The “Crazy” Kraken Conspirator

Sidney Powell is undoubtedly co-conspirator 3 in Trump’s January 6 indictment.

Co-Conspirator 3, an attorney whose unfounded claims of election fraud the Defendant privately acknowledged to others sounded “crazy.” Nonetheless, the Defendant embraced and publicly amplified Co-Conspirator 3’s disinformation.

But her role — as described — is actually very limited. Just one paragraph describes her actions:

20. On November 16, 2020, on the Defendant’s behalf, his executive assistant sent Co-Conspirator 3 and others a document containing bullet points critical of a certain voting machine company, writing, “See attached – Please include as is, or almost as is, in lawsuit.” Co-Conspirator 3 responded nine minutes later, writing, “IT MUST GO IN ALL SUITS IN GA AND PA IMMEDIATELY WITH A FRAUD CLAIM THAT REQUIRES THE ENTIRE ELECTION TO BE SET ASIDE in those states and machines impounded for non-partisan professional inspection.” On November 25, Co-Conspirator 3 filed a lawsuit against the Governor of Georgia falsely alleging “massive election fraud” accomplished through the voting machine company’s election software and hardware. Before the lawsuit was even filed, the Defendant retweeted a post promoting it. The Defendant did this despite the fact that when he had discussed Co-Conspirator 3’s far-fetched public claims regarding the voting machine company in private with advisors, the Defendant had conceded that they were unsupported and that Co-Conspirator 3 sounded “crazy.” Co-Conspirator 3’s Georgia lawsuit was dismissed on December 7.

Go back and look! Her most famous role — when she got cleared into the White House and told Trump he should make her Special Counsel and seize the voting machines — doesn’t appear at all. Indeed, my greatest disappointment with the indictment is that it doesn’t explain one of the enduring mysteries of January 6: what led Trump to adopt January 6 as his plan shortly after that meeting.

It describes Trump’s December 19 tweet — the tweet that triggered thousands of MAGAts to start planning a trip to DC — but not what led up to it.

Curse you, Jack Smith!!!

What a remarkable structure, then, for including Sidney Powell in this indictment.

From the description of Powell at the beginning, it makes it sound like she is in there as proof that Trump knew his claims were false: In November, he declared her crazy. But he nevertheless kept magnifying her craziness.

That would almost help prove that Trump knew she was a liar when he used her propaganda.

But paragraph 20 says something different: It says that on November 16, on a date she was still ostensibly on Rudy’s team, Trump fed her the Dominion voting machine false claims and told her — Trump told Powell, not vice versa — to include the Dominion claims.

The false claims about Dominion, according to this, came from Trump.

And then, after Rudy and Jenna Ellis publicly separated themselves from her, Powell submitted the first of a number of lawsuits that would rely on the Dominion claim.

And when called on her crazy, Sidney Powell claimed that, “no reasonable person would conclude that [her] statements were truly statements of fact.”

It’s not just Trump who thinks she’s crazy, she thinks she’s crazy.

But once she filed that lawsuit, on November 25, Trump boosted it.

That’s all pretty interesting timing given something else that was occurring at the very same time. At a time when they were both together in South Carolina plotting how to steal the election for Trump, Trump pardoned Mike Flynn.

The same crazy that went into Sidney Powell’s election disinformation went into her claims about Flynn. If Trump thought she was crazy, he should never have pardoned Flynn.

It gets still more interesting from there — including to where Powell funded at least some of the Oath Keepers’ defense — including, possibly, Kelly Meggs’ attorney, Stan Woodward.

You get the idea.

Even without her plan to seize the voting machines on December 18, even without Flynn’s call for martial law in the days leading up to it, the timeline laid out in the indictment — where Trump gave Powell the Dominion claims, then decided she was crazy, then pardoned her client based off her crazy claims — sure piles up some interesting implications in what are just two paragraphs of a 130-paragraph indictment.

129 replies
  1. Lili_02AUG2023_1602h says:

    One of the first things I looked for in the indictment was the mention of the Dec 18 meeting. I was surprised to see nothing. But do you think it was excluded because it’s just too crazy & would be a distraction for the jury? The facts, as laid out, are clear & damning and hopefully simple enough for a speedy conviction.

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      • RealAlexi says:

        You’ve got a point. It’s an awfully clannish group. But Imma stick with her smokin the rock and Klucking at the moon. ;-))

    • Amateur in all of this says:

      Would it be crazy to assume that Smith (we miss him in the Netherlands) is counting on Trump to throw the unindicted co-conspirators under the bus like they’ve never been thrown under the bus before?

