Trump’s co-defendant, Jenna Ellis, pleads guilty in the Georgia election case

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ATLANTA – Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, pleaded guilty Tuesday to unlawful conspiracy to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

Ellis, who faced two charges including violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, pleaded guilty in court Tuesday morning to a single felony: aiding and abetting false statements and writings. The deal allows her to avoid jail time in exchange for providing evidence that could incriminate other defendants and agreeing to testify in future trials. Ellis worked closely with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, another defendant in the case who faces 13 indictments.

On October 24, former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis pleaded guilty to illegally conspiring to overturn the former president’s 2020 election loss in Georgia. (Video: Fulton County Superior Court)

The plea represents the first time a senior Trump adviser has faced criminal liability and admitted making false statements that the 2020 presidential election was marred by widespread fraud. In a hearing Tuesday morning, Ellis tearfully admitted that she was wrong and misled and that she no longer believes those false claims.

“If I had known then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges,” Ellis said.

When Ellis and her attorneys, Franklin and Laura Hogue, appeared before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee on Tuesday, they listened as a prosecutor read details of an amended indictment. According to the details of the agreement, Ellis agreed to serve three to five years of probation, 100 hours of community service and pay $5,000 in restitution to the Georgia Secretary of State. She agreed to write a letter of apology to the state of Georgia.

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She is the fourth Trump co-defendant to plead guilty in the case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis. Scott Hall, the Atlanta bail bondsman accused of playing a wide-ranging role in the conspiracy to overturn Trump’s loss in Georgia, pleaded guilty Sept. 29 in a cooperation agreement with prosecutors. Former pro-Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro each pleaded guilty last week on the eve of their scheduled joint trial in the case.

As part of their plea agreements, Hall, Powell and Chesebro each recorded a lengthy video in which they answered questions from prosecutors about their role and the role of others in the alleged election interference conspiracy.

Ellis is the second co-defendant with known direct ties to Trump to plead guilty in the case. Ellis, a former Fox News regular who was hired as legal counsel for the Trump campaign in late 2019, was part of the legal team after the 2020 election and appeared alongside Giuliani and pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell at press conferences where she repeated false claims of election fraud.

She worked closely with Giuliani and traveled to battleground states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where prosecutors say she spoke to lawmakers and urged them to reject the popular vote results in their states. The Georgia prosecution also pointed to memos she wrote for Trump outlining how Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the election results.

Ellis was later reprimanded by a judge in Colorado over false statements she made about the 2020 election. During that trial, Ellis admitted that several statements she made at the time were false. Declaring she acted in a “reckless state of mind,” she told the court that she acted for “selfish” motives and that her actions “undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election.”

It is not known what Ellis told prosecutors or what documents she might share in the case. Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Ellis could be among those seeking a deal, in part because of her public complaints about Trump’s unwillingness to pay her mounting legal fees.

Ellis, who hosts a podcast for the American Family Network, also publicly stated in September that she was unlikely to support Trump’s bid for the 2024 nomination. “I simply cannot support him for elected office again,” Ellis said on her podcast in September. “I chose to distance myself because I have a frankly malignant narcissistic tendency to just say he never did anything wrong.”

Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead lawyer in the Georgia case, pointed to prosecutors’ willingness to dismiss the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations charge, commonly known as RICO, as evidence of what he said was Willis’ true strategy.

“For the fourth time, Fani Willis and her law enforcement team have dismissed the RICO charges against a parole application,” he said. “This shows that this so-called RICO case is nothing more than a bargaining chip for Attorney General Willis. Furthermore, this plea related to an entirely separate indictment and was not part of the original indictment, which does not even mention President Trump.”

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