ATLANTA - She was one of former President Donald Trump’s staunchest allies in alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. But Sidney Powell on Thursday pleaded guilty to reduced charges in efforts to reverse the former president’s loss.
The former Trump attorney pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor charges of attempting to interfere with the election. Powell, just days before her trial was set to begin, admitted to playing a role in an unauthorized breach of Dominion Voting machines in Coffee County. Powell’s plea requires her to truthfully testify against her codefendants, including Trump.
Tom Church, a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta, says Powell’s guilty plea could weaken the former president’s defense.
"I think the implications are huge," Church said. "To have an about-face where now she’s going to testify as to her wrongdoing to use it against her codefendants is about as big an about-face as you can get. One of his top advisors, one of his top lawyers in the effort to overturn the election results saying ‘yes I knew what I was doing was illegal and so did Mr. Trump,’ she’s going to be a big-time witness for the state if Mr. Trump goes to trial."
Darryl Cohen, a former Fulton County prosecutor, said it isn’t clear how much damage Powell’s plea could do to a potential Trump trial.
"We don’t know what it is the D.A.’s office wants from her. We know she is committed now, based on the plea agreement, to testify against the other defendants, or she may not even be called to testify," Cohen said.
Powell is the second codefendant in the sprawling RICO case to make a deal with Fulton County prosecutors. Scott Hall, a bond-company owner, was the first. But his potential cooperation pales in comparison to what Powell could bring to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis or even Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal case against the former president.
"Not only could they charge her in federal court and use this as evidence against her on those federal charges. Now they could use her as a co-conspirator against Mr. Trump even if she’s not charged in federal court," Church said.
Powell’s deal includes six years of probation, a $6,000 and an apology letter to the State of Georgia and its residents.