The Bourne Conspiracy: How a Minnesotan’s email became key evidence in Fox News-Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit

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WASHINGTON — Marlene Bourne, an artist who lives in the Twin Cities area, may be the alleged source of the voter-fraud claims that resulted in a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems.

All Bourne did was write a lengthy email to Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor and conspiracy theorist who attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election. She also copied Fox News host Lou Dobbs and conservative activist Tom Fitton on her email.

Sent just hours after Fox and other news outlets called the election for Joe Biden on Nov. 7, 2021,  Bourne’s email said “a piece of software” was inserted into Dominion voting machines in several states that would automatically change 3% of the votes for Donald Trump to Biden.

The switched votes were capped at 3% “because it was determined that anything higher than that would raise suspicions,” Bourne wrote.

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She also – erroneously – reported links to “Congress critters” including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s longtime chief of staff, had to Dominion Voting Systems.

Bourne told MinnPost in an interview that the idea of voter fraud “was a spur of the moment thing” because she “wasn’t really paying attention to the election.” She said she had never heard of the voting systems company before, but heard the name “Dominion” somewhere that day and began to research the company, relying on her intuition and what she called a “sixth sense” that she says enables her to “connect the dots.”

“I am able to connect things that don’t seem to connect,” she said. “I have this unique vision. I see things that other people don’t.”

Bourne said she used her “highly attuned awareness” and ability to “find a common thread” to investigate Dominion Voting Systems.

One of her first discoveries, that Dominion was a Canadian company, energized her.

“Isn’t that, in itself, foreign interference?” Bourne asked. Dominion has a U.S. headquarters in Denver, Colo., as well as a headquarters in Toronto.

Bourne said it took her about an hour to piece together her information about Dominion and 10 minutes to write her lengthy email.

That email, first publicized by the Daily Beast, made other outlandish claims, such as an unfounded theory that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered while being hunted for sport. Scalia died in his sleep. She also told Powell and the others copied that she was “internally decapitated” in a 1992 car accident and was shot in the back after submitting a tip to FBI.

Bourne told MinnPost she is apolitical.


Another excerpt from Marlene Bourne’s email to former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, conservative activist Tom Fitton and Fox News host Lou Dobbs.

“I don’t vote and am completely bipartisan in that I dislike both parties,” she said.

Concerned about the ability to spy on people through technology, Bourne said she got rid of her cell phone several years ago and only uses a landline.

She said she “thinks differently from other people,” and admits “her life is a little strange.”

‘Pretty Wackadoodle’

Bourne’s email came to light in court filings that include hundreds of pages of testimony, private text messages and emails from top Fox News journalists and executives that have been made public in the defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion in Delaware’s Superior Court.

Those documents show that Fox was in crisis after the election, having alienated core viewers by being the first on election night to call Arizona for Biden. Dominion says they show that Fox News hosts were more interested in appeasing those viewers than accurately reporting the 2020 election wasn’t stolen – even if they themselves did not believe there was voter fraud.

Dominion claims Fox News personalities and guests amplified claims that the company rigged the 2020 election, even though many at the network knew the allegations were false.

Documents made public in the lawsuit show that less than an hour after receiving it, Powell forwarded Bourne’s email to Maria Bartiromo, and the Fox News host allowed Powell to air claims of a vote-switching Dominion “algorithm” in an interview the next day.

Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox asks: “What was the evidence for these far-fetched claims that Powell sent to Bartiromo the day before the broadcast? An email entitled Election Fraud Info Powell had received from a ‘source,’ which the author herself describes as ‘pretty wackadoodle.’ This email, also received by Dobbs, alleged Dominion was the one common thread in the voting irregularities in a number of states.”

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Dominion’s lawsuit says Bartiromo and Dobbs never disclosed the existence of Bourne’s email.

A spokeswoman for Fox News told MinnPost in a statement neither Bartiromo, nor her producer, used Bourne’s email in their coverage. She said that during her deposition, “Bartiromo testified repeatedly that she did not know who the writer was and didn’t remember seeing the email beyond forwarding it to her producer to check out.”

Another excerpt from Marlene Bourne’s email to former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, conservative activist Tom Fitton and Fox News host Lou Dobbs.


Another excerpt from Marlene Bourne’s email to former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, conservative activist Tom Fitton and Fox News host Lou Dobbs.

The Fox News spokeswoman conceded, however, that Bartiromo’s show gave Powell the opportunity to advance Bourne’s theories.

To Fox News, the defamation suit is an attack on 1st Amendment rights.

In the statement, the network said its court filings show “Dominion has been caught red handed using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear FOX News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press.”

But to Dominion, Fox’s willingness to allow the propagation of uncorroborated information like Bourne’s shows malice.

Bourne told MinnPost she sent Powell the email about Dominion because the lawyer-activist “was the face” of the voter fraud movement.

“So I thought, let’s give her some information and let that be a starting point,” Bourne said. She also said she was surprised Powell did not do anything to advance the so-called findings in that sole email and has had no contact with any of those she reached out to with her allegations about Dominion.

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“They didn’t go further,” she said. “That’s unfortunate for them.”

Bourne said it was her civic duty to send the email that appears central to Fox’s voter fraud campaign.

“It’s sort of like what the Department of Homeland Security says, ‘if you see something, say something,’” Bourne said.

Marlene Bourne

Marlene Bourne

Raised in Fridley, Bourne, 58, said she soon realized, “I was different from the people I grew up with.”

“I wanted to see the world. I saw there was more to life than just Minnesota,” she said. “My life is just one adventure after another.”

Bourne said she traveled extensively as a “technology analyst,” lived in Arizona for about 10 years and wrote two self-published books on nanotechnology; one for children. She said she stopped working as a nanotechnology consultant after the internet allowed others to do the type of research she was skilled at.

“My position was declining,” she said.

Now, back in Minnesota, she creates art that evokes what she said were very happy years in Arizona, making cactuses and other desert-themed pieces out of folded paper, Swarovski crystals, glitter and other materials.

She said she is no stranger to celebrity, claiming to have been a consultant for some of the world’s top CEOs, including Tim Cook of Apple. That relationship could not be verified.

In any case, Bourne said she is content to make her art “and watch the weirdness of the world.”

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