In the Georgia election subversion case, Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney connected to the Trump campaign’s 2020 phony electors’ conspiracy, entered a guilty plea on Friday. He acknowledged that, along with other others, former President Donald Trump was a member of a conspiracy.
In addition to dealing another setback to Trump, the plea agreement represents a major win for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who had charged Trump and eighteen other people with trying to rig the 2020 presidential election. The guilty plea was made the day after Sidney Powell, a former attorney for Trump during the campaign, entered a guilty plea and consented to work with the prosecution.
Chesebro entered a guilty plea to a single felonious charge of conspiring to file fraudulent documents. At the hearing on Friday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee imposed a sentence that included $5,000 in restitution and five years of probation, as suggested by the county’s prosecutors.
It’s possible that Chesebro was persuaded to accept a plea deal on Thursday by attorney Sidney Powell, who was also set to begin trial on Friday. According to an ABC story from two days ago, Chesebro turned down a plea deal from the prosecution that would have spared him from going to jail if he had admitted guilt to the conspiracy charge.
Next year, Trump and fifteen other co-defendants will stand trial in the racketeering case filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Because Powell and Chesebro wanted a swift trial, their cases were taken apart from the main racketeering prosecution.
Chesebro was an attorney who actively worked to sabotage the 2020 election results. He was involved in the development of the Trump campaign’s strategy to offer unofficial slates of GOP electors in Georgia and multiple other states. In earlier court documents, his attorneys have refuted his role in the plan’s creation.
In 2020, he prepared several memoranda outlining the actions that Trump supporters in each state ought to take. Chesebro admitted in one memo that he was pushing a contentious approach that even the conservative majority on the Supreme Court would probably reject.
Chesebro and other Trump supporters had hoped that on January 6, 2021, then-Vice President Mike Pence would acknowledge the phony GOP slates and disregard Joe Biden’s legitimate electorate, using the GOP electorate as justification for holding up Congress’s certification of Biden’s win.
Prosecutors claimed that Chesebro acknowledged making and sending fictitious Electoral College documents to Trump operatives in Georgia and other states during the plea deal. They further stated that he collaborated with the Trump campaign and gave accomplices thorough instructions on how to produce and disseminate these fictitious documents.
In the federal election subversion case against Trump, which was started by special counsel Jack Smith of the Justice Department, Powell and Chesebro are both unindicted co-conspirators. The federal trial of Trump is expected to begin in Washington, DC, in March 2024.
Trump’s Georgia Case:
The lead Trump attorney in the Georgia case, Steve Sadow, stated that he thinks Friday’s events will work in the former president’s favor. He said that pressure from Fani Willis and her team, as well as the prosecution’s impending prospect of jail time, led to the guilty plea to count 15 of the Fulton County indictment. Sadow also stressed that all other counts, including the RICO allegation, were dropped, and he is still optimistic that credible testimony will help his case.
Hundreds of people who could potentially serve as jurors were summoned to the Fulton County courthouse for the Chesebro trial. They were asked a series of questions to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest and to ensure fairness in the selection process. The questionnaires included inquiries about attending Trump rallies or MAGA events, posting about Donald Trump’s allegations online, and expressing divisive political opinions.
They were also asked if they had watched the highly publicized committee hearings on January 6, which showcased Trump‘s efforts to manipulate the election. Additionally, potential jurors were asked if they had participated in any federal elections in the past fifteen years. It’s important to note that they were not asked to disclose who they voted for, as that is typically not part of a juror questionnaire.
Prosecutors and Chesebro’s lawyers argued over whether or not to include politically inflammatory questions during a previous hearing. The legal team for Chesebro attempted to insert inquiries that may disclose the opinions of jurors regarding MAGA Republicans and Trump’s effort to “steal the election.” It’s unclear if the questionnaire asked those particular topics.