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SoS Downplays Mistallies After One County Counted: No Changes 'As Far as Where the Candidates Finished'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2008 8:12pm PT  

Citing "significant percentage variances in four voting districts in Hillsborough County," Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is requesting that New Hampshire's Secretary of State, William Gardner, "order a complete and accurate recount of all ballots in the New Hamsphire Democratic Presidential Primary election," according to a letter sent this morning, as obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

The letter (posted in full at end of this article) details a number of the discrepancies revealed by the recent post-election hand count in Concord, as paid for by the Democratic Presidential candidate's campaign.

The count was suspended this morning, when "funds ran out," according to the NH SoS website, making way for a Republican hand count challenge by candidate Albert Howard to begin tomorrow, as The BRAD BLOG reported earlier today.

"The magnitude of the variances in the four voting locations raise questions about the integrity of the internal vote accounting procedures in use in Hillsborough County," wrote Kucinich. "A reconciliation of the records of votes cast to voters who signed in and received ballots should have detected these problems; why multiple locations with large over-voting discrepancies went undetected in Hillsborough remains unexplained."

Kucinich's references, detailed in the two-page letter, refer to counts in Nashua Ward 5 where there were variances discovered in the counting as high as 4.9%; in Manchester Ward 5 where tallies varied 10.6%; and in New Ipswich, which saw 7.5% differences in the hand count totals from the original count for one candidate. Those districts were all tabulated on Election Day solely by error-prone, hackable Diebold optical-scan voting systems.

As well, the hand counts revealed 100 fewer votes actually existed for Barack Obama, in the town of Wilton, than were actually recorded for him on the night of the election...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 1/23/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today is a mixed bag of articles. Officials in South Carolina have been told to have the proper amount of emergency paper ballots at the polls for the Democratic primary election this Saturday. It seems that Republicans were forced to vote on any scrap of paper available in Horry Co last Saturday.

The Registrar of Voters of Sacramento Co California, Jill Lavine, has revealed that the county's ES&S M-100 precinct-based optical-scan machines failed “Logic and Accuracy” testing for the Feb 5 primary:

Many of the county's M100 machines, which have been tested and used for several previous elections without incident, had a variety of problems. With some machines, the ballot could not be loaded at all, or only accepted if loaded in backwards. In some cases, Democratic votes were not being recorded by a scanner. With other machines, it would be Republican votes that were not recorded. And with some machines, there were no problems at all. With the election within two weeks, Lavine decided to fore go using the scanners altogether, and count the ballots centrally at the county election office.

We applaud Lavine and her staff for doing a thorough L&A test and for making the correct decision. One can only wonder as to whom ES&S will blame for this problem.

Meanwhile Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman has changed his mind again and he is now backing the state’s county clerks association which wants vote-by-mail. The governor and legislative leaders today announced legislation that will require all counties to keep poll site voting but do away with the state’s DREs and require paper ballots. It cannot be long before Coffman changes his mind again and announces his support for paper ballots at the polls.

Those stories, and all the other notable voting news today, linked below as usual...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2008 5:50pm PT  

Apparently, it's just fine to break the law, as long as the economy is seen as being bad...

Democratic leaders and aides tell The Politico that pursuing the contempt citations in conjunction with the stimulus package would "step on their message" of bipartisanship.
...
“Right now, we’re focused on working in a bipartisan fashion on [the] stimulus,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) told Politico...

Seriously, we must remember to speak with Hoyer and Pelosi about this terrific bridge we've got for sale. We're certain they'd be interested.

And while there seems to be confusion in the Kucinich camp concerning the Election "Recount" in NH (more soon on that, hopefully), at least there's no confusion for Kucinich when it comes to what's going on in either the White House, or among his party's "leadership," according to the New York Times:

[T]oday Mr. Kucinich took to the floor to fire off his latest salvo at the Bush administration: his plans to introduce Articles of Impeachment against President Bush on Jan. 28 — the day of Mr. Bush’s State of the Union speech.

Accusing the administration of lying about the need for the war in Iraq, Mr. Kucinich said he did not need to hear the president’s
assessment. “We know the State of the Union,” he declared. “It’s a lie.”

He also fired a volley at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California who has maintained that impeaching Mr. Bush is not on the table for Congressional Democrats. “If impeachment is off the table,” Mr. Kucinich said, “truth is off the table. If truth is off the table then this body is living a lie.”

