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Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell pleads guilty in Georgia election interference case

Attorney Sidney Powell, then an attorney for Donald Trump, speaks during a rally in Alpharetta, Ga., on Dec. 2, 2020. Powell has now pleaded guilty as part of deal with prosecutors over efforts to overturn Trump's loss in Georgia.
Ben Margot
/
AP
Attorney Sidney Powell, then an attorney for Donald Trump, speaks during a rally in Alpharetta, Ga., on Dec. 2, 2020. Powell has now pleaded guilty as part of deal with prosecutors over efforts to overturn Trump's loss in Georgia.

Updated October 19, 2023 at 1:06 PM ET

Sidney Powell, a onetime attorney for former President Donald Trump who helped orchestrate his legal efforts to try to overturn his 2020 election defeat, has pleaded guilty in the sweeping Georgia election interference case.

Powell spread baseless claims of widespread election fraud after the 2020 contest, and worked to access voting machines in Coffee County, Ga., and elsewhere to further those assertions.

Powell is one of 19 people, including the former president, who were charged with racketeering in the case tied to failed efforts to reverse his defeat in Georgia.

She also faced six other charges for her role in organizing an effort to illegally copy election data from rural, Republican-heavy Coffee County. There is no evidence of fraud in Georgia's thrice-counted 2020 election results.

On Thursday morning — one day before the scheduled start of jury selection for her joint trial with attorney Kenneth Chesebro — Powell appeared in Fulton County Superior Court to plead guilty to six misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties.

Under the plea deal, Powell will serve six years of probation, pay a $6,000 fine, pay restitution of $2,700 to the state that covers the cost of replacing election equipment, write an apology letter and testify truthfully in future hearings and trials, as well as provide "any requested documents or evidence subject to any lawful privileges asserted in good faith prior to entering this plea."

Powell and her attorneys previously denied wrongdoing, arguing that Coffee County officials — some of whom are also co-defendants in the case — invited the scrutiny of voting machines, servers and other sensitive election equipment.

Last month, Atlanta-area bail bondsman Scott Hall was the first to take a plea deal in the case, stemming from his role in the Coffee County breach.

Lawyer Chesebro authored memos detailing how Republicans could send false slates of electors to Congress. Chesebro is now set to go to trial alone.

A trial date has not been set for Trump and the remaining co-defendants.

Copyright 2023 Georgia Public Broadcasting

Stephen Fowler
Stephen Fowler is a political reporter with NPR's Washington Desk and will be covering the 2024 election based in the South. Before joining NPR, he spent more than seven years at Georgia Public Broadcasting as its political reporter and host of the Battleground: Ballot Box podcast, which covered voting rights and legal fallout from the 2020 presidential election, the evolution of the Republican Party and other changes driving Georgia's growing prominence in American politics. His reporting has appeared everywhere from the Center for Public Integrity and the Columbia Journalism Review to the PBS NewsHour and ProPublica.