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How guilty pleas in Georgia could impact other Trump cases

Of the 19 people indicted in former President Donald Trump's Georgia racketeering case, four have now taken plea deals with prosecutors.
How guilty pleas in Georgia could impact other Trump cases
Posted at 7:42 AM, Oct 25, 2023

Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are racking up guilty pleas, and that means people who once supported former President Trump's efforts to challenge the 2020 election are now cooperating witnesses for the prosecution.

Of the 19 people indicted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in the sweeping racketeering case, four have now struck plea deals with her office.

"If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges," Jenna Ellis said during her change of plea hearing Tuesday.

SEE MORE: 4th Trump co-defendant pleads guilty in Georgia election case

Ellis pleaded guilty to one felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings. She's the third lawyer linked to former President Trump's 2020 campaign to strike a deal.

"This is a significant plea for the prosecutor," said David S. Weinstein, a former state and federal prosecutor. "In addition to what the plea contains — and that's an agreement to provide documents, to cooperate, to provide testimony — the public statements are putting holes in the public defense that Mr. Trump has been putting forward."

SEE MORE: Timeline: A rundown of the criminal indictments Trump faces

Last week, attorney Sidney Powell pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to interfere with election duties, and attorney Kenneth Chesebro pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to file false documents. The first guilty plea in this case came from bail bondsman Scott Hall last month.

As part of their deals, all four avoid jail time as long as they obey the terms of their probation, and each one must testify in trials related to this case. With 15 co-defendants remaining, more plea deals are possible, and they could stretch to cases in other jurisdictions.

"Their value is not just to the case in Georgia. For those people who are involved in that case, they have some value as a witness to the case that's pending in the District of Columbia because there's an overlap there," said Weinstein. "So if they're looking to leverage their testimony, now would be the time to open up discussions with the special prosecutor as well."

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