Sidney Powell, an attorney, for Donald Trump has pleaded guilty in the Georgia election subversion case a day before her trial was scheduled to begin. Her admission of guilt revolves around her role in the breach of election systems in Coffee County, Georgia that occurred in January 2021.
During this breach local GOP officials collaborated with a group of Trump supporters to attempt accessing and duplicating information from the county’s election systems with the intention of providing evidence for allegations of election manipulation, against Trump.
Fulton County prosecutors have recommended a six-year probation sentence for Powell, contingent on her cooperation. This cooperation includes testifying in future trials, penning an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia, paying nearly USD 9,000 in restitution and fines, and surrendering documents relevant to the case.
Former President Donald Trump, a co-defendant in the Fulton County case, was not mentioned in sidney Powell’s plea documents, and his connection to the case was not addressed during the plea hearing held on Thursday.
Following the 2020 presidential election, Sidney Powell gained notoriety for peddling conspiracy theories related to alleged election fraud and baseless claims about millions of votes being manipulated in a global plot against Trump, involving foreign powers like Venezuela.
Powell’s guilty plea makes her the second individual to do so in the extensive racketeering case. Scott Hall, a bail bondsman, previously pleaded guilty and has agreed to testify in forthcoming trials. Meanwhile, the other 17 defendants, including Donald Trump, have maintained their pleas of not guilty.
In her admission of guilt, Powell has confessed to tampering with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines following the 2020 election, with the intention of appropriating information, data, and software belonging to Dominion Voting Systems Corporation. She also admitted to hiring a data forensics firm and sending its employees to Coffee County to unlawfully access government computers with the purpose of examining personal voter data, all without proper authorization.
Powell’s legal defense had vehemently disputed the prosecution’s assertion that she orchestrated the Coffee County breach, asserting that the evidence would prove she was not the mastermind behind the incident. However, her decision to plead guilty marks a significant development in the case.
CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig commented on this development, noting that the prosecutors would not have entered into this plea deal unless they were convinced of Sidney Powell’s credibility as a witness. He emphasized that cooperation in cases like this requires the individual to testify credibly and without reservation.
Notably, only one other Georgia defendant is explicitly named in Thursday’s plea documents: Misty Hampton, who served as the Coffee County elections supervisor during the 2020 election cycle. Powell has admitted to entering into a criminal conspiracy with Hampton and has committed to testifying against her if her case proceeds to trial. Hampton, on her part, has pleaded not guilty to seven felonies.
The last-minute guilty plea by Sidney Powell has significantly altered the course of the trial, which was originally scheduled to begin on Friday with jury selection for both Powell and co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro. However, it appears that Chesebro’s trial will proceed independently. He has pleaded not guilty to seven charges related to his involvement in the fake-electors plot.
Beyond her legal issues in Georgia, Sidney Powell is also facing legal challenges elsewhere. She is an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal election subversion case brought by special counsel Jack Smith against Trump. This ongoing investigation continues to scrutinize Powell, although she has not yet faced charges in this case.
Additionally, Powell is embroiled in massive defamation lawsuits filed by two voting technology companies, Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, who allege she falsely accused them of manipulating the 2020 election against Trump. These lawsuits, filed in 2021, are currently in the pre-trial discovery phase.
Criminal Charges & Guilty Plea: Sidney Powell
In the course of the prosecution of Donald J. Trump in Georgia, Sidney Powell, on August 14, 2023, faced indictment by a grand jury. The charges encompassed violations of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute, alongside 18 alleged co-conspirators, including Trump himself.
The indictment included two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, as well as one count each for conspiracies related to computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, and defrauding the state, summing up to seven felony counts. Powell voluntarily surrendered at the Fulton County jail on August 23, 2023.
Fast forward to October 19, 2023, Powell admitted guilt to six misdemeanor charges linked to her involvement in Trump’s efforts to contest the election results and her personal role in breaching the security of electoral equipment in Coffee County, Georgia. She accepted a sentence of six years’ probation, a $6,000 fine, $2,700 in restitution, and an obligation to draft an apology letter to the people of Georgia. Furthermore, she committed to providing testimony in other legal proceedings.