Yes, a lie. Some 935 of them to be exact-ish, on just one aspect of what the Kucinich Impeachment articles will detail.

As we reported last December, Kucinich has been preparing, for some time, to file Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush. While the Democratic "Leadership" may not like the notion, it should come as welcome news to the country's few remaining admirers of the U.S. Constitution.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2008 12:43pm PT  

[Article updated at bottom. Additional information from Kucinich now here.]

On the New Hampshire Sec. of State's website this morning, the top of the Election Contest hand-count results page says:

"THE KUCINICH RECOUNT STOPPED THIS MORNING (JAN. 23, 2008) BECAUSE FUNDS RAN OUT."

We've confirmed with Kucinich campaign rep David Bright, who was in Concord this morning, that they have indeed stopped counting as of today, after only a single county, and not even fully at that. We're trying to learn more, and will reserve full comment until we do. Suffice it to say that given the many miscounts being discovered, the horrendous shape of NH's "chain of custody", the refusal of the SoS to allow for the counting/reconciliation of unvoted (blank) ballots, the Diebold memory cards which seem to be missing and/or destroyed since the election (in violation of federal law), it would be disappointing, at best, if Kucinich failed to finish what he so appropriately began.

In the meantime, the halt to the Kucinich count means that the Republican hand count, requested by candidate Albert Howard, will begin tomorrow. If his letter --- containing very thorough and appropriate Public Records Requests, submitted with his original request for a count to the Sec. of State (see his full letter at bottom of this article) --- is any indication, it would seem Howard and his team may be taking on this hand count with the seriousness that it and the voters of NH and America deserve.

Candidate Howard sent us the following missive movements ago...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 1/22/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

A group of political scientists from the Universities of Maryland, Rochester and Michigan have done a study and written a book to let us know that touch screen voting leaves the voter satisfied and confident. They have decided that most critics have been focusing on the wrong issues. The wrong issues? They begin by blaming recent election problems on the inability of the voter to correctly cast their ballot. According to the information in their press release they seem to ignore ballot programming errors, voting machines that will not start on election morning and shut down on polls closing. They ignore vote switching and voting machines that are supposed to be accessible but will not allow most voters with disabilities to vote without assistance. They ignore over 18,000 undervotes in Sarasota Co Florida and 108 blank ballots cast in a one-contest election in Florence Co South Carolina. It’s not security so much as the problem is poor, amateurish design of voting machines made cheaply and sold expensively. They also found that usability concerns cannot be addressed by adding a paper trail. No argument here but no one has been claiming that they would be. The paper trail is not for usability but for verifiability. ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Opportunity for Indy Media to Ask Questions, Since U.S. MSM Won't!
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 7:06pm PT  

Just in...Marc Grossman, who has been named in the Sibel Edmonds case as allegedly receiving bribes from Turkish and Israeli agents and warning the Turkish Embassy to stay away from Valerie Plame Wilson's "Brewster Jennings" front company, will be testifying tomorrow morning (Wed.) before a sub-committee of Henry Waxman's House Oversight committee.

Edmonds has just contacted us, and is urging bloggers and other willing media to show up to the hearings, with video cameras and questions for the former #3 man at the State Dept., who, she alleges, was heard on wiretaps as being complicit in a scheme to smuggle nuclear secrets to the worldwide nuclear black market. If the U.S. media won't do their job on this, as the UK's Guardian notes today, then it's up to the alternative media to do it for them. Tomorrow morning might be a great chance.

Here's the details:

On Wednesday, Jaunary 23, the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing entitled, “Fortress America Abroad: Effective Diplomacy and the Future of U.S. Embassies.”

The hearing will start at 10:00 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will also be webcast on this page.

More details/witness on the sub-committee page. Details and explanation for the hearing posted at Foreign Policy.

Legendary "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg posted a scathing guest blog on BRAD BLOG, over the weekend, regarding the Edmonds case and the U.S. mainstream media's failure to cover it. He is currently in D.C. and will hopefully be at the hearing himself tomorrow.

His op-ed followed on the heels of the new UK Sunday Times' story in which they reported confirmation of an alleged FBI cover-up, and possible destruction of documents in the case, vis-a-vis an anonymous letter (which we have, but have yet to publish in full) charging Grossman's complicity in outing Plame Wilson's front company, Brewster Jennings, when he worked at the State Dept. Plame Wilson's CIA front had reportedly been involved in monitoring the sale of nuclear weapons and secrets to black marketeers in the Middle East.

