The attorney, known for her outlandish election conspiracy theories that she referred to as “the Kraken,” has agreed to cooperate in the Georgia RICO case. Should Donald Trump be worried?
Donald Trump Might Have a Serious Legal Problem
In stunning news on Thursday, Sidney Powell, one of former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia RICO case, agreed to plead guilty and cooperate, ahead of her scheduled trial.
According to CNN, Powell is “admitting her role in the January 2021 breach of election systems in rural Coffee County, Georgia,” and will avoid jail time, with prosecutors recommending six years probation, in exchange for Powell’s testimony at future trials, restitution and an apology.
Powell became the second of the 19 total defendants in the Georgia case to plead guilty, joining bail bondsman Scott Hall.
So now that Powell has pled guilty, how worried should Donald Trump be?
“This is a really big breakthrough for the prosecutors,” CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said on the air Thursday.
“It’s so important to understand there is no such thing as halfway cooperation. If you’re a prosecutor, you would not enter into this deal with Sidney Powell unless you had been thoroughly convinced that A, she is telling the truth, B. she is going to be able to testify for you credibly in the way that you can put in front of a jury, and justify and see she is not going to be splitting hairs,” Honig added.
The New York Times also looked at Trump’s potential jeopardy following the Powell plea, noting that Powell is the first person “closely involved in Donald Trump’s efforts to remain in office after his election defeat” to begin cooperating with prosecutors. The Times speculated that Powell, who has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal election interference case, could cooperate in that case as well, although that was not announced as part of the plea on Thursday.
The plea, per the Times, “caught the former president and his advisers by surprise.”
There is a chance, however, that Powell could prove an unreliable witness.
“Two people with ties to Mr. Trump’s orbit suggested that Ms. Powell might be a more problematic trial witness than it seems, given her history of outlandish statements,” the Times said of Powell, who at one point alleged that minions of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez had orchestrated a voting machine conspiracy. “Others, however, suggested that prosecutors must be confident that she has compelling evidence they can use against her co-defendants.”
The Times did say that Trump is more focused currently on the New York attorney general’s case than on Powell’s plea in the Georgia case.
One person quoted as an expert in the Times story is one of Trump’s current opponents, former Gov. Chris Christie, who is also a former U.S. attorney.
“You don’t give a no-jail plea deal unless that person’s got something very good to say that will help your case against the others,” Christie told the newspaper.
According to Rolling Stone, one source says that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ team “managed to break the woman who was never supposed to be breakable.” Trump’s team, per that report, had been weighing which of the Georgia codefendants may or may not “flip,” with Trump himself “intensely curious about which of his former allies might turn on him as the cases progress.”
During the 2020 election, Powell pushed conspiracy theories, including in a press conference at the Republican National Committee where she discussed the voting machine conspiracies. The Trump campaign then distanced themselves from Powell for a time, although she resurfaced weeks later, during the “craziest meeting of the Trump presidency,” in which it was proposed that Trump appoint Powell special counsel. However, he ultimately did not take that step.
“The news of Powell’s plea agreement Thursday morning stunned a number of Trump’s top advisers and attorneys, all of whom thought Powell — the truest of all Trump-backing, election-denying true believers — was among the least likely to take a plea deal ahead of trial,” Rolling Stone reported.
Author Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.