Trump attorney Sidney Powell pleads guilty ahead of Georgia election interference trial

Sidney Powell, the former attorney for Donald Trump accused of trying to illegally overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, has pleaded guilty to reduced charges a day before her trial was set to begin.

Powell, 68, was indicted in Fulton County in August along with Trump and 17 others, accused of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to illegally try to keep Trump, the Republican incumbent, in the White House even though he had lost the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. 

The attorney was accused of participating in a breach of election equipment in rural Coffee County. She’s alleged to have hired and paid $26,220 to an Atlanta computer forensics firm SullivanStrickler that copied data and software from the Dominion election equipment without authorization. The indictment says a person who is not named sent an email to a top SullivanStrickler executive and instructed him to send all data copied from the Coffee County equipment to an unidentified lawyer associated with Powell and the Trump campaign.

She had been facing seventh counts of racketeering, computer theft, computer fraud and conspiracy to defraud the state.

As part off her plea deal, Powell accepted to serve six years on probation, pay $6,000 in restitution, and to pay a $6,000 fine with $2,700 going to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office. 

The attorney agreed to testify truthfully against the co-defendants and to avoid any contact with the 17 others who remain as part of the indictment. She will also provide all documents requested to the Fulton County District Attorney. She will also need to write an apology to Georgia an its residents.

The acceptance of a plea deal is a remarkable about-face for a lawyer who, perhaps more than anyone else, strenuously pushed baseless conspiracy theories about a stolen election in the face of extensive evidence to the contrary. If prosecutors compel her to testify, she could provide insight on a news conference she participated in on behalf of Trump and his campaign shortly after the election and on a White House meeting she attended in mid-December of that year during which strategies and theories to influence the outcome of the election were discussed.

A November 19, 2020 photo shows Sidney Powell speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC. - US President Donald Trumps personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis reportedl

Powell was scheduled to go on trial on Monday with lawyer Kenneth Chesebro after each filed a demand for a speedy trial. Jury selection was set to start Friday. The development means that Chesebro will go on trial by himself, though prosecutors said earlier that they also planned to look into the possibility of offering him a plea deal.

Powell is now the second defendant to take a plea deal after bail bondsman Scott Graham Hall, who pled guilty to five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties, all misdemeanors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.