As well, former spook --- and Edmonds expert in his own right --- Phil Giraldi has just filed a piece on the latest Edmonds information, including much more on Grossman, at The American Conservative.

The latest BRAD BLOG coverage on the Edmonds case can be found here...

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And Other Recent News from the Election Contests in New Hampshire...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 3:01am PT  

Now that we're finally back at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters in Los Angeles (for a few days at least) and have shaken off our road buzz (for now), gotten through the latest Sibel Edmonds blockbusters (until the next shoe drops) and have overcome last Friday's maddening 24 hour Internet outage, we've got some catching up to do on New Hampshire's continuing mess of a "recount."

Luckily for us, as we've been traveling for the last few days, and pulling off other related miracles, the hand counters in Concord took a break as of last Friday for a long weekend, which includes today's Martin Luther King Day holiday. As we all know, MLK would have hated the idea of anybody actually counting votes on his holiday, so we're glad the folks from the NH SoS office decided to let the ballots sit around and cool off in the darkness for three long days in a vault somewhere (maybe). The counting, which has so far covered just a small portion of all of the ballots, will resume on Tuesday.

So...From the latest hand count numbers, to the latest media coverage, to the latest reports from Election Integrity experts on the ground --- including one amazing photo essay illustrating New Hampshire's "chain of custody" protocol for its ballots, 80% of which have never been counted or examined by a single human being (that we know of) --- let's get caught up a bit.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your Pinto has a full tank of gas...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 12:01am PT  

While getting caught up with New Hampshire, after three days of travel and other related maladies, in preparing for a long catch-up article on the latest there (to be posted late late late tonight), I came across the following, from the latest numbers as posted last Friday night on the NH SoS website results page.

I've translated the numbers from the SoS's ridiculously impossible-to-read page, to something a bit more useful...

NASHUA, WARD 5
Diebold
Result
Hand
Tally
Discrepancy
Total
Votes
%
Error
CLINTON 1,030 959 -71 7.40
EDWARDS 405 377 -28 7.42
OBAMA 673 678 +5 0.73

Beyond the folks above, in Nashua, Ward 5, Richardson lost 3 votes (out of 72, as tallied by Diebold originally) and Biden lost 1 (out of 9). Everyone else, including Kucinich, remained exactly the same after the hand count in that one precinct.

Note: The above numbers are from Nashua, Ward 5. As opposed to Manchester, Ward 5, which we pointed out last Thursday, with some consternation, after enormous disparities were revealed by the post-election hand count in that precinct as well.

Much more later. Or, as the democracy-hating editorialists at the Eagle-Tribune wrote today: "[W]e have a partial recount of Democratic ballots underway in New Hampshire even though it is certain that the results will not change an iota....The whole idea that it will is a fallacy that is destructive to Americans' confidence in the democratic process."

UPDATE: As promised, much more now here...

CORRECTION: The original headline for this article referred to the disparities being in Nashua, Ward 4. In fact, they were in Nashua, Ward 5, as the rest of the article had properly reported. We have corrected the headline, and regret the original typo.

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By John Gideon on 1/21/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Horry Co South Carolina is now reporting that they had more problems than reported on Saturday. It seems that not only could they not get 80% of the machines to start up on Saturday morning but many of those same machines could not be turned off when the polls closed. It seems that the internal clocks were set for the ES&S iVotronics to be closed out next Saturday evening following the Democratic primary. Those machines had to be taken to the county election office and the clocks had to be changed. The county was still counting ballots late on Sunday. I had a reporter call me from one SC newspaper. He asked how I felt about this delay in getting the results out. My response was that quick and early results were for the media not for the voter. We want our votes counted accurately, not quickly. It is, in part, the media that have driven election officials to waste our tax money on the purchase of machines that give some result as quickly as possible upon poll closure. It may not be an accurate number but it is a number that can be reported. Tomorrow the Republican South Carolina primary will be forgotten as all eyes turn to the next primary and the next potential disaster. ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2008 4:34pm PT  

Who says Hillary doesn't have what it takes to beat Republicans at their own game next November?

According to Steve Rosenfeld at AlterNet...

Barrack Obama's campaign is calling on the Nevada Democratic Party to investigate whether voters were wrongly turned away at the doors of numerous presidential caucus sites on Saturday. The campaign also is asking its campaign workers to report other unfair electioneering practices from the presidential vote.

