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Ex-Trump lawyer pleads guilty in efforts to overturn 2020 election results in Georgia

Jenna Ellis pleaded guilty to counts of abetting false statements of electoral fraud to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. She was sentenced to five years of probation, 100 hours of community service and writing an apology letter.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: October 24, 2023 21:14 IST
Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer of ex-US President Donald Trump
Image Source : AP Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer of ex-US President Donald Trump

Former lawyer of ex-US President Donald Trump and prominent conservative media figure Jenna Ellis pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in Georgia, becoming the fourth defendant to enter the plea deal.

Ellis was a vocal part of Trump's re-election campaign in the last presidential campaign and was charged along with 17 others and Trump himself for violating the state's anti-racketeering law. She pleaded guilty to a felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings and reached a deal with prosecutors on Tuesday.

She was sentenced to five years of probation along with $5,000 in restitution, 100 hours of community service, writing an apology letter to the people of Georgia and testifying truthfully in trials related to this case.

Fighting back tears, the 38-year-old attorney said that she would not have represented Trump after the 2020 election if she knew then what she knows now, adding that she relied on lawyers with much more experience than her and failed to verify that the things they told her were true.

"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," said Ellis.

Accusations against Ellis

Ellis is accused of helping plans on how to disrupt and delay congressional certification of the 2020 election's results on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. She also allegedly appointed a set of presidential electors loyal to Trump at a hearing in Pennsylvania, and appeared with some of those lawmakers and Trump at a meeting at the White House.

The attorney is also accused of pressurising state lawmakers to back false, pro-Trump electors in Georgia as well as other states like Arizona and Michigan. However, she has since become more critical of Trump, saying she won't vote for him due to a "malignant, narcissistic tendency" to say that he has not done anything wrong.

Ellis, along with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was a leading voice in the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, appearing on television and conservative media to tell unverified claims about widespread electoral fraud and conspiracy theories. She was censured in Colorado in March after admitting she made repeated false statements about the 2020 election.

Other defendants entering plea deals

Prior to Ellis, two other defendants, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, entered guilty pleas. This means that three high-profile people responsible for propelling unsubstantied claims to challenge current President Joe Biden's election victory have agreed to take responsibility for their roles.

The early pleas and the favourable punishment — probation rather than jail — could foreshadow similar outcomes for additional defendants who may see an admission of guilt and cooperation as their best hope for leniency.

Powell pleaded guilty to six misdemeanours accusing her of conspiring to intentionally interfere with the performance of election duties. He will serve six years of probation, will be fined USD 6,000 and has to write an apology letter to Georgia and its residents.

Chesebro pleaded guilty to one felony charge of conspiracy to commit filing false documents just as jury selection was getting underway in his trial. He was also sentenced for five years in probation and 100 hours of community service with a fine of $5,000 and an apology letter.

Furthermore, a lower-profile defendant in the case, bail bondsman Scott Graham Hall, pleaded guilty last month to five misdemeanour charges. He was sentenced to five years of probation and agreed to testify in further proceedings.

Donald Trump is facing 91 criminal charges in four cases in the federal and state courts for his alleged efforts to overturn the election, the mishandling of classified documents, and charges related to allegations of hush money paid to cover up extramarital affairs. He has denied the charges.

(with AP inputs)

ALSO READ | After Trump, US President Joe Biden questioned over classified documents found at his home

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