Home » Fourth Trump Co-Defendant, Jenna Ellis, Pleads Guilty in Georgia Subversion Case
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Fourth Trump Co-Defendant, Jenna Ellis, Pleads Guilty in Georgia Subversion Case

A third former lawyer to Donald Trump has pleaded guilty in an election subversion case in the US state of Georgia.

Jenna Ellis is the fourth of 19 co-defendants to plead guilty in a deal with Fulton County prosecutors.

She is accused of drafting a letter intended for top Georgia officials declaring that the state’s election results were illegitimate.

Ms Ellis is the second person to plead guilty in less than a week.

Mr Trump is also among those charged in the case. He has pleaded not guilty.

Ms Ellis pleaded guilty to one felony charge of aiding and abetting false statements and writings. She agreed to prosecutors’ recommendations that she face five years of probation, pay a fine of $5,000 (£4,108) in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

The 38-year-old also wrote an apology letter to the state of Georgia and will have to testify in all other proceedings related to those charged in the case. In exchange prosecutors dropped Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Rico) charges she had been facing.

This includes former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom Ms Ellis has implicated in her plea deal by admitting that she aided and abetted his “false statements” about voter fraud.

Mr Giuliani has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Through tears, Ms Ellis told the court on Tuesday: “If I knew then what I know now I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post election challenges. I look back on this full experience with deep remorse for those failures.”

A former senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign, Ms Ellis was censured by the Colorado Bar Association in March for making “reckless, knowing, or intentional misrepresentations” while working as an attorney to Mr Trump.

In its ruling, the association said Ms Ellis’ statements on behalf of the former president had “undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election, violating her duty of candour to the public”.

In her statement on Tuesday, Ms Ellis accused “lawyers with many more years of experience than I” of misleading her and failing to provide her with full and proper information related to the case.

She has been a lawyer since 2011, according to records held by the Colorado state bar.

“What I did not do, but should have done your honour, was to make sure that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true, were in fact true,” she told the court.

“As an attorney who is also a Christian, I take my responsibilities as a lawyer very seriously, and I endeavour to be a person of sound moral and ethical character in all of my dealings,” she added. “In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, I believed that challenging the results on behalf of President Trump should be pursued in a just and legal way.”

Ms Ellis’ plea deal comes just days after two other ex-Trump lawyers, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, admitted guilt in the case.

A fourth co-defendant, bail bondsman Scott Hall, also struck a plea deal with prosecutors in late September.

Ms Ellis is one of several of Mr Trump’s co-defendants who did not receive any financial assistance from the former president or pro-Trump groups, despite unyielding allegiance to Mr Trump after his election defeat.

Shortly after the indictment dropped, she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Why isn’t MAGA, Inc. funding everyone’s defense.”

A donations page set up by her team has already raised some $216,431 (£177,828).

The lawyer, who hosts a radio programme for the American Family Network, has since declared that she will not support Mr Trump’s bid for a second tilt at the White House.

“I simply can’t support him for elected office again,” she said on her podcast in September. “I have chosen to distance is because of that frankly malignant narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong.”

Ms Ellis’ and other’s early pleas – which end in probation rather than jail – are potentially the beginning of a scary pattern for Mr Trump, as the list of potential witnesses against him grows.

Steve Sadow, lead counsel for Trump in the Georgia case, implied in a statement that prosecution’s willingness to dismiss Rico charges were a sign of district attorney Fani Willis’ true strategy.

“What that shows is this so-called RICO case is nothing more than a bargaining chip for DA Willis,” he said. “Moreover, this plea was to a completely separate charge, not a part of the original indictment, which doesn’t even mention President Trump.”

Source : BBC