  2. punaise says:

    Sing it, Patsy:

    Crazy, I’m crazy for lying so openly
    I’m crazy, crazy for not feeling much rue
    I knew you’d use me as long as you wanted
    And then someday you’d leave me for attorney new

    Worry, why do I let myself worry?
    Wondering what in the world did I do?
    Crazy for thinking that my scheme could hold you
    I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying

    I’m crazy and so are you

  3. M & M Enterprises says:

    It lines up with Byrne’s claim that she left the meeting with the understanding she was Special Counsel with a report due by New Year’s Day and that Rudy talked Dump out of it after she left the WH (knowing she wouldn’t be able to find anything) and into the J6 plan instead.

  4. Bugboy321 says:

    “If Trump thought she was crazy, he should never have pardoned Flynn.”
    You are assuming Trump thinks crazy is a bad thing. If he is sowing chaos, doesn’t it follow that crazy is preferable to not-crazy? It even follows that Powell herself might think “crazy” is just what the doctor ordered. “Releases the Kraken”, she says? What the hell does that even mean? It’s a lame line from a lame, yet entertaining, movie, and that’s all these schmoes are about: entertainment. “IT’S GOING TO BE WILD!!!!!!!”

  5. Capemaydave says:

    I’m no lawyer so I can only watch and learn.

    The whole game of pressuring the already indicted but not yet named is fascinating.

    So many “cards” were shown in the indictment.

    Sm nay remain to be revealed.

    • RobertS721 says:

      The only person who has been indicted on these charges (so far) is Trump.

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  6. BRUCE F COLE says:

    To ease your mind, Marcy: If they had included her as a source of the BLCT (big lie conspiracy theory) they would have had Sydney Kraken Powell in the courtroom (either as a hostile PW or a compliant DW) which automatically conjurs parody. That can’t happen with this particular case.

    It has to be cleanly about Trump. Powell didn’t cause trump to do what he did; he was scouring the vacuous MAGA landscape for a reason to fuck me and 85 million voters over and she was standing nearby making an utter, archetypical fool of herself.

    Besides, I prefer that she’s prosecuted only after she’s bled dry by the defamation suits she’s facing. Maybe she can represent herself! After Trump is out of the picture and she is standing in the dock somewhere, wearing second-hand leopard-print jump suits, I could actually let myself laugh at that!

  7. Hope Ratner says:

    I’m thinking that Powell, Bannon, both Millers, Flynn, and the remaining cast of characters will all have their very own indictments coming soon. I can’t believe that the Aug. 1 indictment, with the included co-conspirators ends Jack Smith’s pursuit of the January 6 conspiracy. I would even dare to hope that there’s some way to ensnare and charge Marge Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Scott Perry, Ron Johnson, Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Josh Harley, and the rest of the Congressional insurrectionists. A gal can dream…..

  8. jdmckay8 says:

    It’s not just Trump who thinks she’s crazy, she thinks she’s crazy.

    LOL. At the time, I took that as tacit admission she knew she was telling some real whoppers. As in, really really big’uns. The poor girl, it seems, lacked the wisdom of context: eg. if a lie passes muster on Fox, being emboldened to repeat it in court is not wise.

    I wonder if Smith will spotlight the over-the-top lieing amongst all these people (eg. Defendent 1 and the other 6) common to all these people. At this point it is a distinguishing MAGA characteristic. A pack of rabid liars.

  9. vigetnovus says:

    Which makes me think, as I have for some time now, Trump isn’t the ultimate target of the J6 probe.

    Flynn, Bannon, Stone, maybe Alex Jones are.

    And I wonder if Meggs was the conduit to the Oath Keepers, not Rhodes.

    • emptywheel says:

      Remember that Meggs was the conduit to Stone, and also to Jeremy Liggett, who had ties to the bus tour.

      • vigetnovus says:

        And Meggs is the one OK repped by Stan Woodward whose most important job seems to be to enforce the omerta… interesting.

    • vigetnovus says:

      This is very much an exaggeration, as I do not see a leftward leaning jurist ever imposing the death penalty here (nor any DC jury going along with it), but it does bring into play exactly what I cited above, “any number of years or for life.”

      I do believe Jack Smith specifically chose the civil rights statutes to be able to bypass statutory maximums, especially for younger co-conspirators who might otherwise be willing to cooperate. (cough cough Co-conspirator 6)

      • vigetnovus says:

        Oh, and I forgot about the 56 year old Co-conspirator 4! Who used to lead the Civil rights division, and now is charged with a civil rights violation…. what an ironic plot twist.

