journalist Seth Abramson reported. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting the riot, during which his supporters attacked Congress while lawmakers were trying to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. He was acquitted in the Senate.
Eastman wrote a legally dubious memo arguing that former Vice President Mike Pence could reject Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election. He’s been subpoenaed by a House committee investigating the origins of Jan. 6. Eastman has since said he plans to defy the subpoena.
A place ‘to do work on the election’
Wood told CNBC that after the November election Powell asked him if she and her team could use his South Carolina property known as the Tomotley Plantation in order “to do work on the election cases.” Wood reportedly bought the $7.9 million plantation last year.
Wood, who once represented the late Richard Jewell after he was suspected of being involved with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, was referred by a federal judge for possible disbarment following his role in contesting the results of the election.
Tomotley, a property with over 1,000 acres, used slave labor from the 1700s through the 1800s when it primarily operated as a rice plantation, according to a South Carolina plantations history website.
A 2018 edition of Southern Living magazine shows pictures of the property and notes that Tomotley was once worth over $10 million. A “5,000-square-foot home features five bedrooms, five bathrooms and uninterrupted views of the property’s 14-acre fishing pond,” the magazine says.
A website highlighting dozens of lawsuits levied by Trump’s campaign and his allies shows that almost all of them failed. Cyber Ninjas conducted an audit of election results in Arizona that eventually confirmed Biden as the victor over Trump in Maricopa County. The audit itself was partially funded by Byrne’s nonprofit, The America Project, which is led by multiple other allies of the former president.
“They set up in my living room and one of the sunrooms. They looked like election central. They had computers, whiteboards. They were working,” Wood said about Powell and her team’s prior work at his residence. Southern Living magazine describes the living room at Tomotley: “Custom built-ins and a working fireplace bring warmth to the spacious living room.”
Wood said that there were a few instances when Powell asked him to assist in her election investigations that were taking place at his new home.
“I remember making a couple of phone calls to speak to individuals that she was trying to talk into being plaintiffs, I believe in Georgia,” Wood said. “I think we had, kind of, passing conversations of what she was learning. I know she talked to me about information about Venezuela.”
Multiple state and federal officials, including former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr, have said that there was no widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election. Wood’s move to reveal details about election conspiracy theorists using his property comes after The Daily Beast reported on a growing feud between Wood, Flynn and Powell.
The fight is reportedly linked to Wood’s handling of his former client Kyle Rittenhouse, who was accused of killing two unarmed men during a protest in Wisconsin and was later acquitted.
Election equipment company Dominion Voting Systems is suing Powell for $1.3 billion, alleging she made multiple false claims against the company, including that the business was created in Venezuela to rig elections for the nation’s former President Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.
Another elections company, Smartmatic, is suing Powell and other Trump loyalists for $2.7 billion, alleging they falsely claimed, among other things, that “Smartmatic was a Venezuela company under the control of corrupt dictators from socialist countries.”
Powell, Byrne, Logan, Penrose and an attorney for Flynn did not respond to requests for comment. Keshel could not be reached.
Powell and her small team of lawyers would end up staying over multiple nights at a nearby home of one of Wood’s friends, Wood said, and would regularly come by Tomotley to work on what she said were election-related issues.
But many of Powell’s fellow election conspiracy theorists took up residence for days at Wood’s nearby property called Cotton Hall, the veteran attorney explained. It too is considered a historic plantation in South Carolina, and it encompasses over 700 acres. The South Carolina plantations history website says its primary crop in the 19th century was rice.
Cotton Hall’s website says it “is one of the most notable properties in the heart of lowcountry with the sweeping avenue of oaks leading up to the Georgian style 10,000 sq. ft. main house built in the late 1920’s.”
Conspiracy theories and Thanksgiving dinner
While Cotton Hall’s main house is a wedding venue and bed and breakfast, Wood said that when Flynn, Byrne and others stayed there, it had yet to be turned into an inn and they visited free of charge.
“When they visited, I had just closed on Cotton Hall. It was not at that time a bed and breakfast. They were guests to which I extended hospitality as I thought they were working on election illegality and fraud,” Wood said in a follow-up text message.
Flynn, for instance, arrived at Tomotley with Byrne days after Powell arrived, Wood said. Though Byrne stayed at Cotton Hall for only a day, Flynn took up residence through Thanksgiving.
“Flynn was here on Thanksgiving because he carved the turkey when we ate over at Cotton Hall,” Wood said during the interview.
Flynn has repeatedly pushed false claims about the 2020 election. Trump pardoned Flynn at the end of the former president’s term after his onetime national security advisor admitted to lying to the FBI. Flynn has since been subpoenaed by the House committee investigating Jan. 6.
Wood is seen in YouTube videos posted this year holding small rallies at Cotton Hall. Many of the taped events at Cotton Hall coincided with Wood’s losing bid to chair South Carolina’s Republican Party.
One of the YouTube videos shows Wood speaking to a crowd at Cotton Hall, comparing Covid-19 safety measures of mask mandates and social distancing to satanic rituals. That same rally also shows Wood taking aim at the 2020 election results.
“When you learn more about satanic rituals, you’ll learn that when they do their satanic rituals they have to wear a mask and they have to stand six feet apart. Sound familiar? Check the record. Do your research,” Wood tells the crowd in the video. “You got to fix 2020. And we’re going to fix it. They’re going to fix it in Arizona. They’re going to fix it in Michigan. They’re going to fix it in Wisconsin. And eventually, you’re going to find out, they’re going to fix it in South Carolina. Because they cheated all over the country. They tried to steal our election from us.”