Don’t be fooled by guilty pleas in Trump’s Georgia indictment

Whatever one thinks about Donald Trump, no one should assume that Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis’s recent plea deals, or the public apologies she has demanded, legitimize the claims made against the former president and others Accused. This includes the lawyers who are accused of doing what they are ethically obligated to do: representing their client’s interests to the best of their ability.

In fact, the plea deals demonstrate the weakness of Ms. Willis’ case. They were bargain deals that were virtually impossible to resist. The defendants faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend themselves before an almost certainly politically biased jury and a biased prosecutor who has brought charges of attempting to criminalize perfectly lawful activities – such as Mr. Trump’s ” nationally televised speech.” claiming that he won the 2020 election (Act 1 of the indictment).

As I outlined in a legal analysis in August, Ms. Willis’s indictment criminalizes activities protected by the First Amendment, including “freedom to speak, to engage in political activity, and to petition her government for redress.” to file complaints.”

>>> WATCH: The Trump Indictments: Is the Justice System Rigged?

This prosecutor is waging a sweeping attack on the democratic process and the rule of law by abusing a law designed to prosecute gangsters and drug cartels, the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, against people who challenged the results of an election. something they had a constitutional right to do, regardless of whether they were right or wrong.

Consider the seriousness of the allegations made by Ms. Willis against the defendants. She accuses violations of 41 provisions of various criminal laws, one crime after another. These include “false statements and writings, impersonating a public official, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespassing, invasion of computer privacy, conspiracy to defraud the government, acts of theft and perjury.” send several defendants to prison for the rest of their lives.

The four defendants who pleaded guilty were accused of violating 23 of those 41 different provisions. Ms. Willis alleges that all four violated RICO Law §16-14-4(c), which alone carries a minimum penalty of either a substantial fine or five to 20 years in prison – or both.

Given these serious crimes and her allegation of a grand conspiracy to defraud the state of Georgia and its citizens, what does she agree to do?

Sidney Powell, Ken Chesebro, Jenna Ellis and Scott Hall all received no prison sentences, just multiple periods of probation and community service, fines of between $5,000 and $6,000, and an obligation to testify and publicly apologize at the prosecutor’s request. And Ms Powell had to agree to an official gag order banning her from speaking to anyone about the case, particularly the media.

But the most important, overlooked part of these plea agreements was that Ms. Willis agreed to provide all defendants with “first-offender treatment” pursuant to Georgia Code § 42-8-60.

>>> Georgia officials failed to follow ethical and legal rules in charging Trump

What does that mean? This means that their guilty pleas will be put on hold, and if these four fulfill the conditions of their sentences, the serious charges against them will disappear. As stated in the statute, a defendant “is acquitted of his guilt and remains acquitted as a matter of law.”

The criminal indictment runs nearly 100 pages and alleges that the defendants “knowingly and intentionally engaged in a conspiracy to unlawfully alter the outcome of the proceedings.” [2020] Election.” If Fani Willis’ case is so serious and substantive, and the defendants’ actions pose such a threat to Georgia, why would she allow the defendants to face probation, no prison time, relatively small fines, and an agreement to release everyone Get away with charging the defendants as if they had never been filed at all, giving them a completely clean record?

For the three attorneys, Chesebro, Ellis and Ms. Powell, who chose the “get out of jail free” agreement, this is particularly important because it means they will not automatically lose their law licenses and therefore their ability to make a living would earn, lose.

I can’t blame any of them for accepting this deal, which probably seemed almost too good to be true. Why would Ms. Willis offer such a deal when her case was so solid? It suggests that Ms. Willis is using the justice system as a political weapon to extract guilty pleas from defendants to convince the public and media that her targeting of the former president, his political allies and his lawyers is a credible, valid one Prosecution.

It is not.