Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell pleads guilty in election case

The lawyer Sidney Powell, who was co-defendant in the election manipulation trial against former US President Donald Trump in the state of Georgia, has pleaded guilty. Powell, known for spreading election conspiracy theories, admitted to six counts of illegal interference in the electoral process during a live court hearing in the city of Atlanta on Thursday.

The 68-year-old former federal prosecutor received a six-year suspended prison sentence and had to pay a fine of 6,000 dollars (around 5,680 euros). She must also apologize in a letter to the people of the southern state of Georgia and testify in the trials against the other defendants.

The guilty plea, made as part of an agreement with prosecutors, came just a day before jury selection began in a trial against Powell and another co-defendant. There will now be no trial against Powell.

Trump was indicted on 13 counts in Atlanta in mid-August for his attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and thus stay in power. Along with Trump, 18 other suspects were charged.

The indictment is based, among other things, on a law designed to combat organized crime: the defendants formed a “conspiracy” “to unlawfully change the outcome of an election in Trump’s favor,” the indictment says.

At the end of September, Scott Hall, the first defendant in the case, pleaded guilty. Powell is now the second defendant to take this route to avoid trial.

The indictment accused her of inciting others to break into a Coffee County election office after Election Day in order to obtain data from voting machines manufactured by Dominion.

As a lawyer for Trump’s campaign team, Powell famously spread wild conspiracy theories about Dominion in a press conference after the November 2020 election. Trump’s then-private attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was later also indicted in Georgia, also took part in the press conference. Dominion is suing Powell and former New York Mayor Giuliani for damages.

Trump himself has already been indicted in four criminal cases this year. Two of these proceedings concern the 2020 presidential election. The 77-year-old right-wing populist wants to run for the White House again in 2024 and is currently the overwhelming favorite in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.