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Judge orders True the Vote leaders detained for contempt of court

Marshals escorted the pair from the courtroom to a holding cell after they refused on Monday to name the other individual present at the meeting.

Published: October 31, 2022 3:32pm

Updated: October 31, 2022 8:09pm

A U.S. district judge on Monday ordered that two leaders of a conservative election integrity watchdog organization be detained for a day following their failure to comply with a court mandate to hand over evidence as part of their legal battle with Konnech, a Michigan-based firm that provides poll watcher management software to election offices.

After holding both in contempt in a Thursday hearing, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt ordered that Gregg Phillips and Catherine Engelbrecht comply with the court order to name an unidentified individual whom they say was present at a 2021 meeting during which they purportedly received evidence to substantiate their claims against Konnech. Hoyt gave them until 9 a.m. Monday morning to produce the information or face detention, per the Texas Tribune. They declined to comply.

"Therefore, the defendants Gregg Phillips and Catherine Englebrecht [sic], are ORDERED detained by the U.S. Marshal for one-day and further until they fully comply with the Courts Order as set out in the TRO," Hoyt wrote Monday. Marshals escorted the pair from the courtroom to a holding cell after they refused on Monday to name the other individual present at the meeting. They will reportedly remain in jail until they release the name of the man.

Phillips previously announced the contempt ruling on Thursday via Truth Social, saying, "Doing the right thing isn't always easy but it's always right... We were held in contempt of court because we refused to burn a confidential informant or our researchers. We go to jail Monday unless we comply," per the Tribune.

The group has alleged that Konnech improperly stored the personal data of U.S. poll workers and that Konnech CEO Eugene Yu was an agent of the Chinese Communist Party, per the Tribune. They, in turn, face a defamation claim over their assertions.

Following the pair's arrest on Monday, True the Vote issued a statement that evening. "True the vote calls for the immediate release of founder Catherine Engelbrecht and contractor Greg Phillips who were jailed for contempt today for refusing to deliver to Konnech the name of the third party who was present at a presentation of evidence of Konnech's wrongdoing," a spokesperson said. "This evidence was provided to the LA district attorney's office in their investigation of Konnech which resulted in the arrest of CEO Eugene Yu. True the Vote attorneys are expediting an appeal seeking to have Engelbrecht and Phillips released."

The LA District Attorney is pursuing a separate case against Yu for alleging storing U.S. government data in China, per the Tribune.

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