BISMARCK — A right-wing blogger and former Minot resident has become an improbable player in one of the lawsuits alleging that widespread voter fraud contributed to President Donald Trump’s defeat in the November election.
Terpsehore Maras-Lindeman, an ardent Trump supporter and prolific podcaster and blogger, has a history of legal skirmishes with the state of North Dakota, but she has assumed a national profile in the last week after a Washington Post investigation revealed her to be a secret witness in two of attorney Sidney Powell’s election fraud lawsuits.
Powell’s complaints against election operations in Wisconsin and Arizona both draw on a 37-page affidavit written by Maras-Lindeman which pushes a theory that the November election was rigged in favor of president-elect Joe Biden by a conspiracy between the Canadian voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems and the Spanish election software company Scytl. Maras-Lindeman has formerly claimed expertise drawn from time working under former CIA director John Brennan, and in her affidavit she touts extensive academic credentials, expertise as “a trained Cryptolinguist,” and refers to herself as “a private contractor with experience gathering and analyzing foreign intelligence.”
In an interview with The Forum on Monday, Dec. 28, Maras-Lindeman stood by the claims of her affidavit and lamented the Washington Post's focus on her personal credibility. "In North Dakota, I've been going after corruption on both sides," she said. "We're talking Republicans and Democrats. It's not my first rodeo."
The blogger noted that she released audio from her interview with the Washington Post last week, on a podcast episode partially titled, "Fact Witness — Hatchet Job," and cited a record of submitting election fraud-related affidavits to congressmen and senators dating back a decade. "Sidney Powell, she looks at facts," Maras-Lindeman said. "Everything, from a technical perspective supports what I've been saying for years. It's not the first time."
Maras-Lindeman said she has never spoken directly with Powell but recounted recent visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with “teams” and “gatekeepers” to help bolster the president's election lawsuits.
Powell, who has hyped her election fraud litigation as "the kraken," has lately become a fringe legal figure in Washington, with the White House distancing itself from her earlier this month. But recent reporting noted her appearance at the White House multiple times in the last two weeks, and found that she is under consideration for a position as the White House’s special counsel to investigate the election.
All four election fraud complaints that Powell has so far brought to the table have been dismissed by federal judges, and the revelation of her reliance on the onetime Minot blogger served as another blow to her case against Biden's victory.
But before drawing the spotlight in this national scandal, Maras-Lindeman was well known in some conservative circles in North Dakota, where she has fought two drawn-out lawsuits with the state attorney general’s office. Going by “Tore,” Maras-Lindeman is the host of a blog and podcast, both called “Tore Says," and she drew some media attention in 2018 when she toyed with a run for Minot mayor under the campaign slogan “Make Minot Great Again.”
Maras-Lindeman said she moved away from North Dakota early this year and cannot reveal her location because of security concerns.
But Maras-Lindeman has been the subject of two district court cases in North Dakota, both related to her promotion of a 2017 charitable event in Minot called “A Magic City Christmas." One of those disputes is currently playing out before the state Supreme Court.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the 2017 event came to his attention in part because it falsely advertised the Bank of North Dakota as a sponsor. Allegations written by attorneys in Stenehjem's office said Maras-Lindeman collected money she claimed she was raising to donate to the homeless and for wreaths for soldiers' graves, and instead put toward personal expenses. Maras-Lindeman denied these allegations and said the attorney general’s office has not received any public complaints on this case, a fact she said prompted her to push the case to the Supreme Court.
Stenehjem called Maras-Lindeman’s case a “garden variety scam” that could have been quickly resolved if she had returned money to ticket-purchasers or fulfilled her original pledge to donate the money to specific charities.
Maras-Lindeman's defense attorney David Thompson argued that Stenehjem has targeted Maras-Lindeman in an effort to silence her, blowing the case “completely out of proportion."
Earlier this month Stenehjem joined 17 other states in filing a brief alongside the Texas attorney general’s case alleging election fraud, but he said that in Powell’s case, “if all they have got is Tore Lindeman’s affidavit, then the case is more than frivolous.”
Thompson, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for attorney general against Stenehjem in 2018, said he was first introduced to his client when he learned that she had potentially damaging information on Stenehjem during his campaign. "Tore is a unique character," he said. “She covers a lot of ground. And a lot of it is controversial. Some of what she says is verifiable and some may not be. But in her own mind she operates in good faith.”
Maras-Lindeman has also had some run-ins within North Dakota's conservative media. Longtime Minot blogger Rob Port, a Forum columnist, said that last year Maras-Lindeman responded to anti-Trump writing on his Say Anything Blog by registering its domain name under the North Dakota Secretary of State's website.
“Seems my email advising you to not post things that don't align with my identity as a journalist in my registered Trade Name hasn't resonated,” she wrote by email in November 2019, asking Port to take down posts unfavorable to several North Dakota Republicans.
Maras-Lindeman confirmed her spat with Port. “I troll on a different level,” she said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at firstname.lastname@example.org.