    • Marinela says:

      Personally, don’t want Trump to be given the death penalty. For the porcelain figure he is, many, many years in prison is way better than the death penalty.
      Best case scenario, Biden wins, Trump will be in prison for about 4 years more or less until the next election plants a republican in the white house and Trump gets pardoned, which is still justice.

      Even if the gets death penalty (which is not likely given the other comments), takes about 10 years to appeal it, so in 10 years a republican will probably get in the WH anyway.

      But will see how the system holds.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Exactly. Fire up the rubes: “If they can threaten and do this to lil’ ol’ me, imagine what they will do to you! Send me your rolls of nickels and quarters, and I will defend you to your last dime!”

  10. Leading Edge Boomer says:

    IMHO Special Counsel Smith is not finished with the Co-Con 6, nor with some others. There will be additional indictments, but including all those people in this one makes the package much more messy and difficult to pursue expeditiously.

  11. DaveVnAz says:

    Question: Can Trump be tried for conspiracy alone, without Smith indicting alleged co-conspirators or forcing their 5th amendment? Not with standing, Trump can always call them as witnesses.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes. Happens a lot. And they can be separately charged together or, more likely, with their cells. So for example, Sidney COULD be charged with Byrne and Flynn.

      • DaveVnAz says:

        Did my own research and found this article helpful on a “Klein conspiracy” which appears to be the story the DOJ is telling, to enable “prosecutors to develop and present the full panoply of evidence of an intended fraud. In other words, it provides a means for prosecutors to “tell the story” of criminal conduct in such a way that juries can decide the truth of the matter. It seems to also negate the need for direct testimony (or indictment) of co-conspirators. (pages 1-10)

  12. jdmckay8 says:

    OT: I think you (Marcy) may want to look at Riggleman interview on Morning Joe today. Riggleman says: “I have the forensics on the Hunter Biden data.” Forgive me if I am mistaken, but this is the first I’ve heard of that (although speculated something similar seemed possible here a couple weeks ago given he’s been working with Hunter’s team since November).

    Riggleman also makes the point that most of the people in Smith’s indictment yesterday were also key players in the Hunter Laptop saga. I appreciate MSM saying this explicitly, long overdue. Also think it likely they (Hunter’s “team”) know well what you illustrated, that Hunter’s Mac had multiple incidents of data manipulation after the Isaac dropoff. Good forensics + knowledge of tampering w/the MacBook likely starts painting a coherent picture.

    I can’t get direct link to the video. It’s listed in this morning’s program, labelled with a picture of Riggleman.

  13. klynn says:

    “…he fed her the Dominion voting machine false claims and told her — Trump told Powell, not vice versa — to include the Dominion claims.”

    IANAL. Any chance Dominion is able to do anything with this? Or is it best to sit back and watch what DOJ does?

  14. Pat Neomi says:

    Apologies if someone asked this above or in another post’s comments, but what is the likelihood that the disappointment Marcy notes above regarding the enduring mystery about Trump’s adoption of the J6 plan will be resolved in a superseding indictment (with Powell and/or others as (an) added defendant(s))?

    • bmaz says:

      Let’s hope not. Strings of rolling indictments is bullshit and not the type of fundamental fairness the law contemplates.

              • Rwood0808 says:


                When it comes to the idea of a plea deal I’m seeing a variety of opinions. For example, in a recent interview with Kenneth McCallion, the former Justice Department prosecutor who also worked for the New York State Attorney General’s office as a prosecutor on Trump racketeering cases, he thinks trump will work out a plea that keeps him out of jail.

                “Trump will take it down to the wire. Spiro Agnew did the same thing. The prosecutors were ready to start, they were picking a trial date, and then Agnew blinked. So that’ll be the moment when Trump either blinks or does not. I don’t think Trump can withstand a trial. Only when Trump’s first trial is imminent will Trump’s ego permit him to even consider entering a guilty plea in return for no jail time. My guess is that Trump will never be wearing an orange jump suit, to the great disappointment of many of us…. Trump will have to agree not to run for public office. He wouldn’t get jail time. There would be a period of time where Trump would be confined in a gilded cage such as Mar a Lago.”

                If he’s right and that is the end result I don’t see the public at large accepting it very well.

                  • Rwood0808 says:

                    I think it can go either way.

                    If there is a lawyer left standing next to him on that last day, one that’s telling him not to take a plea, that he can still win, and all he has to do is listen to him while he tells him what he wants to hear, he won’t do it.

                    I say that based only on his past behavior, record of dodging any real consequences for his actions, and mental issues. If he can he’ll see things as he wants to see them rather than as they actually are.

