Release the Kraken: Sidney Powell Pleading Guilty

Sidney Powell is pleading guilty to six counts of conspiring to interfere with election administration in Fulton County. These will be misdemeanors treated under the First Offender Act. She will be sentenced to six years of probation.

She is required to testify against any and all co-defendants in the case.

287 replies
      • Unabogie says:

        It’s justice for the American people and a path to testimony against the coup-plotters. Great job by DA Willis! I love her more and more every day.

      • SilverWolf501 says:

        No, it’s not a game show, at all. These court proceedings are real and have serious consequences.
        Eighteen more defendants have to stand before the bench. Better?

        • bmaz says:

          No, that is not better, it is just bullshit. For the record, I understand criminal court proceedings just fine. And certainly without your assistance.

        • Anvil Leucippus says:

          Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader’s Civics Class?

          Legal Jeopardy!

          Let’s Make A Plea Deal

          Face The Music

      • ColoRodney says:

        No, it’s not a game show. But it is a process where the side of justice gets a major win every time people move from the “needing to stand trial in front of a judge and jury” column to the “pled guilty and now serving as a witness against those standing trial” column. Fani Willis’ job just got another notch easier. May it continue thus.

      • BriceFNC says:

        The people who think it is important for our nation to recognize that those who constantly scream election fraud are indeed the perpetrators of a giant fraud—believe a guilty plea by a key participant is not “bullshit!”

      • Super Dave says:

        I read this site for good information that I don’t see anywhere else. I don’t typically react to other’s opinions here, just take them for what they’re worth. I have often learned things from your comments that I wouldn’t otherwise know. I just don’t understand why you have to act like a jerk so frequently.

        • Dopey-o9 says:

          BMAZ has that Big Saguaro Energy, so be careful.

          I on the other hand, have skinny octillo vibes. Let the chickens in, keep the coyotes out (hopefully).

      • dadidoc1 says:

        In a plea deal like this, is the testimony that she will provide locked down such that there’s no room to kracken?

      • Fenix says:

        I’m confused as to why you are so sensitive about a natural reaction to a perceived (however small in reality) victory. While I am aware my comment opens me up to criticism, I am genuinely curious.

    • STEPHEN DUNCAN says:

      I watched the plea. She’s required to provide testimony and documents in future trials. If the State compels either testimony or documents does she have the legal right to contest the relevancy of what is asked for? Or no matter what documents are demanded she either produces them or is in violation of the plea agreement? Can she litigate any State demands, despite the demands being within the apparent confines of the plea?

      • says:

        Generally, negotiations about such matters are usually worked out as part of the plea deal.

        But for unforeseen matters, “state compels” is your key here, so the state pretty much runs the show. But with a cooperative relationship between her defense counsel and prosecutors prior to trial, lawyers can usually work out these disputes informally. If prosecutors thought she were resisting or withholding documents, the plea deal would be void.

        During trial, Powell’s a state witness, so a prosecutor would run over questions in advance. The only valid “objection” Powell could raise is on matters where she has no first hand knowledge, or that was exempted in advance and specified in writing in the plea deal (rare). On any other material matter, her refusal to testify or untruthful, or less than candid, testimony would breach her plea deal, voiding it.

        Powell can’t withhold testimony on 5th-Amendment-right-against-self-incrimination grounds. She waived that with her plea.

        None of her “disputes” would be litigate-able, except in jurisdictions where defendants may have some recourse (e.g., evidentiary hearing) if the state violated its part of the plea deal. Her avenue of “litigating” her objections is to withdraw her plea, and stand for trial. Objections to questions, were she to take the stand in her defense, would be raised by her defense attorney during cross examination, but they have to be based on violations of rules that govern criminal court proceedings. “I don’t want to answer” doesn’t cut it. You take the stand, you answer.

        I hope I answered all your excellent questions!

    • timbozone says:

      Cheesebro is charged differently, plus Powell got the RICO charge dropped too. Things are looking slightly better for Cheesebro as a result.

      • Qu0th says:

        RICO dropped against Sydney because she cooperated, not others.

