In a surprising turn of events, back-to-back plea deals from Michael Powell and Fiona Chesebro have emerged as a grave legal threat to former President Donald Trump. The domino effect of these two individuals cooperating with prosecutors could potentially unravel the web of secrecy surrounding Trump’s activities during his presidency.
Both Powell and Chesebro were close associates of Trump, with Powell serving as his former personal attorney and Chesebro working as a senior advisor within his inner circle. Their decision to enter plea deals and cooperate with authorities signals a significant shift in the legal landscape surrounding Trump’s alleged wrongdoings.
Powell, who has been under investigation for his involvement in a hush-money scandal during the 2016 presidential campaign, admitted to making illegal payments on behalf of Trump to a former Playboy model. By pleading guilty and cooperating fully with investigators, Powell not only faces a reduced sentence but also provides a treasure trove of valuable information that could implicate Trump in criminal activities.
Similarly, Chesebro’s decision to enter a plea deal sheds light on her potential knowledge of Trump’s actions while serving in his inner circle. As a senior advisor, she had access to sensitive information and may possess key insights that could prove detrimental to Trump’s legal defense. Her cooperation presents a significant risk to the former president, potentially unveiling details about his business dealings, campaign practices, and potential obstruction of justice.
The back-to-back plea deals from Powell and Chesebro serve as a reminder that no one is above the law. Trump’s presidency has been the subject of numerous investigations and legal challenges, and these recent developments underscore the seriousness of the allegations against him.
As the legal noose tightens around Trump, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to dismiss these charges as politically motivated. The cooperation of his former confidants raises the stakes, as investigators now have insider accounts that could turn the tide of the legal battle against him.
Ultimately, the back-to-back plea deals from Powell and Chesebro pose a grave legal threat to Donald Trump. These developments could potentially expose the former president to criminal charges, undermining his legacy and further tarnishing his already troubled reputation.
Two close allies of former President Donald Trump turned on him this week, a staggering turn of events that could now seriously threaten his ability to fend off criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election to make.
The rapid developments are a huge boost for prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, and for the separate but overlapping federal case against Trump brought by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith.
The pleas are a stark reflection of the reality that the Georgia case against Trump and his co-defendants continues to strengthen. While Trump has vowed to fight to the bitter end, these new plea deals force his co-defendants to face the same difficult choice: make a deal or roll the dice at trial.
For two prominent Trump co-defendants — Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro — the looming five-month trial, which could result in years in prison, appears to have pushed them to freak out.
Their decisions to transform from Trump diehards into key witnesses against him are likely to shatter any sense of invincibility that the former president or others indicted may have — perhaps for the first time.
Chesebro pleaded guilty Friday to a felony conspiracy charge, admitting that he worked with Trump and other members of the former president’s inner circle to overturn the 2020 election by using fake Republican electors in multiple states to bring up what Trump had lost.
Chesebro directly implicated Trump in a criminal conspiracy, and his plea establishes for the first time that the bogus electoral plot was illegal. Notably, Chesebro has now admitted that “the purpose” of the false voter conspiracy was to “disrupt and delay the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” which is a key element of the federal charges Trump faces.
As part of the plea deal, Chesebro determined that the bogus electoral plot was part of “an effort… to violate the United States Constitution and federal law” by undermining Electoral College procedures. This ties in with the allegations against Trump in Smith’s federal indictment.
On Thursday, Trump’s former campaign lawyer Powell pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a separate but complementary effort to disrupt the 2020 election by violating Georgia’s voting systems.
Although Powell’s guilty plea only covers charges related to election equipment breaches in Coffee County, Georgia, her deal with prosecutors opens the door to testimony about firsthand interactions with Trump and other key co-defendants.
For example, if Powell is held accountable in a future trial, he could face questions about White House meetings she attended where Trump considered taking extreme steps to overturn the 2020 results, such as ordering the Pentagon to seize voting machines.
Chesebro also agreed to fully cooperate with Fulton County investigators as part of his deal — including testifying against Trump and other defendants if they are called as witnesses.
Trump is the only person charged in the federal case so far, but both Chesebro and Powell are unindicted co-conspirators. Chesebro has now admitted that he conspired with Trump in the same fake voter conspiracy that is prominently featured in the federal case against Trump – which will go to trial in March.
Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead attorney in the Georgia election subversion case, responded Friday to Chesebro’s guilty plea by suggesting it was likely motivated by the “looming threat of prison time.”
He speculated in a statement that Chesebro’s guilty plea was “the result of pressure from Fani Willis and her team, and the prosecutor’s threatened prison sentence.”
Trump’s attorney also pointed out that prosecutors dismissed Chesebro’s separate racketeering charge, which underlies the indictment against all 19 co-defendants, including the former president. Prosecutors have dropped RICO charges against all three defendants who have already taken plea deals.
But just because a former Trump loyalist has decided to help prosecutors go after him, that doesn’t mean the former president is doomed.
In 2018, Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors and implicated Trump in an illegal campaign finance conspiracy — but the Justice Department never charged Trump with that alleged crime. But Cohen has cooperated with New York state investigators and will testify against Trump at Trump’s civil fraud trial there next week.
Sadow dismissed the threat of possible testimony from Chesebro and Powell at Trump’s eventual trial on Georgia’s election subversion charges.
“Once again, I fully expect that truthful testimony would be beneficial to my defense strategy,” Sadow said.
This story has been updated with additional information.