Sidney Powell, former attorney to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case — and agreed to testify against other defendants, a group that includes Trump.
Powell was an active player in efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election, including in Georgia. Powell made false and unsubstantiated claims claiming fraud in the election and filed unsuccessful lawsuits challenging the 2020 results in battleground states, including Michigan and Georgia.
A grand jury in August charged Powell with seven counts, including two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud and one count each of violating Georgia’s racketeering law, conspiracy to commit computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy and conspiracy to defraud the state.
Powell will avoid jail time and instead serve six years on probation, pay $2,700 in restitution fees and a $6,000 fine, write an apology letter to the people of Georgia, and testify against other defendants in the case. The terms of the plea deal also prohibit her from talking to the media about the case.
In total, 19 defendants, including Trump and his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, were charged in the wide-ranging racketeering case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Other women charged include former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, ex-celebrity publicist Trevian Kutti, former Coffee County Republican Party chair Cathy Latham and ex-Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton.
Some of Powell’s charges stem from a January 2021 breach of Coffee County’s voting equipment that prosecutors say Powell and other defendants, including Latham and Hampton, committed to bolster their election fraud claims.
Powell reached a plea bargain with prosecutors days before her trial with another co-defendant, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, was set to begin. In September, her attorney downplayed Powell’s involvement in the election interference case and argued that Powell should be tried separately from other defendants.
Powell is the second defendant in the Georgia case to plead guilty. Ex-bail bondsman Scott Hall pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of conspiracy in late September. Hall, who pleaded guilty to charges resulting from the Coffee County breach, also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of his deal.
Powell’s testimony in other defendants’ trials could provide even more insight into the highest levels of the efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Powell spoke at official Trump campaign news conferences, including the infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping news conference, where she made outlandish claims that foreign countries, including Venezuela, were hacking U.S. voting technology and that billionaire George Soros and the Clintons were involved. Voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems has sued Powell and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani for defamation and entered into a $787 million settlement with Fox News earlier this year.
Powell also participated in meetings in the White House and Oval Office, where she advocated for Trump to seize voting machines via executive order. One meeting, first reported by Axios, devolved into an hours-long screaming match between several top Trump allies in which Powell accused top advisers of being “disloyal.” The New York Times reported in January 2021 that Trump weighed appointing Powell as a special prosecutor to investigate election fraud but did not follow through.
Kutti and two other defendants are charged in the case brought by Willis with intimidating two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, whom Trump and his allies falsely accused of interfering in the vote counting. Both women, who are Black, said they received harassment and threats in the wake of the election. A federal judge found Giuliani liable for defaming the two women; a civil trial this December will determine damages.
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