Trump election case in Georgia: Kenneth Chesebro pleads guilty

  • Trump campaign lawyer Kenneth Chesebro agreed to plead guilty to a felony in the Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump.
  • The deal came a day after Sidney Powell, another former key adviser to the former president, did the same.
  • The deal negotiated with prosecutors dropped all charges against Chesebro except one count of conspiracy to file false documents.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign attorney Kenneth Chesebro is seen in a police booking mugshot released by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in Atlanta on August 23, 2023.

Source: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office

Trump campaign lawyer Kenneth Chesebro agreed Friday to plead guilty to a felony in the Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump.

The deal with Chesebro, who was accused of masterminding a conspiracy to challenge Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election, came a day after his co-defendant Sidney Powell reached his own plea agreement with prosecutors.

Chesebro, like Powell, will be required to testify truthfully if asked at the trials of other co-defendants in the case, including Trump.

Chesebro’s abrupt move signals increasing pressure on defendants to cooperate with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ team – putting the former president in even more trouble.

Chesebro reportedly rejected a consent offer just last month, NBC News and other media outlets reported Thursday. He pleaded guilty shortly after the jury trial began.

His about-face Friday makes him the third of 19 co-defendants to plead guilty in the Willis case, which accuses Trump and others of a sweeping conspiracy to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election in Georgia.

Powell and Chesebro were both identified as likely co-conspirators in a separate election interference trial against Trump in federal court in Washington, DC. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all four of his active criminal cases.

Chesebro’s defense attorney, Scott Grubman, said later Friday that the plea deal allows his client to return to his family and avoid the risk of serious prison time. Grubman also said it would be inaccurate to describe Chesebro as the architect of a plan to undermine democracy.

Asked whether Trump should be concerned about developments in the case, Grubman said: “I don’t think so.”

Attorney Scott Grubman stands by his client Kenneth Chesebro as Chesebro is sworn in during a plea deal hearing before Fulton County Chief Judge Scott McAfee at the Fulton County Courthouse on October 20, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alyssa Pointer | Getty Images

Chesebro was initially charged with seven counts related to a scheme to trick replacement voters into voting for Trump in swing states where he lost to Biden, including Georgia.

Willis’ indictment accuses Chesebro of writing numerous memos with instructions and documents after the November 2020 election about how these pro-Trump “voters” could meet to cast their votes in the states.

Chesebro also allegedly sent emails with strategies to “interfere and delay” Congress in counting the Electoral College votes to certify Biden’s victory during a joint session at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The charges against Chesebro included violating Georgia’s criminal law, as well as conspiracy to impersonate a public official, conspiracy to commit forgery, and conspiracy to file false statements and documents.

The deal negotiated with prosecutors dropped all of those charges except one count of conspiracy to file false documents.

Chesebro will receive five years of probation and must pay $5,000 in restitution to Georgia as part of the plea agreement. He must also complete 100 hours of community service and submit a letter of apology to the court.

Before pleading guilty, both Chesebro and Powell were scheduled to stand trial as first co-defendants in the case.

Judge Scott McAfee had granted Powell and Chesebro their requests for speedy trials, but denied their requests to separate those trials.

A trial date has not yet been set for Trump, who faces 13 charges in the Willis case, and the other co-defendants who have pleaded not guilty.

Powell, a pro-Trump lawyer who spread false voter fraud conspiracies about the 2020 election and filed failed lawsuits challenging the results, was accused by Willis of unlawfully hacking voting equipment in Coffee County, Georgia.

She pleaded guilty on Thursday to six counts of conspiracy to intentionally interfere with voting.

Another co-defendant, bail bondsman Scott Hall, pleaded guilty in September to five conspiracy charges.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.