Sidney Powell, a prominent attorney closely associated with former President Donald Trump’s efforts to contest the 2020 election results, has entered a guilty plea for six misdemeanor counts in a case related to the election in Fulton County, Georgia. This significant development occurred after Powell reached an agreement with prosecutors.
Powell appeared before the Superior Court of Fulton County in Atlanta on Thursday, where the terms of the plea deal were outlined by a prosecutor. In return for her guilty plea, Powell has been sentenced to six years of probation, fined $6,000, and ordered to pay $2,700 in restitution to the state of Georgia. The presiding judge, Scott McAfee, approved the agreement during the hearing.
As part of the plea deal, Powell is also obligated to testify truthfully against any co-defendants involved in the case, as stated by Judge McAfee.
Powell, among a group of conservative lawyers, had actively promoted baseless allegations of widespread election fraud in the 2020 election. She endorsed extravagant theories involving foreign interference and ballot manipulation in an attempt to reverse the election results. Notably, she participated in a contentious White House meeting in December 2020, during which White House lawyers challenged her and Rudy Giuliani, another lawyer, about their election claims.
In August, Powell and 18 others, including Trump himself, were charged by a grand jury in Fulton County. Initially facing seven charges, Powell pleaded not guilty, but these charges have now been dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Powell’s guilty plea came just before her co-defendant, Kenneth Chesebro, was set to go on trial. Chesebro has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled to commence with jury selection as planned on Friday. Chesebro’s attorney declined to comment on Powell’s plea.
The court documents filed in Fulton County Superior Court reveal that Powell pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties. All six counts are connected to a scheme in which Powell collaborated with a data company, SullivanStrickler, to access election data from Coffee County, Georgia. This conspiracy aimed to unlawfully access secure election machines, tamper with electronic ballot markers, and tabulating machines, ultimately removing voting data from the election systems. Powell had entered into a contract with SullivanStrickler to travel to Coffee County for this purpose.
Powell is now prohibited from communicating with co-defendants, witnesses, and media until the case has been entirely closed against all defendants. She is also required to provide documents to prosecutors and issue an apology letter to Georgia citizens as part of the plea deal.
When asked if she had been coerced, threatened, or offered anything in exchange for her guilty plea, Powell responded, « other than what is recited in the documents, no. »
Powell is the second defendant to plead guilty in this case, following Scott Hall, a bail bondsman, who pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts in late September. Hall received a sentence of five years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and 200 hours of community service.
In contrast, Trump and the remaining co-defendants have maintained their not guilty pleas and continue to deny any wrongdoing.
The implications of Powell’s guilty plea may extend to her involvement in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal case against Trump in Washington, D.C., according to Scott Fredericksen, a former federal prosecutor and independent counsel. Fredericksen suggested that Powell’s plea could be a pivotal development in either of the ongoing probes concerning the aftermath of the 2020 election.
CBS News previously identified Powell as the likely unnamed and unindicted individual referred to as « Co-conspirator 3 » in Trump’s federal indictment. This indictment accused Trump of participating in alleged schemes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
Fredericksen commented, « If she is cooperating with Willis, she should be available to be interviewed by Smith and testify. She may insist on some kind of protection or immunity from Smith in Smith’s case, but her ability to testify directly to what Trump may have said about the plans to overthrow the election could make her a critical witness. »
Trump has pleaded not guilty in the federal case and consistently argued that the ongoing prosecutions against him are politically motivated.