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        • timbozone says:

          Yes. But it points to the prosecutors having less faith in the RICO charge itself. It appears to be a coin they’re willing to drop in exchange for cooperation… just knowing that new fact might help Cheesebro navigate through this better. However, Cheesebro’s powers of navigation don’t appear to be all that good; we may eventually find out how much it takes to be convicted or found innocent in a trial on the Georgia RICO charge unless Cheesebro decides to cop a plea. I don’t think he will go for a plea (at least not in the Georgia case) but you never know… can’t be pardoned by a US President if convicted in state court.

    • timbozone says:

      Response? I’m guessing he’s gonna be rather quiet on this one. Powell is a potential witness against him and there’s also the problem of her sentencing in state court not being something he could legally do much to interfere with once she starts serving that sentence. Trump is in a tough place on this one.

    • JJ_19OCT2023_1026h says:


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    • Savage Librarian says:

      “In Nazareth, Taking a Load Off ‘The Weight’ “ – Los Angeles Times, 11/27/05, Kurt Blumenau
      “Robertson would later say the song was about “the impossibility of sainthood,” or the difficulty of living up to the world’s demands. A cinema buff, Robertson would cite the work of Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel for part of the song’s inspiration.”

      “Catch a cannonball now,
      t’take me down the line.”

      “Not surprisingly, the pop charts of the day had little room for an enigmatic small-town tale inspired by an art-house filmmaker. “The Weight” didn’t make the Billboard Top 40 when released as a single in September 1968.”

      “But The Band’s similarly homespun debut album, “Music From Big Pink,” attracted musicians who began to cover “The Weight.” Aretha Franklin’s version cracked the Top 20 the following year. Gospel group the Staple Singers and R&B saxophonist King Curtis also cut versions.”

  1. scroogemcduck says:

    And thus the dam begins to break.
    The water begins to trickle.
    The trickle will thicken into a flood.
    Now Trump is in a pickle.

  2. klynn says:

    Any chance she’ll try to take the blame and infer Trump only did what he did because of her advice and pressure?

    Not that it will lessen the impact of his actions he is being charged.

    Just trying to figure out her strategy for her guilty plea.

    • LizzyMom says:

      I think her strategy comes from a shortage of funds. Because she‘s still on the hook for Dominion and SmartMatic, isn‘t she? Quite clear the ex-prez isn‘t going to push any money her way, and Mr Pillow and Rudy cannot pay their own lawyers, so she‘s smart enough to take the pragmatic route.

      Need to add that my cup of Schadenfreude runneth over today.

      • Rayne says:

        I don’t think the Smartmatic case has wrapped up yet; isn’t it still in discovery? There’s been so little news about it lately. I wonder if Powell has inside info about that case in particular which led her to plead.

        • emptywheel says:

          Neither has. Dominion has been quite active of late.

          People forget the Federal investigation into her has been overt for over 2 years, and Flynn and Byrne sold her out early. Trump’s people have also explicitly been trying to scapegoat her since the spring. Unlike them, she’s not getting any money.

          And the charges against her in GA were more serious than a lot of the other ones, genuine hacking charges.

          • vigetnovus says:

            Did not know Flynn ratted her out. Do you think he will avoid any Federal jeopardy now? That really would irk me, since I feel like he was one of the architects of the foreign election disinformation/propaganda machine.

            • harpie says:

              FLYNN also said TRUMP would be within his rights to order the military to seize voting machines and rerun elections in swing states.

              • FL Resister says:

                I wonder what Sidney Powell has to say about Michael Flynn.

                While her character may be impugned by all of the lies she’s being held accountable for now, this time there will likely be evidence to back her claims up.

      • klynn says:

        Not sure I agree that shortage of funds is the push. Her evangelical ties are so deep, someone has probably promised to cover her bills.

        • BobBobCon says:

          It may be that she doesn’t trust the promises anymore. That world is full of Jim Jordan types who are just bad at cutting deals and following through. She may well have a very different perspective now from when she was the one making promises.

    • SteveBev says:

      It was a condition of her plea that she provided to the prosecution a recorded proffer of testimony, which she did last night.

