Do four guilty pleas in the Georgia case spell trouble for Trump?
Four of Donald Trump’s co-defendants, including three of his former lawyers, have pleaded guilty in the Georgia case related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
They’ve all promised to testify in future trials against co-defendants in the massive racketeering case, and experts say it doesn’t present a rosy outlook for Trump, the alleged ringmaster of the election scheme.
Shortly after Sidney Powell, one of the most recognizable members of Trump’s 2020 legal team, pleaded guilty last week, experts predicted she wouldn’t be the only one. “You could start to see a domino effect,” one local law professor told Semafor after Powell’s plea. Now, following two more guilty pleas, including Jenna Ellis’s on Tuesday, analysts remain even more confident that dominoes will keep falling. “Ellis won’t be the last one to plead guilty,” former federal prosecutor and legal commentator Renato Marriotti said.
By admitting that he knowingly helped file the false electors’ certification, former Trump campaign attorney Kenneth Chesebro pleaded guilty to a count in the indictment that also names Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and John Eastman, another lawyer who promoted the fake elections scheme. So Chesebro’s testimony could deal a ”significant blow to Trump,” Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor, wrote. It could also put pressure on Giuliani and Eastman, both of whom worked closely with Trump following the election, to take plea deals.
Ellis’s plea “has more ominous elements” for Trump, especially in his federal case related to Jan. 6, conservative attorney Jonathan Turley argued. Ellis pleaded guilty to knowingly aiding and abetting Giuliani and an Atlanta-based attorney in making numerous false claims about the election to Georgia lawmakers in December 2020. “Of the pleas so far, this one is likely to interest Special Counsel Jack Smith the most in his parallel federal prosecution,” Turley said, since Smith has accused of Trump of knowingly lying about the election.
Given that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has succeeded in securing four guilty pleas so far, an attempt by Georgia Republican lawmakers to punish her for indicting Trump may not go anywhere, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week. The proposed rules for a newly created state commission that can sanction or remove prosecutors sets a high bar for disciplining them; one local expert said a complaint against Willis would “probably be dead on arrival.”