The last figure that changed in the electoral case had direct ties to Trump and Giuliani | ET REALITY

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A few days before Congress certified the 2020 election, attorney Jenna Ellis sent President Donald J. Trump a memo suggesting a way to stay in power by changing the normal course of American democracy.

In the memo, Ellis, who had little experience in constitutional law, offered Trump advice he was also receiving from much more experienced lawyers outside the government: put pressure on his vice president, Mike Pence, who would oversee the certification ceremony at the Capitol. on January 6, 2021, to not open any Electoral College votes in six key states that Trump had lost.

While Pence ultimately rejected Trump’s pleas, Georgia state prosecutors later accused Ellis of helping develop a strategy to “disrupt and delay” the election certification and of working closely with pro-Trump lawyers such as Rudolph W. Giuliani as part of an extensive extortion case.

On Tuesday, Ellis pleaded guilty to some of those charges in a court proceeding in Georgia, in which he tearfully agreed to work with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office as it continues to prosecute Trump, Giuliani and more than one dozen more people.

During her plea hearing, Ellis told the judge that she had relied on lawyers “with many more years of experience” than her, a potentially ominous sign for Giuliani in particular.

A spokesperson for Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

With her guilty plea, Ms. Ellis became the fourth defendant (and third attorney) in the case to reach a cooperative agreement with Fani T. Willis, the Fulton County district attorney. What began with a trickle last week, when two other pro-Trump lawyers, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, pleaded guilty and agreed to turn over evidence to the state, began to look a lot like a flood when Ellis appeared in court.

While a person familiar with Ellis’ thinking described her as extremely angry with Giuliani, her cooperation could also be dangerous for Trump. Ellis was on board Trump’s team until the end of her term, and since then he has refused to help her with her legal bills. And unlike several people around the former president, she had a direct relationship with Trump and was in contact with him at various times while he was in the White House.

Indeed, if Ellis, Powell and Chesebro end up taking the stand, they could paint a detailed collective portrait of Trump’s activities in the post-election period. His accounts could include the thinking behind frivolous lawsuits filed in his name challenging the election results and the role Trump played in a scheme to create false slates of electors claiming he had won states in the states. that he didn’t do it.

They could point to a brazen plot, rejected by Trump, to use the military to seize the country’s voting machines. And they could detail his efforts to pressure Pence to unilaterally call him into the Jan. 6 election, an effort that prosecutors say helped excite the mob that stormed the Capitol.

Steven H. Sadow, the lead attorney representing Trump in the Georgia case, said the series of depositions shows that “this so-called RICO case is nothing more than a bargaining chip” for the district attorney prosecuting the case. , Fani T. .Willis. He added that Ms. Ellis had pleaded guilty to a charge that was not part of the original indictment and that she “doesn’t even mention President Trump.”

Ellis, a former prosecutor in a largely rural county north of Denver, initially caught Trump’s attention by appearing on Fox News, where he defended some of his policy positions, including his immigration policy. Trump formally hired her as a campaign adviser in November 2019.

The following year, she was among those Trump spoke to often as Black Lives Matter protests broke out across the country, including in Washington. The local protests, some of which took place near the White House, infuriated Trump and he sought people to validate his desire to use federal government force to stop them.

After Trump lost the election, Ellis quickly joined a self-described “elite strike force,” a group of lawyers that included Powell and Giuliani, and began pushing the false narrative that the presidential race had been rigged.

In mid-November 2020, he appeared at a press conference in Washington where, as dark liquid dripped down Giuliani’s face, Powell laid out an outrageous conspiracy theory that a voting machine company called Dominion had used his election software. to change thousands of votes. of votes away from Trump over his opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

While Powell and other lawyers began filing a flurry of lawsuits challenging the election results, Ellis embarked on a roadshow of sorts, accompanying Giuliani to key swing states for informal hearings with state lawmakers where they presented claims that Trump had stolen victory.

For about a week in November and early December 2020, Ellis sat next to Giuliani at meetings in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Georgia. Her presence at these events, prosecutors say, was often accompanied by direct calls to state officials to decertify the election results or join the so-called fake voter scheme.

Even after Trump left office in 2021, he urged Ellis to keep alive the idea that he could return to the presidency.

From Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida, he encouraged several people – including conservative writers – to promote the idea that efforts to reverse the results had not come to an end and that there was still a possibility that he could be returned to the White House.

When Ellis posted on

Trump, according to two people with direct knowledge of the discussion, admitted it was “almost impossible” but said he wanted to keep the idea in circulation. It was an early sign of tension with the former president.

Ellis has already said that he knowingly misrepresented facts in several of his public claims that election fraud had led to Trump’s defeat. Those admissions came as part of a disciplinary proceeding conducted this spring by Colorado state bar officials.

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