      So I very much doubt that the testimony she has promised to provide at trial vs any co-defendant, and in particular Trump will be exculpatory (except perhaps in some minor nuance of detail within the much greater mass of information she is able to provide inculpating her codefendants).

      • timbozone says:

        This. However, there’s still the problem of whether or not this plea deal is actually acceptable by Georgia court, etc.

          • timbozone says:

            “You just never know” is what I think one of us here is always saying when it comes to the oddities of protecting the rights of defendants from prosecutorial overreach. In this instance, it might be argued *ahem* that the RICO charge was an inappropriate prosecutorial overreach in the first place *ahem* and therefore the plea deal shouldn’t have happened as it did. Of course, I wouldn’t argue that but other might…

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Good odds that if a member of Willis’s team negotiated it, it has a pretty good chance of being approved by Judge McAfee. Wouldn’t spend a lot of time there.

          • timbozone says:

            I’m not spending much time worrying about it. I’m just saying that if one believes honestly in the rights of defendants against prosecutorial overreach AND one is also not convinced that the RICO charge is a valid exercise under Georgia state law then it’s possible to come to the conclusion that pleas that bargain away said RICO charge are also highly suspect.

            • SteveBev says:

              I am not defending the use of RICO charges in this case or any other.

              I am puzzled by observation you’ve made several times to the effect that cooperation deals accepting pleas to non-RICO charges somehow indicates a lack of confidence in the RICO, and helps other co-defendants.

              But the pleas accepted establish the existence of the Coffee County conspiracy, do they not?

              And not withstanding that they have avoided RICO convictions •for themselves• the pleas and/or testimony of Hall and Powell may be used to convict their co-conspirators on RICO, can they not?

              So unless the premises of those questions are fundamentally flawed, it is difficult to see how the acceptance of the cooperation agreements undermines the RICO case against the alleged co-conspirators.

              • timbozone says:

                Why are >you< spending a lot of time and energy worrying about me and what I think about this case, spending time insinuating things about my position, etc? I am not a lawyer. Are you a lawyer? Many of your questions would be best directed at a lawyer, especially the nuances of when something becomes strong evidence for conviction on a RICO charge.

                As for my position on RICO, I am wary of their misapplication by over-zealous or inappropriate politically motivated prosecutions. I think states have a right to enforce their election laws. And I believe local jurisdictions at the county and municipal level also have a right and duty to enforce such laws as well. While RICO laws are somewhat of a romantic notion amongst some prosecutors and many in the general public, etc, such laws are a blunt instrument when it comes to respect for individual rights and potential disproportionate individual legal consequence for the bad acts of others. As such, their application should be approached warily. Do I grudgingly appreciate who those laws are some time applied. Yes, I do. Sometimes.

                Again, I'm not expert. And I do know that some experts aren't happy with the way Georgia's Fulton County DA has handled this investigation and the charging of RICO for these defendants.

                • SteveBev says:

                  There is nothing untoward about attempting to think through the position a poster has adopted over a number of posts.

                  That is part of the point about becoming familiar with other members of the community.

                  I am sorry you appear to regard my comments/questions as hostile, that wasn’t my intent, which was instead an attempt to tease out the basis for the position you repeatedly put forward.

                  Given that the preponderant concern on this website is to understand and critically appraise the intersections of law and politics, why should you be surprised that someone attempts to engage with assertions you have made concerning the impact of eg the Powell deal on the continued viability of the RICO charge?

                  BTW I am a lawyer, but not an American one, though 40 years ago before passing the bar I worked for several years a US law firm dealing with serious felony cases.

                  I have very close family who reside in the US, though I do not. So I have an abiding interest in US current affairs.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      Which part – her guilty plea? The idea of her being a credible witness? The plea deal? The DA’s case?

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes, we understand you think that hacking charges should never be charged at the state level, except the 99% of the rest of the time when you get furious when Feds bigfoot on things like state hacking charges.

      • Deadhead says:

        I do not see a single federal charge in the indictment. So Federal Election Law does not seem to be at issue. Is this correct?

