McClatchy Newspapers 
Tuesday, Nov 4, 2008
WASHINGTON –A Republican computer consultant denied under oath Monday that he knew of any GOP effort to steal the 2004 election for President Bush by rigging Ohio’s vote totals, an attorney who questioned him said.
A federal judge on Friday ordered Michael Connell, whose firms had consulting contracts with Bush’s campaign and with the Ohio secretary of state’s office in 2004, to submit to a limited, closed-door deposition in a suit alleging schemes to fix the vote.
A transcript of the deposition was unavailable, but Clifford Arnebeck, the plaintiffs’ attorney, whose clients include the Rainbow Coalition and other liberal groups, said that during some two hours of questioning, Connell “denied any knowledge of the altering of votes.”
Connell also denied knowing of any leftover “Trojan Horses” – bits of computer code that could play havoc with Tuesday’s vote counts, Arnebeck said.
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Connell’s appearance, on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, culminated weeks of jockeying over his testimony, amid unsubstantiated allegations that he’s been subjected to threats of retaliation if he tells all he knows, and U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver ordered the sealing of any questions about threats to Connell.
Allegations of Republican schemes to shift 2004 votes from Democratic challenger John Kerry to Bush have swirled around Ohio for four years, initially fed by exit polls that showed Kerry winning the election. Bush won the state by 118,601 votes to secure a second term.
Oddities in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election continue to surface, including evidence of document shredding and disclosures of the presence of partisan operatives in the office of former Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who’s been criticized for his office’s handling of the election.