Jenna Ellis was devastated by the defense fund revelations

Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer for Donald Trump who pleaded guilty to a felony charge in the 2020 Georgia election meddling case, has come under fire over the apparent cost of her legal fees.

Ellis, who was Trump’s lawyer during the 2020 presidential campaign, pleaded guilty to one felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings on Oct. 24 after being indicted along with the former president and 17 others in the massive racketeering Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis case. Trump has pleaded not guilty and has consistently denied wrongdoing in the case.

Before pleading guilty, Ellis raised more than $217,000 in online donations to cover her legal fees after realizing the costs would not be covered by Trump. Ellis then faced calls to return the money, which was raised through a GiveSendGo page set up by her lawyer, Michael Melito, after she became the fourth defendant to take a plea deal in the Georgia interference case before it went to court.

On Saturday, Ellis thanked supporters who “helped me with prayers and support” while she faced charges in Georgia, while also sharing a statement from Melito that was meant to “answer a question that was raised” about the funds for her support legal protection.

Jenna Ellis reads a statement in a courtroom at the Fulton County Circuit Court on Oct. 24 in Atlanta. Ellis, a lawyer and prominent conservative media figure, struck a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to a reduced charge of trying to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia after collecting more than $200,000 in legal fees.
John Bazemore-Poole/Getty Images

“Legal fees and costs greatly exceed the amount collected from the fund,” Melito said. “Thank you for your continued support.”

The claim was questioned by some legal experts and drew the ire of Trump supporters on X, formerly Twitter, who questioned why Ellis’ legal fees were so high.

Colorado-based trial attorney Craig Silverman posted on X: “No quick guilty plea should cost this much. Jenna Ellis has not contested any of the claims. How hard can it be to accept a no-jail-free deal? Over 200 thousand? No way .”

X user Craig Voss, who has a photo of Trump as his profile, wrote in response to Ellis: “‘Jenna’s legal fees and expenses have greatly exceeded the amount raised by the fund.’ What an absolute joke.”

X user Heather Carlisle, who also has a photo of Trump on her profile, added: “Post the bills (in detail) this is absurd.”

Author and scholar Jonathan Sarfati wrote: “I have a question for Michael Melito of Melito Law LLC: why were the legal fees so much more than the money raised by the fund? It seems that the only winners in the current American (In) Judicial system are the lawyers. That means they don’t have much incentive to fight for change.”

Another X user wrote in response to Ellis: “So Jenna Ellis pleads guilty, meaning she was guilty of what she did but made others pay for her legal fees? What happened to personal responsibility? Is she on welfare now?’

Conservative pundit Carmine Sabia was among those who defended the amount Ellis and her legal team said they needed to fight her case.

“It’s amazing that some people think in a RICO case that taking a plea agreement means you didn’t have huge legal debts,” Sabia posted on X.

Newsweek has reached out to Ellis’ legal team for comment via email.

Ellis became the fourth person to plead guilty in the Willis investigation, following similar deals struck with Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chezebrough just days before their trials began. In late September, bail bondsman Scott Hall pleaded guilty to charges related to a violation of the 2021 Coffey County, Georgia voting system.

As he appeared in Fulton County Court to plead guilty, Ellis expressed “remorse” for being part of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Trump’s favor.

“I failed to do my due diligence,” she said. “I believe in and value the integrity of elections. If I knew then what I know now, I would have refused to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges. I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.’