    • Rwood0808 says:

      How is this still a joke to you?

      You mean that the team Willis/Floyd strategy is actually working and the first of what are soon to be many flips has occurred? That joke?

      Unless he has the brains of an ice cube the Cheese will do the same before tomorrow. After that it’ll be a race for who can flip next and get the best deal they can.

      The Georgia case may succeed before Smith even gets started.

      • bmaz says:

        Because the entire endeavor is shit. By the way, Pima county in AZ has more residents (and a hell of a lot more land) than does Fulton County. Do you think Pima County ought be curating federal election law?

        I do not.

        This garbage is the epitome of Truymp Derangement Syndrome. If you cheer this, you are a fool.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          As of the 2020 Census, Fulton County, GA has 23277 more residents than Pima County, AZ.

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        • ScorpioJones, III says:

          1.065 million (2021) Fulton County
          1.052 million (2021) Pima County

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              • bmaz says:

                Well, except Fulton County is prosecuting over solely the national Presidential election, NOT any state or local election. By the way, Willis is a local DA, not even that of the state, like an AG. I know several local prosecutors here, should they also be able to control national cases? How far you want to go Arianity?

                • Sloth Sloman says:

                  Come on, you’re smart enough to know the local jurisdictions run the elections even when electing federal office. You’ve already had your “fact” shot down, maybe slow down a bit and save some face once in a while instead of continuing to be a parody of yourself.

                • Scott_in_MI says:

                  The “national presidential election” is the one that happens when the electors cast their ballots. That’s the only presidential election for which there are applicable provisions in federal law; the National Archives has a very helpful page which lays them out ( As far as I can tell, federal law has no more specific interest in an individual state’s process for choosing electors than it does in my local city council elections.

                • Chris Bellomy says:

                  The only national presidential election is the one where the electors meet. The popular vote is staged in 50 state and one district election.

                • jdmckay8 says:

                  I know several local prosecutors here, should they also be able to control national cases?

                  Finally, I get it. You’re trying to say Foni thinks outside the box! /g

                • Arianity says:

                  I mean, there’s nothing stopping states from having laws on how federal elections are run, especially given that the Constitution explicitly gives them the power to set up their elections. We delegate federal elections (both electoral college, and Congress) to the states.

                  If it were something else, I could see an argument for it being meddling in something that was solely federal business, but federal elections are pretty uniquely delegated to the states. It’s kind of dumb that we delegated it that way, but we’re kinda stuck with it. It’d be pretty big change if federal elections were only governed by federal laws.

                  Speaking more generally though for a national case, if something breaks local laws and federal laws, local prosecutors should be able to prosecute the local laws. Isn’t that just standard Dual Sovereign doctrine? I don’t see any reason not to prosecute both unless there’s Supremacy Clause issues or something similar where local/state/federal law conflict and federal law needs to preempt, and in this case there isn’t. It’s not like they’re filing using federal crimes, they’re using state laws that apply to federal elections.

                • globalguy says:

                  “Well, except Fulton County is prosecuting over solely the national Presidential election.”

                  Of course when I vote, the official handing me my federal elections ballot is from the county not the federal gov’t, pard.

                  Funny that …

                  • bmaz says:

                    No, that is not funny; simply instructive. Fulton is but one of 159 counties in GA. Is there anything but the PRESIDENTIAL election for Biden at issue? No? Any county election? No? Any local election? No? Dd the state AG file anything? No? Did the state AG delegate anything to Willis? No? Just Biden? Okay then.

                    Why exactly should one little county speak for the entire nation as to Presidential elections and the corresponding criminal law? Just because you voted there? Really? That is the most silly argument ever. I voted here, in a far bigger forum and would not dream of saying anything here should be so treated as Fulton County is doing. It is absurd.

                    • Susan D Einbinder says:

                      Interesting question – why? Was she the only one who thought to do it? It does like voting – federal, state, local – takes place locally, so the locality would have jurisdiction regardless, be it federal, state, or local.

