Sidney Powell's Plea May Be 'Very Bad News' for Trump

Former Trump attorney may be called to testify against the former president
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2023 2:02 PM CDT
Sidney Powell's Plea May Be 'Very Bad News' for Trump
Attorney Sidney Powell in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Tuesday's guilty plea in Georgia by former Donald Trump attorney Sidney Powell is being called a big win for prosecutors and a big loss for the former president, per the New York Times. "I think it's very bad news for Trump," says Georgia State University law professor Clark D. Cunningham, noting she was "right in the middle" of the alleged racketeering conspiracy to overturn the state's election results.

  • The breach: Powell pleaded guilty to "six misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties." The charges stem in large part from a breach of elections software after the 2020 election in rural Coffee County that prosecutors say was orchestrated by Trump's legal team, per the Washington Post. The newspaper previously detailed these allegations and Powell's role in them.

  • Penalties: Powell will avoid prison and instead receive six years of probation and pay a $6,000 fine, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She also owes Coffee County $2,700 to replace equipment and has written a letter of apology to residents of Georgia that has yet to be made public. What's more, she must testify against the others in the case if called to do so, including Trump, part of why Reuters sees the plea as a "significant victory" for Fulton Country District Attorney Fani T. Willis. A big unknown is whether she will implicate Trump himself in the Coffee County breach or perhaps Rudy Giuliani.
  • Still a lawyer: The guilty plea may revive efforts to strip Powell of her law license, though the Post notes her attorney successfully pushed to word the plea to say her crimes did not involve "moral turpitude." She is licensed to practice in Texas, and that tweak could help her keep the license under guidelines set by the State Bar of Texas, per the Journal-Constitution. However, the matter of her license remains under review in the state.
  • A joke: Despite the seriousness of the day in court, the AP notes there was a moment of levity. "How old are you, ma'am?" asked prosecutor Daysha Young of Powell. "Oh gosh," Powell responded. "Sixty-eight, despite my astonishingly youthful countenance."
(More Sidney Powell stories.)

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