Jenna Ellis, a co-defendant with Donald Trump in the Georgia election conspiracy case, became the fourth person to plead guilty Tuesday in the case alleging attempted interference in the 2020 election.
Ellis, who Trump once called part of his “truly great team” of private lawyers in November 2020, traveled the country promoting baseless claims of election fraud, holding news conferences and meeting with state lawmakers. She was initially charged as part of the broader racketeering conspiracy with asking Georgia state lawmakers to violate their oaths of office by appointing fake presidential electors to support Trump despite him losing the state to President Joe Biden.
Speaking inside an Atlanta courtroom, Ellis portrayed herself as an inexperienced attorney who had fallen for Trump’s narrative. Ellis pleaded guilty to a felony, aiding and abetting false statement and writings. She agreed to five years of probation and to pay $5,000 of restitution. Her agreement falls under Georgia’s First Offender Act, which means the conviction will be wiped off her record if she completes the probation successfully.
Ellis said she relied on other lawyers with more experience to provide true and reliable information while challenging results of the 2020 election. She said she didn’t check whether allegations others made were true. She apologized to the people of Georgia.
“I believe in and I value election integrity,” Ellis said, reading a tearful statement. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges. I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.”
Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee thanked her for the statement.
“All too often I don’t get to hear the perspective of the accused in these cases, and so that is appreciated,” McAfee said.
Ellis appeared at a Dec. 3, 2020, meeting before a Georgia Senate Judiciary subcommittee with Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Ray Smith, two co-defendants in the case, according to Daysha Young, the executive district attorney in Fulton County.
Giuliani and Smith made false statements including that 2,506 felons voted illegally, 66,248 underaged people illegally registered to vote, 2,423 people voted who were not listed as registered to vote and 10,315 dead people voted, Young said. But state investigations found no widespread fraud.
“The false statements were made with reckless disregard of the truth and with conspicuous purpose to avoid learning the truth,” Young said.
Giuliani and Smith have pleaded not guilty.
Legal experts said the co-defendants reaching plea agreements could provide powerful testimony during trials because they met with key players in the alleged racketeering conspiracy that sought to keep Trump in power.
Alyssa Farah Griffin, former Trump White House communications director, said in a post on X that Ellis’ plea shows the election protests were “all a lie & the public was deceived.”
Ellis is one of 19 co-defendants charged in the case, which alleged a broad racketeering conspiracy. The indictment described a conspiracy including the recruitment of fake presidential electors to vote for Trump, lying about election results to state officials and in court records, and soliciting public officials to violate their oaths of office.
Sidney Powell, who baselessly claimed widespread election fraud, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to commit theft by taking and five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties. Powell agreed to testify in future trials in exchange for serving six years of probation, a $6,000 fine and paying restitution of $2,700.
Kenneth Chesebro, another lawyer who developed the scheme to recruit fake presidential electors for Trump, despite President Joe Biden winning the state, pleaded guilty Friday.
Co-defendant, bail bondsman Scott Hall pleaded guilty last month to five misdemeanors and also agreed to testify against others.
Ellis was already censured by the Colorado bar for making 10 false statements about the election.
The indictment described Ellis acting as part of the conspiracy:
Nov. 19, 2020, Ellis attended a news conference at the Republican National Committee with co-defendants Powell and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani making false claims about election fraud.
Nov. 25, 2020, Ellis joined Giuliani meeting with Pennsylvania lawmakers to encourage them to appoint fake presidential electors supporting Trump. Ellis and Giuliani made calls to Pennsylvania lawmakers the next two days.
Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2020, Ellis and Giuliani met with Arizona lawmakers to encourage them to appoint fake electors.
Dec. 3, 2020, Ellis joined Giuliani and other co-defendants in asking Georgia lawmakers to violate their oaths of office by appointing fake electors.
Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 5, 2021: Ellis wrote memos for Trump analyzing how then-Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, could reject electors from six contested states when Congress counted votes Jan. 6, 2021. Pence refused to participate.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer, pleads guilty in Georgia election case
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