                    • Deadhead says:

                      DA Willis is charging exclusively under Georgia laws. Would you prefer her to violate her oath to uphold them?
                      Your argument is without basis in law. If you disagree with those laws, then your bitch is with the state legislature, not the DA.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Hey, thanks, I would have never known Georgia statutes were involved in a local Georgia state case! And, yes, I think she should not have charged most of them. Obviously you don’t really understand criminal law, but prosecutors have a little thing called discretion. There is no “oath” to charge anything and everything theoretically possible as you laughably state. My “bitch” is fine. Thanks for playing though!

          • ScorpioJones, III says:

            FYI, my father, who was Junior died, thus I am no longer Scorpio Jones III. But since accuracy seems to have gone aglimmering here I can understand your problem with the user name.

            [Moderator’s note: You claim to understand the problem and yet you ignored the rules. The rules are intended to ensure the security and privacy of commenters and the site; the site is not LinkedIn nor Facebook/Meta where commenters’ personal histories are recorded and reported. The rules are simple: choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters, use the same username and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Additionally, don’t make more work for the volunteer moderators who are obligated to validate every change in commenter identity in order to assure security and privacy. The comment system and commenters recognize you as “ScorpioJones, III.” /~Rayne]

            • Xantcha says:

              What part of your father dying makes you no longer III? I was under the impression that was, ya know, a lifelong thing, not something you change when your ancestors die.

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                • Rayne says:

                  We refer to a particular British monarch as Charles III as one example. Donnie Jr. will always be Junior even after his father eventually passes.

                  Whatever the case, the site’s rules aren’t about naming etiquette or legal names — the rules are about security and privacy as well as moderation resources. Pick a name, stick with it. We don’t even ask to validate identity, we just ask for consistency.

        • CaptainCondorcet says:

          I’m not going to ask about your opinion on GA RICO. Your post a bit back makes that clear. But honest question: is there really no charge from that list for any of the defendants you would have considered bringing forward if you were a DA? Because you use similar language commenting on HB articles. Do you believe every charge here is equally absurd as that?

        • dopefish says:

          I’m not sure its Democrats who actually suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome? As a non-American it seems pretty obvious to me that its the Republicans who have become deranged. Wanting to see them held accountable isn’t a bad thing. Why should rich white assholes like Trump get a pass when they allegedly commit crimes against Georgia or any other state?

          Yes, yes, you hate their RICO law. Their legislature is free to change it if they don’t like how prosecutors use it.

          • ButteredToast says:

            As an American, I agree with you that if there is any derangement about Trump, it comes from the Republican base. Their attachment to him long ago crossed into cult territory. And cult devotion in general, I can somewhat comprehend, even though it’s unhealthy. But devotion to Donald Trump, of all people? Mystifying.

        • Deadhead says:

          Looks like DA Willis is conducting this case masterfully. Do you think she’ll run for guv or the Senate next?

            • vinniegambone says:

              Not only am i not a lawyer, but im on stupid side to boot.
              Mr Bmaz , do you the indictments are garbage because convictions will be appealed and overturned and therefore a colossal waste of time and energy ?
              Hearing your point about state charging on crimes on a federal election. Will convictions be appealed in federal court ?
              Is your gripe that it should not be tried in a state court but only in federal which is already happening and is therefore duplicative , a cousin of double jeopardy ? Not clear why it is garbage , unless you believe it will go on forever , and will eventually be overturned? If that’s what you think will happen then I’m inclined to agree with you.
              Didn’t Trump and Meadows try and fail to have it moved to Federal court ?

              Im ok with the bad press this generates for Trump World, but the press is not the courts. I get that.
              Please elaborate why it is garbage. If it’s your opinion the guilty parties will eventually evade consequences the you are. right.

        • wetzel_rhymes_with says:

          The State Executive of each state signs the Certificate of Ascertainment to appoint the electors. The processes of the Fulton County Board of Elections and Brad Raffensberger’s Office are defined through local administration under State Law. A conspiracy is alleged which sought to undermine the lawful conduct of those process, going so far as to involve implied and direct threats against Georgia and Fulton County officers. For my part, I went into the election as a Georgia voter, not a United States voter, and for my part, I am glad state and local government have their own sovereignty and prerogatives extending to prosecute attacks on its own voters and the electoral officers carrying out functions defined in Georgia law.

