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Updated Oct 20, 2023, 1:20pm EDT
politicsNorth America

A third Trump co-defendant has struck a plea deal in Georgia

Kenneth Chesebro
REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer/Pool
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The News

Kenneth Chesebro, a former Donald Trump campaign attorney, has struck a plea deal with prosecutors in Georgia just before his trial was set to start.

Chesebro was accused of coordinating the slate of fake Republican electors who falsely affirmed that Trump won the 2020 election in Georgia.

He was indicted alongside Trump and 18 other co-defendants in August and charged with racketeering and six conspiracy charges.

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Cheseboro pleaded guilty Friday to one felony count of conspiracy to file false documents. He is set to serve five years probation, pay $5,000 restitution, and write an apology letter to the citizens of the state of Georgia. He must also testify truthfully at future trials in the case.

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He took a plea deal the day after former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell pleaded guilty in the same case. They were about to stand trial together starting next week, since they had both requested speedy trials.

Bail bondsman Scott Hall was the first defendant to plead guilty in the case last month.

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Some close to Trump remained positive after Powell’s plea deal, saying it didn’t necessarily mean she had information that would hurt Trump at trial. Trump lawyer Steve Sadow said that if Powell was “truthful” in her testimony, “it will be favorable to my overall defense strategy.”

But Jonathan Nash, an Emory University professor, told Semafor that prosecutors could be trying to pressure other defendants to take plea deals, with the ultimate goal of building their case against Trump.

“You could start to see a domino effect,” he said.

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Even if Powell doesn’t directly testify against Trump, she could have incriminating evidence against another defendant, who could then be pressured to flip and testify against Trump, Nash said.

Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney, said Chesebro’s plea is ”very significant.” Since he was closely involved in the fake electors scheme, Chesebro could testify against Trump and fellow Trump campaign attorney John Eastman, McQuade said.

— Shelby Talcott contributed to this report.

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