Sidney Powell, a lawyer who played a leading role in the effort to reverse Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat, has agreed to testify against the former president and other individuals in a Georgia criminal probe.
Powell, who was in Trump’s inner circle, cut a plea deal. She has entered a guilty plea for minor offenses and will avoid jail time. In a court hearing, she confessed to a plot to access voting machinery in a Georgia county, aiming to validate conspiracy theories about vote manipulations.
This latest development boosts Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s case. Willis’s earlier indictment had claimed that Trump, Powell, and 18 others plotted to undo Trump’s election defeat in Georgia.
During 2020, 68-year-old Powell collaborated with Trump and his team in contesting the election outcome, including a key meeting on Dec. 18 at the Oval Office. Despite their claims, no significant fraud evidence was discovered by state or federal entities, with Trump’s loss margin being approximately 12,000 out of 5 million votes.
Veteran Fulton County prosecutor Clint Rucker remarked on Powell’s plea, indicating its significance. Rucker states it sets a precedent, “it’s a domino effect.” There’ll be more who will reassess their priorities over sticking to the 2020 narrative, he noted.
Rucker further mentioned that prosecutors are aware of Powell’s potential court testimony. “She’s not going to get up there and exonerate anybody,” he added.
In response to her plea agreement, Powell has committed to provide testimony against co-defendants and submit pertinent records. She has accepted six years probation, a monetary penalty of $6,000, and an apology note to Georgia. Additionally, she’s liable to pay $2,700 in compensation intended for the replacement of the tampered voting devices from 2020.
In the same case, a separate trial is scheduled for Kenneth Chesebro, another ex-legal consultant for Trump, following Powell’s cooperation. Fast-tracking their trials, both Powell and Chesebro invoked their rights, whereas other accused individuals are awaiting trial dates with not-guilty pleas. Chesebro has reportedly declined a no-jail plea offer.
Powell’s agreement highlights a pattern wherein prosecutors offer deals to minor players in return for cooperation against principal defendants like Trump.
Mike Roman’s attorney revealed that he turned down a similar probation deal. Roman was Trump campaign’s 2020 Election Day director of operations. Roman faces charges similar to Chesebro’s for his participation in the ploy to establish an alternate elector group from multiple states. Chesebro’s legal representative refrained from commenting on Powell’s plea.
Previously revered as a federal prosecutor and accomplished defense lawyer, Powell joined Trump’s legal team in 2020. She was vocal about her convictions regarding election tampering by a supposed covert consortium, including Dominion Voting Systems, though she lacked concrete evidence.
In relation to Dominion Voting Systems, Powell had publicly spoken about an alleged conspiracy during a 2020 Georgia rally. Dominion has since initiated a defamation suit against Powell and other parties.
Even as Chesebro and Powell were initially paired for trial, their charges arise from disparate elements of the alleged plot. Chesebro created legal memos proposing the use of alternate electors to prevent Joe Biden from winning with 270 electoral votes. Willis claims the memos constituted a scheme that violated multiple criminal statutes.
During the first trial, Willis’s team is expected to present their entire case to the jurors. This means that they will inform the jurors about the actions taken by all 19 defendants in furtherance of the alleged racketeering conspiracy. Prosecutors are planning to call more than 100 witnesses over the course of five months, the expected duration of the trial.
Legal representatives for Trump will scrutinize the trial, seeking vulnerabilities. Similarly, lawyers for co-defendants like Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, and John Eastman, all ex-Trump consultants who have denied charges, will also monitor proceedings. Andrew Fleischman, an Atlanta defense lawyer, opined that if Chesebro is absolved, subsequent jurors in Trump’s trial could be influenced by this news.
Lastly, Harvey Silverglate, an attorney for Eastman and co-author of a book with Powell, expressed shock that she took the plea deal. What she will say in her testimony remains to be seen.