Former Trump 2020 campaign attorney Jenna Ellis pleaded guilty Tuesday to one charge against her in Fulton County, Georgia, where Ellis and 18 others are being tried for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election—marking the fourth person to accept a plea deal in a sweeping criminal case that includes former President Donald Trump as a defendant.
Ellis pleaded guilty to one count of “aiding and abetting false statements and writings.”
In exchange for avoiding a jury trial, Ellis agreed to complete five years of probation, pay $5,000 in restitution to the Georgia Secretary of State, complete 100 hours of community service and write an apology letter to the state of Georgia.
Ellis is also prohibited from contacting members of the media or any of the co-defendants in the case.
In the original indictment, Ellis was charged with one count of racketeering and one count of soliciting members of the Georgia Senate to violate their oaths of office by falsely declaring Trump—not President Joe Biden—the winner in the state.
Ellis pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting attorney Rudy Giuliani and Ray Stallings Smith in “knowingly, willfully, and unlawfully” making false statements to members of the Georgia Senate, including falsely claiming tens of thousands of illegal votes were tallied in the state’s tight 2020 presidential contest.
Ellis spoke briefly at Tuesday’s hearing and said if she knew what she did today, she would decline to represent Trump.
What We Don’t Know
As part of Ellis’ plea agreement, she could cooperate with Willis’ efforts to prosecute the other defendants. It’s unclear what information she provided and what evidence she could have against the other defendants, who include Trump, attorney Rudy Giuliani, former chief of staff Mark Meadows and other key figures.
Ellis was the fourth of 19 alleged conspirators to take a plea agreement. Last week, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro both accepted plea deals. Chesebro took a plea agreement that mirrors Ellis’ and also requires that he “truthfully testify” at other trials in the case. He was initially charged with seven felony counts after prosecutors allege he sent multiple memos advocating to stop Congress from certifying the election on January 6, 2021. Powell will also have to “testify truthfully” at trials of her co-defendants after accepting a plea deal and pleading guilty to six misdemeanor counts for her role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election. Last month, Scott Hall, a bail bondsman accused of interfering with voting machine equipment during the election, became the first conspirator to take a plea agreement.
Ellis was hired as a legal advisor to the Trump campaign in 2019. Ellis, along with Powell and Giuliani, became the faces of Trump’s post-2020 election legal team. She espoused false claims about the election being stolen while speaking at press conferences after the 2020 election. Later Ellis was a part of the team that traveled to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona as Trump’s campaign urged officials in those states to declare Trump the winner, even though President Joe Biden won. Earlier this year, Ellis was publicly censured by the Colorado Supreme Court after making false “misrepresentations” about the 2020 election and violating the lawyers’ code of conduct. Willis’ case centers on Ellis, Trump and the other alleged conspirators’ efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election. The indictment, filed in August, alleges that Trump and his allies “knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.” Among the evidence Willis cited for the alleged “criminal enterprise” Trump and his allies ran was a now-infamous phone call Trump had with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump encouraged him to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s win in Georgia. This case is the fourth indictment against the former president, including a federal indictment that charges him with illegally trying to reverse his election loss. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.
In recent months, Ellis has criticized Trump and his allies for not paying for her legal defense in Fulton County. On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Ellis questioned why Trump isn’t paying for all the co-conspirators’ legal bills. Ellis, a once loyal Trump ally, has taken a more critical tone of the former president on social media, questioning why he’s attacked members of his own party.
$216,000. That’s how much Ellis crowd-funded for her defense earlier this year.
CORRECTION (10/24): This article has been updated to correct the number of co-conspirators who have pleaded guilty.