                    However, if he should see a way to escape any real consequences while still retaining his followers and grifting machine, he may do it.

                    I see a lot of people asking if trump would take a plea deal but no one asking if Smith would even offer one. With the mountain of evidence he has would he still entertain that option?

                    BTW, I hope you are right.

                  • keith hanson says:

                    Agnew was a lot smarter than drumpf, and knew he couldn’t win – so he pled out.
                    Drumpf is living in the bubble that he blew for himself and it’ll take a lot to burst it.

                • BirdGardener says:

                  Trump will have to agree not to run for public office.

                  I can hear the rabblerousing now: ’See, that’s what they were after all along, they were afraid of Trump! They weren’t interested in justice or the law, they would do anything to keep Trump out of office!’

                  Are clauses forbidding individuals from running for public office the norm for people who have been convicted of some form of voter fraud? I don’t know enough about law to phrase this correctly, and hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Trump should be treated like any other person facing similar charges. We cannot twist the law to take care of problems that belong in the political sphere.

                  If such a provision is normal, then fine. But if it is not, then it’s probably a bad idea.

    • emptywheel says:

      I don’t think they’ll supercede this to add other people. They likely will fill in the network around Trump w/other indictments.

      • Peterr says:

        And meanwhile. those very folks will be whining to their colleagues. “What!? I’m important, I’m a Big Deal in Trumpworld, and Smith didn’t see fit to include me alongside CC-1 through CC-6?”

        Cue the tiny violins.

        • Rwood0808 says:

          Kari Lake must be fuming!

          Trump hasn’t named her as his running mate yet, nor has she been indicted.

          I mean, how is she going to do any grifting if they don’t get her on TV dammit!

  15. Peterr says:

    “Curse you, Jack Smith!!!”

    I think this is being said in a lot of places, Marcy, though for very different reasons. CC-1 through CC-6 are probably wondering when their indictments will drop, and — more distressing — what they will look like. Given how focused and direct this indictment is, imagining how Smith will structure these later indictments will induce nightmares for all these folks.

    And then there are the other co-conspirators, whom Smith deemed not important enough to include here among the Big Six. Are they in the clear, or are they so apparently insignificant that they are beneath mention here? If the latter is true, how much whining and stamping their feet will that induce, and what will their indictments look like?

    Lots of cursing Jack Smith to go around.


    • Tech Support says:

      One of the things about the rhythm and flow of this indictment is how it feels something like a symphonic overture. Take section 10(b):

      “The Defendant and co-conspirators organized fraudulent slates of electors in seven targeted states … attempting to mimic the procedures that the legitimate electors were supposed to follow under the Constitution and other federal and state laws.”

      We know that the parties that engaged in the violation of these “other federal and state laws” include some of the Co-Conspirators identified in this document as well as other individuals not specified. At some point later in the “symphony” we might expect another indictment charging the relevant Co-Conspirators as well as other undefined parties, and directed towards those specific federal laws being alluded to in this passage.

    • RitaRita says:

      I have a feeling that many more will get their day in court – might be state court, though.

  16. Upisdown says:

    I’m surprised that Lin Wood missed the cut. Maybe Fani will correct that. Most of Wood’s greatest hits were in Georgia.

  17. Midtowngirl says:

    Possibly a very dumb question – Could evidence from indirectly related civil lawsuits (like Dominion’s) be used in this criminal trial, and could that possibly be one reason why Sydney is an unnamed co-conspirator?

  18. RitaRita says:

    Exploring the facts, the applicable law and possible defenses is important.

    But sometimes I get the feeling that the NYTimes and Washington Post spend a lot of time handwringing over possible defenses and not enough time thinking about the non-legal implications, which might be more significant. For example, what does it say about Trump’s mental and emotional competence that he believed he had won despite all of the evidence to the contrary?

  19. JanAnderson says:

    The indictment spends some time on Co-Conspirator 4. It’s interesting in itself wrt the story the indictment lays out. But not unnoticed with respect to the story is the irony of Republicans claiming the DOJ has been weaponized by Biden. Hmm, what were the Defendant and Co-Conspirator 4 attempting to do?

  20. Student Driver says:

    What Kraken’s curse/mythological punishment/faerie’s spell/answered prayer is poor Daniel Dale living under? Who or what can free him?

