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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Sidney Powell Pleads Guilty in Georgia Trump Case - The New York Times

Sidney Powell Pleads Guilty in Georgia Trump Case

"Ms. Powell, a lawyer who pushed baseless theories about ballot fraud in 2020, is the second defendant to accept a plea deal in the election interference case.

Sidney Powell in Georgia in December 2020.
Ben Margot/Associated Press

Sidney K. Powell, a member of Donald J. Trump’s legal team after he lost the 2020 election, pleaded guilty on Thursday morning to six misdemeanor counts instead of facing a criminal trial that was to begin next week. She was among 19 defendants, including Mr. Trump, who were indicted in August for their efforts to subvert the election results in Georgia. 

Ms. Powell, 68, who appeared in a downtown Atlanta courtroom, was sentenced to six years of probation for conspiracy to commit intentional interference of election duties. That is a significantly less-severe outcome than she would have faced if found guilty of the charges for which she was originally indicted, which included a violation of the state racketeering law.

She was also fined $6,000 and agreed to pay $2,700 restitution to the state of Georgia, as well as write an apology letter to its citizens. 

Prosecutors said in court that Ms. Powell had given them a recorded statement on Wednesday as part of her plea deal. She has agreed to testify against any of the 17 remaining defendants. Ms. Powell has also agreed to turn over documents in her possession related to the case.

The guilty plea was a blow to Mr. Trump, who faces the most charges of any defendant along with Rudolph W. Giuliani, his former personal lawyer. Both men face 13 counts. Significantly, it means that a member of the Trump legal team will cooperate with the prosecution as it pursues criminal convictions related to efforts to keep the former president in power after he lost the 2020 election. 

Few defenders of Mr. Trump promoted election fraud theories after his 2020 defeat to Joseph R. Biden Jr. as stridently as Ms. Powell. In high-profile appearances, often alongside other members of the Trump legal team, she pushed conspiracies involving Venezuela, Cuba and China, as well as George Soros, Hugo Chávez and the Clintons, while baselessly claiming that voting machines had flipped millions of votes.

During Ms. Powell’s appearance in Fulton County Superior Court on Thursday morning, Judge Scott McAfee asked her: “Are you pleading guilty today because you agree that there is a sufficient factual basis, that there are enough facts, that support this plea of guilty?” 

“I do,” she replied. 

Richard Fausset is a correspondent based in Atlanta. He mainly writes about the American South, focusing on politics, culture, race, poverty and criminal justice. He previously worked at The Los Angeles Times, including as a foreign correspondent in Mexico City. More about Richard Fausset

Danny Hakim is an investigative reporter. He has been a European economics correspondent and bureau chief in Albany and Detroit. He was also a lead reporter on the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. More about Danny Hakim"

Sidney Powell Pleads Guilty in Georgia Trump Case - The New York Times

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