After two full days unraveling a coordinated, targeted election fraud scheme carried out by an operative hired, funded, and directed, by Mark Harris, Day 3 hinged on a gut-wrenching family testimony. In a Shakespearean twist – one that no one, not Democratic or Republican counsel nor even Mark Harris knew about beforehand – state investigators called a surprise witness: John Harris, Mark Harris’ son. And rather than put space between Mark Harris and illegal election fraud, John Harris tied them closer.
Here are our top takeaways from Day 3 of hearings into election fraud in NC-09:
1. Harris warned Mark Harris of potential election fraud in the 2016 primary election – even pointing to the exact statute.
After observing the 2016 election, John Harris warned Mark Harris that the absentee ballot in Bladen County results seemed illegitimate. John Harris expressed to his father – repeatedly – that the results of the primary may have been tainted. At one point, John even sent his father the specific provisions of NC criminal law that he suspected Dowless had broken.
Over the course of the hearing, John Harris pointed out the obvious conclusionthat seemed to evade Mark Harris: the absentee ballot numbers coming out of Bladen County were a clear indication of fraud.
2. Despite warnings, Mark Harris seemed to have his “mind made up” about hiring Dowless, according to his son.
John Harris repeatedly warned his father about Dowless – but those warnings ultimately fell on deaf ears. John testified that his parents’ “mind was made up”because Dowless got results.
Rather than listen, Mark Harris joked about it. In an email to his son joking about the fact that McCrae Dowless had filed a protest alleging Democratic fraud, Mark said, “Guess he didn’t like the Dems cutting into his business!” The implications are clear: Harris knew fraud occurred, was warned by his son, and rather than heed warnings, he joked about it.
3. Mark Harris lied multiple times about what he was warned about and when.
In January, WFAE directly asked Mark Harris whether anyone had raised flags to him about Dowless and his scheme. Harris denied being warned. In a separate interview that same month, Spectrum asked Harris *twice* if any flags were raised. Harris, visibly flustered, said “no.”
Now, his own son recounted how he told his father multiple times that he had reason to believe Harris was untrustworthy with a potentially illegal plan. Harris didn’t listen, and then went on to lie about it repeatedly.