In an interview this week with federal agents, a Pennsylvania postal worker walked back his allegation that a supervisor had tampered with mailed ballots, saying he had made “assumptions” based on overheard snippets of conversation, according to an audio recording of the interview posted online Wednesday by activists who have championed his cause.
The two-hour recording shows that Richard Hopkins recanted claims he had made in a sworn affidavit that top Republicans cited over the weekend as potential evidence of widespread election irregularities and fraud.
Hopkins told federal investigators on Monday his allegations were based on fragments of conversation among co-workers in a noisy mail facility in Erie, Pa., according to the recording.
When an agent from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General asked Hopkins if he stood by his sworn statement that a supervisor “was backdating ballots” mailed after Election Day, Hopkins answered: “At this point? No.”
He also agreed to sign a revised statement that undercut his earlier affidavit.
Those previous allegations had prompted Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) to call for the Justice Department to investigate. The Trump campaign also cited them in a lawsuit seeking to delay the certification of election results in Pennsylvania, part of a broad effort to challenge the presidential election results.
Hopkins did not respond to messages seeking comment on Wednesday.
Hopkins surreptitiously recorded the interview on Monday, then revealed to the agents that he had done so at the end of the session, according to the recording. Project Veritas, an organization that initially aired Hopkins’s claims last week, released the recording on Wednesday, claiming that it showed he was coerced and pressured into signing a “watered down statement drafted by them using their words.”