In an afternoon press conference, the campaign's State Director David Cohen and Washington-based election attorney Bob Bauer said that an indeterminate number of caucus locations closed their doors at 11:30 AM --- a half hour before the noon starting time --- because manuals provided by Hillary Clinton's campaign incorrectly stated the earlier start time. Once the door to a caucus are closed, no other voters may participate, according to party rules.
...
Earlier in the day, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe sent this statement to volunteers:

“We currently have reports of over 200 separate incidents of trouble at caucus sites, including doors being closed up to thirty minutes early, registration forms running out so people were turned away, and ID being requested and checked in a non-uniform fashion. This is in addition to the Clinton campaign’s efforts to confuse voters and call into question the at-large caucus sites which clearly had an affect on turnout at these locations. These kinds of Clinton campaign tactics were part of an entire week’s worth of false, divisive, attacks designed to mislead caucus-goers and discredit the caucus itself."
...
At the Sunday afternoon press conference, the campaign said it had 300 election incident reports.

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One of America's Worst Places to Vote Keeps Getting Worster...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2008 4:08pm PT  

Riverside County, CA --- under the continuingly incompetent direction of Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore, and the extraordinary delinquency of its County Board of Supervisors --- continues its never-ending fight to be named top dog as the Worst Place to Vote in America.

There's a lot of competition out there for that title, but the county performed above and beyond the call of duty over the past several years in that race, and in its quest for disastrousness. Today's news certainly helps the county stay right up near the top of the pack. Waytago, Riverside!...


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In an Exclusive BRAD BLOG Op-Ed, the Legendary 'Pentagon Papers' Whistleblower Calls on the Media to Perform Their First Amendment Obligations, on Congressional Leaders to Perform Their Oversight Duty, and for Insider Sources to Come Forward to the American Public...
By Daniel Ellsberg on 1/20/2008 10:52pm PT  

-- Guest BRAD BLOG Op-Ed by Daniel Ellsberg

For the second time in two weeks, the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch's London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt U.S. officials promoting nuclear proliferation. But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the U.S. Congress and the courts.

For the last two weeks --- one could say, for years --- the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network. It is up to readers to demand that this culpable silent treatment end.

Just as important, there must be pressure by the public on Congressional committee chairpersons, in particular Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Patrick Leahy. Both have been sitting for years on classified, sworn testimony by Edmonds --- as she revealed in the Times' new story on Sunday --- along with documentation, in their possession, confirming parts of her account. Pressure must be brought for them to hold public hearings to investigate her accusations of widespread criminal activities, over several administrations, that endanger national security. They should call for open testimony under oath by Edmonds --- as she has urged for five years --- and by other FBI officials she has named to them, as cited anonymously in the first Times' story.

And this is the time for those who have so far creditably leaked to the Times of London to come forward, accepting personal risks, to offer their testimony --- and new documents --- both to the Congress and to the American press. I would say to them: Don't do what I did and waste months of precious time trying to get Congressional committees to act as they should in the absence of journalistic pressure. Do your best to inform the American public directly, first, through the major American media.

But perhaps today the alternative media and the international press are a necessary precursor even to that. It shouldn't be true, but if it is, it's a measure of how far the New York Times and Washington Post have fallen from their responsibilities to the public, to their profession and to American democracy, since I gave them the Pentagon Papers in 1971. They printed them then. Would they today?

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 1/20/2008 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Two weeks ago South Carolina election officials told their voters that they needn’t be concerned about the negative reports relative to the state’s chosen voting system, ES&S iVotronic DREs, that have come from Ohio and Colorado. Officials talked about how security in the state was top-notch. So yesterday, in Horry Co, the voting system melted down forcing voters to cast their ballots on any paper they could find. A state representative told the media even paper towels would suffice if necessary.

OK, so the problem turned out to be what appears to be a human error again. Someone forgot to complete the last step of testing and the machines would not start at the polls without the testing being closed out. Early reports were that 80 to 90% or more of the machines in the county were affected. Today, one day after the meltdown, damage control has kicked-in and one media outlet is even saying that just 20 machines in the county were affected.

But no matter, yes it appears to have been human error and that error may have affected 20 or 20,000 machines, the fact is that some voters went away from the polls without voting. The fact is also that state election officials provided the counties with a voting system that may be too difficult and too technical for use by someone without a computer sciences degree.

