Fulton DA files motion to stop Trump evidence leaks, says trial likely to extend into 2025

Trump is facing a massive criminal indictment in Atlanta from District Attorney Fani Willis.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 11:14 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 9:01 AM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office filed an emergency motion late Tuesday morning to stop the distribution of leaked videos related to former President Donald Trump’s historic Fulton County racketeering indictment.

The motion came after several national and local media outlets reported on videotaped conversations from Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Scott Hall and Kenneth Chesebro, that, according to CNN, were part of the plea deals they arranged with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office.

The leaked videos appear to show the nation’s 45th president determined not to leave the White House despite losing the 2020 general election.

Ellis reportedly told prosecutors Trump’s former deputy White House chief of staff, Dan Scavino, said the president was not going to leave the White House despite the election’s results.

“And he said to me, you know, in a kind of excited tone, ‘Well, we don’t care, and we’re not going to leave,’” Ellis told prosecutors in the video. “And I said, ‘What do you mean?’

“And he said, ‘Well, the boss,’ meaning President Trump and everyone understood ‘the boss,’ that’s what we all called him, he said, ‘the boss is not going to leave under any circumstance,’” she said, according to the video.

CNN is reporting the videos came from ABC News and The Washington Post. Both outlets reportedly asked for comments from Scavino’s attorney, who did not immediately respond to those requests.

The leaked videos could scare other potential witnesses away from offering testimony or accepting plea deals for their cooperation, similar to Ellis and Powell.

“By this reaching the public, it’ll intimidate other witnesses,” J. Edward Shipp, a metro Atlanta attorney, said. “Intimidating these witnesses to a point where they just say, ‘we’re not going to testify, you can’t protect us, we’re not interested in trying to make a deal with you.’”

Willis, who has been the subject of hundreds of threats since bringing the indictments, said at an event in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday she understood she would be threatened following the indictments.

“Did I know that in a matter of a couple of months, there’d be a hundred-and-something threats? No,” she said. “Everyone should be protected by the law, but everyone is also held accountable in the law.”

Willis also said on stage at the Washington Post’s Global Women’s Summit she fully expected Trump’s and those of several others to extend beyond the 2024 presidential election and into 2025.

Other information was revealed to prosecutors by Powell, Chesebro and Hall, according to The Washington Post.

“Any purported private conversation is absolutely meaningless,” said Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead Georgia attorney. “The only salient and telling fact is that President Trump left the White House on January 20, 2021 and returned to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. If this is the nonsense line of inquiry being pursued and this is the type of bogus, ridiculous ‘evidence’ DA Willis intends to rely upon, it is one more reason that this political, travesty of a case must be dismissed.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing Trump’s massive indictment, has ordered court records unsealed for the four co-defendants who have reached plea deals.

That means the letters of apology that Powell, Chesebro, Hall and Ellis wrote may soon be available. McAfee issued the ruling in late October.

Hall was the first co-defendant to reach a plea deal with Willis. Hall has received 12 months of probation for each count for a total of five years probation and agreed to perform 200 hours of community service, pay a $5,000 fine, write a letter of apology and testify in upcoming court proceedings, among other conditions.

Then came Powell, who agreed to six years probation, pay a $6,000 fine and a $2,700 restitution, write a letter of apology, an agreement to testify against other co-defendants and an agreement that she cannot interact with any witnesses, co-defendants or members of the media.

Next was Chesebro, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of filing false documents as it related to Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. He received five years’ probation, a $5,000 fine and agreed to write an apology letter and perform 100 hours of community service.

Ellis reached an agreement days later. She was sentenced to five years of probation along with a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service, to writing an apology letter and testify in future trials.

Trump is facing 91 felony counts in four criminal cases in Washington, New York, Florida and Georgia and could potentially be looking at years in prison if convicted.

Trump is charged alongside others — including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — with violating the state’s anti-racketeering law by scheming to illegally overturn his 2020 election loss.

The indictment, handed up in August, accuses Trump or his allies of suggesting Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, could find enough votes for him to win the battleground state; harassing an election worker who faced false claims of fraud; and attempting to persuade Georgia lawmakers to ignore the will of voters and appoint a new slate of Electoral College electors favorable to Trump.

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