The Arizona audit ties to the conspiracy theory film debuting this week

By: - June 22, 2021 8:52 am

Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined for signs they are counterfeited by contractors hired by the Arizona senate at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 28, 2021. Photo by Thomas Hawthorne | The Arizona Republic/pool photo

A conspiracy theory film that portrays the Arizona audit as critical in proving widely debunked election fraud claims and that was filmed in part at the Arizona audit features several people involved in the audit, including those funding it. 

Former Overstock.com CEO and Trump ally Patrick Byrne is the main star of a film, called The Deep Rig,” which is based on a book Byrne wrote. Byrne is the founder of a Florida-based 501(c)(4) that is aiming to raise $2.8 million to fund the Arizona audit. 

The film is set to debut on June 26, the same day that auditors are planning to finish up their work, and the filmmakers are saying that 100% of all profits are going to Byrne’s American Project, the nonprofit entity raising money to pay for the audit. It claims to have raised $1.9 million for the audit thus far. 

Aside from Byrne, the ties to the Arizona audit are immediately apparent, as the trailer for the movie opens with former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett — the liaison between the auditors and the Senate Republicans who hired them — sitting in the stands at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the audit is taking place.

“This isn’t about right or left,” Bennett says in the trailer. “This audit is about right and wrong.” 

Bennett previously told the Arizona Mirror that he was unsure if any other members of the audit team participated in the film. However, reporting by CNN points to another audit member possibly taking part in the film. 

In the original trailer for the film, a man identified only as “Anon” and described as an “Application Security Analyst” was featured, but his voice was left unfiltered. Fox 10 reporter Matt Galka pointed out that the voice sounded similar to Doug Logan, the CEO of Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas that is conducting the audit. Cyber Ninjas, specializes in application security.

Last week CNN spoke with a man who has been friends with Logan for 15 years and said he immediately recognized the voice in the trailer as Logan’s

The movie’s trailer has since been edited multiple times. In one edit, the voice of Anon was shifted down, while another edit later modulated his voice. In the most recent edit, Anon was removed from the trailer entirely. 

There is other evidence that Anon might be Logan in two clips featuring Anon that remain online.

In one clip, Anon talks about examining the election results in Michigan’s Antrim County, a focus of election fraud conspiracy theorists. 

Logan’s name appeared on a list of expert witnesses on a lawsuit filed in Michigan that sought to audit the results of the 2020 election. In the clip, Anon says that they were brought on to do an independent evaluation of machines in addition to work that Allied Security Operations Group had done in Antrim. 

ASOG was originally hired to work on Arizona’s audit, and the firm published a discredited report on the Michigan election. One of the company’s leaders, retired U.S. Army Colonel Phil Waldron, also testified before members of Arizona’s legislature at an unofficial election integrity hearing in November with Rudy Giuliani. 

Waldron, who has been prominent in Arizona right wing media, is featured in the film. 

In another clip posted ahead of the film’s release, Waldron claims that the federal government did not put resources into preventing election hacking. However, in 2018 and 2019, the federal government invested nearly $1 billion in election security, with an emphasis on cybersecurity. 

Clips posted about the film also appear to shed new light on how the audit is functioning and what auditors are looking for. 

Cyber Ninjas and its contractors have long tried to keep their policies and guidelines secret from reporters and the public on how the audit will be conducted. But in one of the movie’s interviews, a man named Bob Hughes discusses how the auditors are looking for counterfeit ballots. 

“Another thing that we were looking at in setting up the process by which we were going to audit the ballots is we wanted to look at whether the authentic ballot was printed in a particular process,” says Hughes, whose title is listed as “President, Marketing Resources.” “If somebody went out and to produce the ballots and used an inauthentic process, we would be able to determine that by looking at the microscopic dots on the paper.” 

Hughes then goes on to say that auditors were looking at the particular types of paper ballots were printed on, as well. There has been no evidence to suggest that counterfeit ballots have been used in any election. 

Hughes, who lives in Goodyear, replaced “Anon” in the new versions of the trailers. In clips of his interviews posted online, he speaks as if he has been working on the audit. When reached via text message about Hughes, Bennett said he didn’t know if Hughes had been involved in the audit. 

Another man connected to the audit is featured in the film. Bobby Piton has been making false claims about the election, specifically Arizona’s, since the start of the year. Piton, a mathematician, is connected to Ron Watkins, the man many believe was posting as Q and driving the QAnon conspiracy theory

Bennett previously told the Arizona Republic that he was unaware who Piton is, but Piton has said on YouTube that he knows Logan personally and was working with him in December. Shortly after Cyber Ninjas was hired, Piton claimed he would be working with Logan on the audit.

Logan also retweeted Piton from his now defunct Twitter account where he also tagged Watkins and spread numerous other election fraud claims. 

Another man tied to the audit, Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, has been featured prominently in the film’s pre-release material. 

Pulitzer, an inventor and treasure hunter with no background in election work, has claimed his technology can tell if a human or machine marked the ballot, as well as if a ballot is made of the right type of paper. 

Pulitzer’s most well known invention is the CueCat, a barcode reader which placed number five in Time Magazine’s worst inventions of all time. It was deemed just better than Agent Orange and slightly worse than subprime mortgages. 

The invention was popular among hackers because it was so easy to hack the device and use it for whatever purpose they needed. However, CueCat would also later be the subject of a data breach in which 140,000 CueCat users had their personal information exposed. 

The film debuts on livestream, and tickets cost $45. There is also an in-person event at Dream City Church in Phoenix for $25. So far, the livestream appears to have attracted 460 active participants waiting for the film to debut, meaning the film has made at least $20,700 from the livestream alone. 

The filmmakers are planning to hold a Q&A session after the debut of the film but it is unclear who will be present and if any members of the audit team will be present at the Dream City Church. The director said in a Q&A on a popular QAnon Telegram channel that they will be selling the opportunity for others to stream the film at churches and other events in the future. 

The director’s most well known work, “Above Majestic,” claimed that aliens were involved with 9/11 among other outlandish claims.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

MORE FROM AUTHOR