I would lay better than even odds that an ES&S representative or two were there when the machines were tested and probably had an active role in that testing. Even they failed to follow the instructions and complete the process. Voting should be easy. Voters should be able to walk away from the polls with a feeling of pride in taking part in our democracy; not concern for whether the paper towel they voted on would actually by counted. The KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid - rule should apply.

Coverage of that story, and all of the other notable voting news stories today, are all linked below as usual...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2008 12:43pm PT  

As usual, another Democratic candidate is revealing a sour grapes conspiracy theory, claiming that voting machines were the reason for his loss, after alleging that hundreds of ES&S touch-screen systems failed to work on Election Day, turning away an untold number of voters.

Oh, wait, the complainant was a Republican, not a Democrat. And he, John McCain, didn't lose, he won, in South Carolina where, CNN reported yesterday, the touch-screen voting machines in 100% of the precincts in Horry County failed to boot up and weren't available for voters to use until noon.

Go figure. Other than that, everything is going very well, and anybody who says otherwise is unnecessarily crying wolf and causing a dangerous lack of confidence in our electoral system.

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Existence of FBI Case Number, Described in Anonymous Letter Obtained by The BRAD BLOG, Corroborated by Paper
Letter Describes Senior State Dept. Official Marc Grossman as Tipping off Turkish Embassy to Valerie Plame Wilson's 'Brewster Jennings' Counter-Proliferation Operation...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2008 9:13pm PT  

By Brad Friedman from on the road...

London's Sunday Times has just published a follow-up to their explosive front-pager from two weeks ago which described allegations by former FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.

Though there has been worldwide coverage of the recent blockbuster in the Rupert Murdoch-owned British paper, the U.S. media have remained entirely mum, a point which has drawn great consternation from both Edmonds and the 70's-era "Pentagon Papers" Daniel Ellsberg, whom The BRAD BLOG has spoken to this evening, following the release of tonight's extraordinary new Times piece.

The paper now reports that they are able to corroborate an apparent FBI cover-up of documents detailing an investigation of the theft and sale of nuclear secrets to agents working for Turkey and Israel, who in turn shared the secrets with Pakistan, who in turn may have shared those secrets with Iran, North Korea, Libya, and possibly even al-Qaeda.

As The BRAD BLOG reported along with the Times two weeks ago, the operation also includes allegations that high-ranking U.S. officials --- such as Marc Grossman, a former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, who served as the #3 official in the State Department under Colin Powell and Richard Armitage from 2001 to 2005 --- were involved in the sale of those secrets and may have accepted pay-offs from agents in the black market network in the bargain.

The Times article tonight was originally published under the headline "FBI 'covers up' file exposing theft of nuclear secrets," according to Google News.

Though that header has already been changed to "FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft."

The Times' article refers to an FBI case number (203A-WF-210023) referenced in an anonymous letter sent to The Liberty Coalition, a DC-based transpartisan civil and human rights watchdog organization. A subsequent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, asking for information referring to that case number, resulted in a denial from the FBI that such a case exists.

The letter describes, among other things, allegations that Grossman had warned officials at the Turkish embassy in DC of the existence of a CIA counter-proliferation operation using a "CIA cover company" by the name of "Brewster Jennings." That company was a front used by covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, who was later outed by White House officials in the now-infamous CIA Leak case.

The BRAD BLOG had obtained a copy of the anonymous letter some weeks ago, along with the FBI's denial of the existence of related information via the FOIA request. We've been in touch with the Sunday Times over the past week, as this story has been developing.

We have yet to publish the letter in full, however, as we have been unable to independently corroborate a number of allegations made in the letter.

The Times, however, reports that they've "obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file" referred to in the anonymous letter.

We've also just spoken to Edmonds, who has been under an unprecedented 5-year-long gag order by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DoJ has threatened Edmonds with prosecution under the so-called "State Secrets Privilege." The threat of prison has kept her from speaking publicly about details related to the case, which she claims to have heard while translating wiretaps for the FBI in 2001 and 2002. She has spent many years encouraging members of Congress to hold hearings and a public investigation into the case. Despite public support from senators such as Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and a promise for investigations from members of Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) office, who have been briefed on the details, no such investigation has been carried out to date.

Edmonds denied being the source for the anonymous letter, telling The BRAD BLOG "absolutely not," when we asked her directly if she was its author...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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