Trump in new danger after Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro plead guilty

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  • On Friday, Kenneth Chesebro became the third defendant to plead guilty in the Georgia election case.
  • Trump’s Georgia trial date remains uncertain despite judge’s cleared calendar.

The latest guilty pleas from two key allies in Donald Trump’s high-profile Georgia election meddling case are putting new pressure on the former president and raising questions about whether his once-loyal aides might one day turn against him.

Two attorneys, Kenneth Chesebrough and Sidney Powell, pleaded guilty to related crimes this week and agreed to testify against other defendants. They were accused of playing various roles in an alleged multi-faceted conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. After a third defendant, Scott Hall, pleaded guilty in September, their deals bolstered the weapons in the prosecution’s toolbox and could pressured other defendants to recuse themselves, a move that would raise the legal stakes for Trump.

“Once you get a few people to plead, it kind of starts an avalanche of pleas,” said Chandel Summer, a Georgia attorney who previously worked as a prosecutor and public defender in the state.

In addition to agreeing to testify, Chesebro, Powell and Hall will turn over relevant documents to the state of Georgia and are prohibited from communicating with witnesses or defendants in the case.

Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee from 2019 to 2020, said the information from the three former Trump aides could bolster the government’s case in another pending trial. v. Trump, a federal election interference case scheduled to begin in March in Washington.

“Powell and Chesebro were both unindicted co-conspirators in the federal case, so they’re central to it,” Eisen said. “This is ominous for other defendants in state or federal cases, especially Donald Trump.”

Kenneth Chesebro provides an insider’s account of bogus voters

Chesebro, an election attorney, pleaded guilty Friday in Fulton County Superior Court to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit false filing. Chesebro offers an inside look at the development of the scheme to recruit fake presidential electors to vote for Trump in states that President Joe Biden won.

Chesebro created and distributed fake documents in Georgia and other states for people to submit to the National Archives and Congress, posing as presidential voters, according to Deisha Young, Fulton County’s executive district attorney.

“The defendant provided detailed instructions to co-conspirators in Georgia and other states to create and distribute these false documents,” she said.

Chesebro’s deal brings the prosecution closer to John Eastman, who at the time appeared to be in “constant communication” with Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump, said Melissa Redmon, a former Fulton County prosecutor who directs the University of Georgia School of Law’s Prosecutorial Justice Program .

Those ties will help the state paint for the jury a picture of the fraudulent voter turnout, which was ultimately motivated by a desire to ensure Trump retained the presidency “by any means necessary,” Redmon said.

Sixteen co-defendants in the Georgia case, including Trump, Eastman and Giuliani, have pleaded not guilty.

Sidney Powell raised baseless allegations of election fraud in an Oval Office meeting with Trump

Powell, an election attorney who spread baseless claims of voter fraud, pleaded guilty Thursday to a half-dozen felony counts of tampering with election equipment in County County, Georgia.

Legal experts said Powell’s agreement to testify could have a major impact on the broader case because she has had significant dealings with Trump, Giuliani and others.

Powell may also describe how the co-defendants tried to overturn the 2020 election. She and Giuliani attended a heated White House meeting with Trump where they discussed the military confiscating voting machines. Trump never acted on the proposal.

Scott Hall spoke for an hour with the co-defendant who produced a fake letter from the DOJ

Hall, a bail bondsman who served as an intermediary for several of the co-defendants, pleaded guilty in September to five felony counts of election interference.

Hall helped SullivanStrickler employees tamper with Coffee County’s equipment.

Hall also made repeated calls to the co-defendants in the case. For example, Hall spoke with Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general, for more than an hour on Jan. 2, 2021, according to the indictment.

Clark, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of drafting a letter with false statements about the Department of Justice’s concerns about the 2020 election to be sent to Georgia officials. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen declined to sign or send the letter.

Hall also spoke repeatedly with the co-defendants accused of trying to intimidate election officials into changing their stories about what happened with the ballot count at State Farm Arena on election night in 2020.

The Georgia court calendar has begun, but Trump’s trial date is uncertain

Although the pleas open up several months on McAfee’s calendar that were reserved for Powell and Chesebro’s trial, Redmon said there are usually several steps in Fulton County involving preliminary deadlines before a trial date is set in a case, and she doesn’t Expect to see a Trump trial date soon.

Summer said McAfee would have to take into account the schedules of Trump’s other criminal trials, as well as the scheduling conflicts of his lawyers.

“Assuming he’s acquitted in the D.C. case, I think then they’ll probably specifically schedule a trial for some time after that, maybe the fall of 2024,” she said.

Eisen suggested that McAfee might seek to hold Trump’s trial in Georgia sooner.

“If Chesebrough and Powell are able to prepare for trial in an expedited manner, it’s certainly not too unreasonable for Trump and possibly other defendants to prepare to face a jury in Atlanta at some point in the coming months,” Eisen said.

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