Former Trump Lawyer Jenna Ellis Joins Guilty Plea Parade in Georgia

“If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump.”

Mother Jones; Fulton County Sheriff’s Office/Zuma

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Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer for Donald Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the sprawling Georgia criminal prosecution surrounding Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Ellis is now the fourth defendant—and third attorney—to plead guilty in the case and agree to testify.

Ellis appeared in court in Fulton County, Georgia, on Tuesday and accepted responsibility for a single felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings. Ellis will avoid prison time but will have to serve five years of probation. She agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and to testify in future proceedings related to Trump’s election subversion schemes. Ellis also agreed to pay $5,000 in restitution and submitted a letter of apology to Georgia citizens. 

Her deal follows plea agreements reached by three other defendants in the Georgia case, which Fulton Country District Attorney Fani Willis brought using a powerful state racketeering law. Bail bondsman Scott Hall, Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, and Kenneth Chesebro—an attorney who helped formulate the fake electors scheme at the heart of the case—pleaded guilty and agreed to testify in upcoming trials, potentially against Trump. But Ellis’ deal includes a more extensive cooperation requirement. 

Jenna Ellis reads a statement after pleading guilty to a felony in Fulton Country, Ga.

John Bazemore/AP

Powell and Chesebro pleaded guilty last week, just days before their trial was set to begin. But Ellis was among 16 other defendants, including Trump and his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who were not expected to go to trial until next year. That’s a possible indication that defendants in the case feel pressure to cut deals before others do—and before they are further swamped by legal costs. 

Ellis worked closely with Giuliani to advance false election fraud claims following Joe Biden’s victory. She traveled with the former New York mayor to various battleground states won by Biden, urging state lawmakers there to attempt to overturn the election results. In a statement she read in court Tuesday, Ellis said she had erred by relying “on others, including lawyers with many more years of experience than I, to provide me with true and reliable information.” Ellis also acknowledged in her plea that she had aided and abetted Giuliani in making false claims. That’s the latest legal blow for Giuliani, who appears to be broke and unable to pay lawyers amid a slew other legal problems. Giuliani, like Trump, faces 13 felony charges in Georgia. Both have pleaded not guilty.

In her statement Tuesday, Ellis also tearfully admitted that her claims about a stolen election were false.

“If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges,” Ellis said. “I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.”

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