Then there were 15 | Updating Georgia’s Donald Trump election fraud case
Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, Scott Hall have made deals. Here’s who’s left.
ATLANTA (AP) — Four of the 18 people charged alongside former President Donald Trump with participating in an illegal scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia have now negotiated deals with prosecutors, pleading guilty to reduced charges in exchange for their truthful testimony in future trials.
Lawyer Jenna Ellis on Tuesday became the latest to turn against Trump, pleading guilty to a single felony charge in exchange for a sentence of probation rather than prison time. Fellow attorneys Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro reached similar deals last week, just as their trial in the case was supposed to start because they had invoked their rights to a speedy trial. Bail bondsman Scott Graham Hall last month was the first to plead guilty.
Trump and the others charged in the case have pleaded not guilty.
The sweeping indictment, brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in August, capped an investigation that had lasted more than two years and marked the fourth criminal case brought against the former president. Its 41 counts include racketeering, violating the oath of a public officer, forgery, false statements and other offenses.
Here’s a look at the 19 people charged:
Then-President Trump fixated on Georgia after the 2020 general election, refusing to accept his narrow loss in the state and making unfounded assertions of widespread election fraud there. He also called top state officials, including Gov. Brian Kemp, to urge them to find a way to reverse his loss in the state.
In a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump suggested the state’s top elections official could help “find” the votes needed for him to win the state. Willis opened the investigation into possible illegal attempts to influence the election shortly after a recording of that call was made public.
During several legislative hearings at the Georgia Capitol in December 2020, the former New York mayor and Trump attorney promoted unsupported allegations of widespread election fraud in Georgia. Prosecutors have said Giuliani was also involved in a plan to have 16 Georgia Republicans serve as fake electors, falsely swearing that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.
Eastman, one of Trump’s lawyers and a former dean of Chapman University’s law school in Southern California, was deeply involved in some of his efforts to remain in power after the 2020 election. He wrote a memo arguing that Trump could remain in power if then-Vice President Mike Pence overturned the results of the electoral certification during a joint session of Congress. That plan included putting in place a slate of “alternate” electors in seven battleground states, including Georgia, who would falsely certify that Trump had won their states.
Trump’s chief of staff visited Cobb County, in the Atlanta suburbs, while state investigators were conducting an audit of the signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in December 2020. Meadows obtained the phone number of the chief investigator for the secretary of state’s office, Frances Watson, and passed it along to Trump, who called her.
He also participated in the Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
A lawyer and staunch Trump ally, Powell was present for a now-infamous December 2020 meeting at the White House where participants hatched far-fetched schemes. She also was part of a group that met at the South Carolina home of conservative attorney Lin Wood in November 2020 “for the purpose of exploring options to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere,” prosecutors said.
Additionally, prosecutors alleged Powell was involved in arranging for a computer forensics team to travel to rural Coffee County, about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta, to copy data and software from elections equipment there in January 2021.
Prosecutors have said Chesebro, an attorney, worked with Republicans in numerous swing states Trump lost, including Georgia, in the weeks after the November 2020 election at the direction of Trump’s campaign. Chesebro worked on the coordination and execution of a plan to have 16 Georgia Republicans sign a certificate declaring falsely that Trump won and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.
A U.S. Justice Department official who championed Trump’s false claims of election fraud, Clark presented colleagues with a draft letter pushing Georgia officials to convene a special legislative session on the election results, according to testimony before the U.S. House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Clark wanted the letter sent, but Justice Department superiors refused.
The lawyer appeared with Giuliani at a Dec. 3, 2020, hearing hosted by state Republican lawmakers at the Georgia Capitol during which false allegations of election fraud were made.
Ellis also wrote at least two legal memos to Trump and his attorneys advising that Pence should “disregard certified electoral college votes from Georgia and other purportedly ‘contested’ states” when Congress met to certify the election results on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors said.
A Georgia-based lawyer, Smith was involved in multiple lawsuits challenging the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. He also gathered witnesses to provide testimony before Georgia legislative subcommittee hearings held in December 2020 on alleged issues with the state’s election.
A Georgia lawyer, Cheeley presented video clips to legislators of election workers at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta and alleged the workers were counting votes twice or sometimes three times. He spoke to the lawmakers after Giuliani.
A former White House aide who served as the director of Trump’s election day operations, Roman was involved in efforts to put forth a set of fake electors after the 2020 election.
The chairman of the Georgia GOP, Shafer was one of 16 state Republicans who met at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to sign a certificate declaring falsely that Trump had won and also declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors. He also joined Trump in a lawsuit challenging the certification of the 2020 election in Georgia.
He was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.
Still was the finance chairman for the state GOP in 2020 and served as a Georgia delegate to the Republican National Convention that year. He was elected to the Georgia state Senate in November 2022 and represents a district in Atlanta’s suburbs.
Stephen Cliffgard Lee
Prosecutors say Cliffgard Lee, a pastor, worked with others to try to pressure Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman and her daughter after Trump and his allies falsely accused them of pulling fraudulent ballots from a suitcase during the vote count. Lee allegedly knocked on Freeman’s door, frightening her and causing her to call 911 three times, prosecutors said in a court filing last year.
Also known as Willie Lewis Floyd III, he served as director of Black Voices for Trump, and is accused of recruiting Lee to arrange a meeting with Freeman and Chicago-based publicist Trevian Kutti.
Trevian C. Kutti
Prosecutors allege Kutti, a publicist, claimed to have high-level law enforcement connections. They say Freeman met with Kutti at a police precinct, where she brought Floyd into the conversation on a speakerphone. Prosecutors say Kutti presented herself as someone who could help Freeman but then pressured her to falsely confess to election fraud.
Latham was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors. She was also chair of the Coffee County Republican Party. She was at the county elections office for much of the day on Jan. 7, 2021, and welcomed a computer forensics team that arrived to copy software and data from the county’s election equipment in what the secretary of state’s office has said was “unauthorized access” to the machines.
An Atlanta-area bail bondsman, Hall was allegedly involved in commandeering voting information that was the property of Dominion Voting Systems from Coffee County, a small south Georgia jurisdiction. Also charged in the scheme were Powell, Latham and former county elections supervisor Misty Hampton.
She was the elections director in Coffee County. Hampton was present in the county elections office on Jan. 7, 2021, when a computer forensics team copied software and data from the county’s election equipment. She also allowed two other men who had been active in efforts to question the 2020 election results to access the elections office later that month and to spend hours inside with the equipment.
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