FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 30, 2023
React to reporting or a commentary about Donald Trump and explain your view.
Look for a quote about him from someone in your area or state. Does it reflect your thinking?
Summarize another legal or political issue in the news.
Donald Trump's legal risks are greater now that a trio of his former attorneys admit guilt in a Georgia election misconduct case and agree to cooperate with state prosecutors. The latest plea is from Jenna Ellis, a senior legal advisor to Trump's 2020 reelection campaign. She wrote legal memos that prosecutors say told how to disrupt the counting of electoral votes and made false voting fraud statements to legislators in Georgia, Colorado and elsewhere. "I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse" Ellis tearfully told a judge last week. "I now take responsibility before this court and apologize to the people of Georgia."
She's among 19 people, including the Republican ex-president, accused of a "criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia's presidential election result" in 2020, aimed at letting Trump stay in the White House. Fellow lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro pleaded guilty a week earlier in the Atlanta court. In exchange for avoiding possible jail time, they and Ellis promise to testify against their ex-boss, the effort's alleged ringmaster. That adds pressure on Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, lawyers who worked closely with Trump after the election, to take plea deals. "Anytime that you’ve got co-conspirators pleading guilty, that’s pretty significant," says George Washington University law professor Randall Eliason.
And in a New York fraud trial of Trump, his older sons, two employees and Trump's real estate business, former lawyer Michael Cohen testified last week that he and the firm's past financial chief falsified financial statements for the ex-president. All this sets the stage for a criminal trial in Washington, D.C., that's scheduled to start next March. Federal grand jurors indicted Trump on charges of trying to subvert democracy. Mark Meadows, presidential chief of staff in the last administration, reportedly testified privately three times in that election interference case in exchange for immunity from prosecution by the Justice Department, ABC News said last week. Meadows is among the 19 defendants in Georgia, where he also may flip on Trump.
Defendant says: "I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges." – Jenna Ellis, lawyer who pled guilty last week
Ex-prosecutor says: "The plea deals are . . . terrible news for Trump." – John Fishwick, former U.S. attorney in Virginia
Columnist says: "A disturbing number of experienced attorneys, some of who once held prestigious posts in government and academia, were willing and eager to tell transparent lies and concoct laughable legal arguments to help a con man stay in the White House against the will of the American people." -- Jesse Wegman, New York Times editorial board member