Top Trump coup lawyer Sidney Powell turns state’s witness on eve of Georgia trial

On Thursday, far-right lawyer and former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell pled guilty to six misdemeanor counts of election interference in the ongoing Georgia criminal case over ex-President Donald Trump’s multi-pronged plot to overturn the 2020 election. As part of her guilty plea, Powell has agreed to turn state’s witness and testify against her fellow accomplices, including Trump.

Powell’s agreement to testify against Trump presents major challenges for his legal team. There is no question the attorney is intimately familiar with every aspect of the failed coup.

Prior to helping Trump’s plots to overturn the 2020 election, Powell represented former Trump National Security Adviser and retired Army General Michael Flynn in his criminal prosecution for lying to the FBI. Flynn enjoys close connections not only with the Pentagon and the national security apparatus, but with far-right militia elements, such as the Proud Boys, that stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his former lawyer Sidney Powell. [AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta]

Flynn’s brother, Charles Flynn, is a high-ranking US Army general. Charles Flynn has been named by former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former D.C. National Guard Commander William Walker as one of the generals who blocked authorization to deploy D.C. National Guard troops to the Capitol as it was under siege for 199 minutes.

Alongside Trump and 17 others, Powell was facing seven felonies, including racketeering charges, for engaging in a criminal conspiracy to keep the aspiring dictator in power. She was set to go to trial on Monday, October 23, alongside fellow Trump coup lawyer Kenneth Chesebro.

Like virtually all ruling class criminals, Powell will be receiving less than a wrist-slap sentence. While workers, the poor, the homeless and mentally infirm are left to rot in jail for months or years, often before any guilt has been established, Powell will not spend a single day in jail.

In addition to agreeing to testify against Trump and others, Powell was fined $6,000 for pleading guilty to six misdemeanors, while all felony charges were dropped. She also agreed to pay $2,700 in restitution to the state of Georgia due to the damage operatives under her charge caused to Georgia voting machines. Powell received 12 months of probation for each misdemeanor count, totaling six years. She must also write and publish a letter to the citizens of Georgia apologizing for her actions.

Powell is the second of Trump’s 18 co-defendants to plead guilty prior to going to trial. Co-defendant Scott Hall, a bondsman, has also pleaded guilty and agreed to turn state’s witness.

As part of her plea agreement, Powell admitted to Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee that she interfered in the 2020 election in Georgia. This took the form of hiring a private corporation, SullivanStrickler, to break into illegally accessed voting machines in Coffee County. Agents from SullivanStrickler were able to break into the machines with the help of Republican Party officials, acting on the orders of Powell on behalf of Trump. Once they had access to the machines, the SullivanStrickler computer forensics team illegally copied voting data from the machines, which they hoped to use to bolster Trump’s claims of election interference.

While Powell has only pleaded guilty to state charges in Georgia, operatives under her direction made similar efforts to break into voting machines in Michigan and Nevada, two other closely contested states Trump lost in the 2020 election.

Prior to breaking into voting machines in Georgia, Powell, in an infamous November 19, 2020 press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, spread fascist lies that communists working at the direction of deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke into Dominion Systems voting machines and planted malicious software that “flipped votes” from Trump to Biden. Powell claimed that Trump “won by a landslide.”

“Globalists, dictators, corporations, you name it—everybody’s against us except President Trump,” Powell ranted in a fascist tirade.

Sidney Powell (right), next to former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, speaking at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington D.C. on Thursday, November 19, 2020. [AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin]

Following the press conference during which Powell proffered several other bizarre lies on right-wing and mainstream airwaves promising “evidence” that never materialized, Trump soured on Powell and had her removed from his public-facing legal team. However, Powell continued to work with Trump and his allies, including Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to overturn the election in the months that followed, including after the attack on Congress.

There is no question Powell is well-positioned to provide incriminating first-hand accounts of Trump’s coup plotting. In many cases, she was presenting Trump with a road map to dictatorship.

That Powell was given access to Trump to provide this road map was revealed in a series of text messages turned over to the now-discontinued January 6 House Select Committee by former Trump White House Chief of Staff and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows, who is also facing charges in Georgia.

While Meadows turned over nearly 30,000 text messages to the committee, nearly 30 of them show Meadows communicating with Ginni Thomas. In nearly all of the messages, Thomas is imploring Meadows to seek every avenue he can to prevent Biden from coming into office.

Immediately following Trump’s election defeat, Thomas sent Meadows several messages regarding Powell. On November 13, 2020, she texted Meadows, “Just forwarded to [your] gmail an email I sent Jared this am. Sidney Powell & improved coordination now will help the cavalry come and Fraud exposed and America saved.”

On November 19, 2020, the day of the press conference at the RNC headquarters, Thomas directed Trump’s chief of staff to make Powell the “lead and face” of the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

“Sounds like Sidney and her team are getting inundated with evidence of fraud. Make a plan. Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down,” Thomas texted Meadows on November 19.

On November 22, after it was announced by the Trump campaign that Powell would no longer be a part of the legal team, a dejected Thomas wrote to Meadows, “Trying to understand the Sidney Powell distancing.”

Republican operative and Trump co-conspirator, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, appears for a voluntary interview with the January 6 committee at the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. House Office Building, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington. [AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta]

While Trump publicly distanced himself from Powell, behind the scenes Powell and Mike Flynn continued to work with the Trump campaign to overturn the election. During a December 2020 meeting in the White House, Flynn and Powell argued that Trump had no recourse but to declare martial law and re-run the election at gunpoint.

Last January, an order waiting to be signed by Trump was revealed, demonstrating the extent of the dictatorial scheme. A key element of the plot to overturn the election rested on the intervention of the US Supreme Court. On January 5, 2021, Powell filed a request to Justice Samuel Alito seeking to halt the certification of the election, due to take place by a joint session of Congress on January 6. Alito sat on the order until January 7, after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called Congress back into session to certify the Electoral College vote for Biden, following the end of the siege of the Capitol by Trump-backed fascists.

As of this writing, Trump has yet to publicly comment on Powell turning state’s witness against him. There are many reasons Powell might have turned on her former boss, particularly the multi-decade prison sentence she would be facing if she were found guilty of felony charges. As part of her plea deal, Powell is restricted from talking to the press or interacting with her co-defendants.