  21. Zinsky123 says:

    It seems obvious now that Ms. Powell has a tenuous grip on reality but I question how criminally culpable she should be for the events of January 6th. If an executive makes decisions based on the ravings of a lunatic, who should be responsible for the chaos that results? Is it the executive’s fault or the crazy person’s fault? I don’t see a direct line of causation between Powell’s ideas or statements and any crimes that were committed on 1/6/21, but I am not an attorney. I guess I see where she would be considered part of a conspiracy, but was she really helpful in the execution of that conspiracy?

    • RitaRita says:

      I believe that Dominion has filed a defamation suit against her.

      She played a major role in amplifying the “election is rigged” theme by filing lawsuits.

      PS An executive who makes decisions based on the ravings of a lunatic might just be a lunatic as well.

      • Rayne says:

        I’d just happened upon this bit in a 23-NOV-2020 WaPo piece by Aaron Blake a few minutes before I read your comment:

        Nov. 22: The Trump campaign suddenly announces Powell is not part of its legal team. The move comes eight days after it introduced her as part of the team and three days after she appeared at a news conference with Giuliani in which she alleged a communist plot to rig the election and suggested even Republicans had participated in the rigging of their own elections.

        Communists. Sure, right. LOL

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Marcy links to a Georgia press release from the Secretary of State’s office, re: “no reasonable person would have taken the statements as true.” But that is in the context of claims made by Dominion that Powell’s claims were crazy. So her response to that was, if I’m crazy like you say, why would any reasonable person believe me? Essentially, she’s just trying to undermine Dominion’s claims, that is, if they are right (she’s nuts), then they have no basis to claim she did anything wrong in making the claims, i.e., Dominion should have known better than to believe them. So she is absolutely not backing away from any of the claims she made. The implication is that she still believes them.

  22. RitaRita says:

    Ms. Powell may have been noted as crazy in the indictment but crazy could also describe Giuliani and Eastman with relation to the Fake Elector scheme. They went from a normal trajectory of filing lawsuits to free fall when they came up with the idea of using Fake Electors as pretext to throw a monkey wrench into normal certification process. And Jeffrey B. Clark had to be crazy to think his schemes would work.

  23. Konny_2022 says:

    I share the curiosity about Smith’s interpretation of the December 18, 2020, meeting in the WH where Powell (and who else?) were sneaked in. I’m still more curious about the connection between Navarro’s report that is praised by Trump before he calls for the “wild protest” in DC on January 6, 2021, in the very same tweet, in the early hours of December 19, 2020, as some sort of conclusion of the Dec. 18 meeting.

    Will it be saved for one of the upcoming (or additional?) Navarro trials? Or is there no connection?

    • RitaRita says:

      I would like to think that Special Counsel Smith has amassed a lot of evidence and has planned how to use it to best advantage.

      Navarro’s crazy comments on Ari Melber’s show may be used against him. On the other hand, maybe Byrne, Lindell, and Navarro are so bizarre that Smith will just think of them as the crazy uncles at Thanksgiving.

  24. Wheely Curious says:

    Nobody’s examined the “release the Kraken” statement.

    Did Sidney Powell fall asleep and miss the end of the movie? If I understand the story, the Kraken was defeated. So, is that a great rallying cry?

    This also begs the question of who Sidney Powell was rooting for. Didn’t the Bad Guy release the Kraken to fight the Hero?

    Does Sidney Powell not understand the basic Good Guy-Bad Guy narrative device of American film?

  25. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    The concept of a genuinely held belief comes up in a variety on contexts. To get a conviction of certain crimes, prosecutors must prove that the defendant knew what the law was and intentionally chose to violate the law. This is the general rule for tax crimes.

    Thus for example, if a defendant is charged with tax evasion based on a failure to report $1 million of income, the defendant can avoid being convicted if the jury determines that the defendant had a genuine but erroneous belief that he or she was not required to report the the $1 million of income. It is difficult (probably impossible) to get a jury to make that determination unless the defendant takes the stand.

    Not all criminal statutes require proof the the defendant knew what the law was and intentionally chose to violate the law to get a conviction. There is a Supreme Court case called Ratzlaf where the court reversed a conviction based on the failure of the prosecutor to prove that the defendant knew that they were violating the law. Later, Congress changed the law to eliminate that requirement.

  26. Zinsky123 says:

    Thanks for all the great back-and-forth on this thread, everyone! I still think there are some important uncharged crimes related to J6 lurking out there. The most compelling are unraveling the goings-on at the Willard Hotel in DC on the dates, January 4th-6th, 2021! Steve Bannon and Roger Stone were at this planning nerve center for multiple days in advance and on the day of the attacks and are uncharged in Trump’s indictment as co-conspirators. I hope we learn more about their roles in this insurrection and they are appropriately punished!

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