The image most of us had of former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis was a remarkably cheerful mugshot after her arrest in the RICO case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Ellis made a very different appearance today in state court pleaded guilty to intentionally interfering in the election process in the state of Georgia. While the impact of earlier pleas by figures like Sidney Powell is hard to judge at this stage, this plea has more ominous implications for the former president.
Ellis offered a sobbing apology for her role in challenging the 2020 election and stated that
“as an attorney who is also a Christian, I take my responsibilities as a lawyer very seriously and I endeavor to be a person of sound moral and ethical character in all my dealings. … In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, I believed that challenging the results on behalf of President Trump should be pursued in a just and legal way. I endeavored to represent my client to the best of my ability…What I did not do, but I should, was make sure the facts that the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true. In the frenetic pace of attempting to raise challenges to the election in several states, including Georgia, I failed to do my due diligence.”
The law in question deals with a person who “knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; makes a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or makes or uses any false writing or document, knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of state government or of the government of any county, city, or other political subdivision of” Georgia.
According to documents entered in court, Ms. Ellis admitted that claims she made about the 2020 presidential election and Georgia were false, including allegations that 2,506 felons and 10,315 dead people voted in the election.
The documents also said the allegation that workers at State Farm Arena ordered poll watchers and reporters to leave the tabulation area the night of the election and continued to operate after everyone left was false, even though all observers did leave and counting continued.
As with the other former Trump counsel, Ellis will not face jail time and was charged with one charge of aiding and abetting false statements in writing.
As part of the plea deal, Ellis will have to serve five years probation and pay $5,000 in restitution to the Georgia Secretary of State within 30 days.
She will also have to complete 100 hours of community service, write an apology letter to voters in the state of Georgia and testify truthfully in future hearings regarding ongoing cases.
WATCH: Jenna Ellis Esquire @JennaEllisEsq accepts plea deal in Georgia case which consists of:
1. 5 years probation.
2. A $5,000 fine.
3. 100 hours of community service (likely picking up trash on the side of an interstate).
4. Write an apology letter to citizens of Georgia.
— JoMa 🏴 (@joma_gc) October 24, 2023
As a reminder, The Epoch Times‘ Zachary Stieber points out that Ms. Ellis and 18 others, including President Trump, were indicted by a grand jury in Fulton County earlier this year under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Defendants made false statements and committed other crimes to further their objectives, including trying to persuade Georgia lawmakers to reject the electoral votes that were for then-candidate Joe Biden, according to the indictment.
Ms. Ellis was charged in part for participating in a meeting with Pennsylvania legislators on Nov. 25, 2020. During the meeting, she asked the legislators to appoint electors for President Trump, even though Pennsylvania’s vote count ended with President Biden on top.
Ms. Ellis was specifically charged with violating the RICO act and soliciting a violation of oath by a public officer.
Those charges are both felonies and carry a combined prison term of up to 23 years.
Ms. Ellis is not the first defendant to plead guilty.
Sidney Powell, another lawyer, pleaded guilty to six misdemeanors on Oct. 19, several days before her trial was scheduled to start and after attempts to dismiss the charges failed.
President Trump had said he hired Ms. Powell but, following the plea, said she never actually worked for him. President Trump’s campaign also said she was not a member of its legal team.
Kenneth Chesebro, another lawyer, pleaded guilty to one felony the following day.
Scott Hall, a bail bondsman, was the first defendant to enter a guilty plea. He pleaded guilty in September to five misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties.
All defendants saw charges dropped as part of their plea deals, and will avoid time in prison if they follow the parameters of the agreements.
Others charged in the indictment include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former President Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, and former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer.
The charges were approved by a grand jury. They were presented by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat.
With that background in mind, Jonathan Turley reminds that Ellis’ is the type of plea that tends to concentrate the mind.
Powell pleaded to relatively minor charges involving unauthorized access to voting machines and areas. Those charges tend to be easy to prove. It is not clear if she would tie Trump to a conspiracy or racketeering.
Ellis pleaded guilty to false false statements that could conceivably implicate the President if she claims that he was aware of the falsity and facilitated the crime.
Moreover, Ellis recently broke with Trump.
She called him a “malignant narcissist” who cannot admit mistakes – and said that she would never vote for him again.
The question is now whether Ellis will implicate Trump in this conspiracy.
What is clear is that her plea will hold particularly interest of Special Counsel Jack Smith in his parallel federal prosecution.