          • wetzel_rhymes_with says:

            Kind of funny that if you misread “prosecute attacks on its own voters” like my bad writing invites you can make it I am saying an effective counter-argument in bmaz’ favor.

        • RandomTurkey24 says:

          Whenever I hear Trump Derangement Syndrome, I cringe. When Trump and his cult ignore reality and facts and scream TDS to those who want truth and justice to matter, who are the deranged ones? I love most of what I see on this site, except for BMAZ’s rants.

          [Moderator’s note:. Please use the same username and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “RandomTurkey24” is your second username; you’ve commented 2x previously as “RandomTurkey.” Pick a name and stick with it or risk being permanently auto-moderated.

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            • hollywood says:

              In terms of your cares, do you think Dean Chemerinsky is correct in declaring Judge Chutkan’s gag order unconstitutional? Has the Dean gone full Hugo Black?

              • bmaz says:

                No. Erwin is one of the smartest people I know, but Chutkan’s order seems narrowly enough tailored to pass muster.

                • hollywood says:

                  Thanks. I was starting to question my limited knowledge of con law. OTOH, the Dean used to be buds with Steve Yagman in the old days.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          No doubt the citizens of Georgia have the right to defend and protect their State’s portion of the electoral administrative process. Over-zealotry is understandable, if not wise.

        • Gimcrackers says:

          A judge decided that there’s enough evidence to suggest that a group of American citizens attempted to divert the outcome of Fulton County’s election process. It could been Jeff Bezos’ pickleball league or a cluster of 19 year olds pulling fire alarms at polling places, but it wasn’t.

          I could ask what you deem the threshold population needs to be before a community can enforce laws to protect their election process, except no one gives a shit.

          If additional crimes are attempted in 2024 while he holds the office of Mar-a-Lago Executive Special Poolside DJ, Fulton County will again have the right to pursue.

          And I cheer this.

      • timbozone says:

        Cheesebro has a lot less to worry about in that he’s only charged with RICO (charged drop for Powell in today’s plea deal) and isn’t really indicted on any other charge that Powell plead to today.

        • vigetnovus says:

          Okay, but do Georgia cooperation deals work differently than the Feds? Cause when you make a deal with the feds, you’re bound to come clean about *any* criminal activity you know about, whether or not you were actually charged with those crimes. It’s possible Powell knows something about what Cheseboro did in the RICO conspiracy and can testify to that. Not sure if she does or not, but it’s certainly possible.

    • Unabogie says:

      I’d love to nail you down on exactly what your objections are here, so allow me to pose a few questions. Feel free to answer as broadly or as succinctly as you like.

      1. Is it your contention that Sidney Powell broke absolutely no laws?
      2. If she did break any laws, did she break any state laws in Georgia? If so, which ones?
      3. If she did not break any laws in Georgia, did she break any federal laws? If so, which ones?

      Thank you.

      • bmaz says:

        No. I have answered all this previously. As to why Marcy and I differ, sometimes people do. It is none of your concern.

    • Waffleses says:

      RICO in Georgia
      and dunking on Cannon,
      unthought-out hot takes
      and overreaction,
      calling Trump dumb names
      and doorbells called Ring,
      these are bmaz’s least favorite things!

      (Sorry, please don’t ban me! I didn’t want to, but the cactus was just too prickly, I HAD to poke it!)

      • pasha says:

        I must confess intense anticipation regarding the unwrapping of the “brown paper packages tied up in strings,” of which Sydney’s testimony consists. She was in the room, and has flipped, and I suspect damning evidence may well emerge. I could be deluded, but don’t feel deranged. Yet.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. THIRD REQUEST: Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  3. Surfer2099 says:

    Question to the lawyers in the room; Are these misdemeanors enough to get her permanently disbarred?


    • emptywheel says:

      No. Because if she succeeds, it’ll be stripped from her record (but not until 6 years from now). And she and Scott Hall both asked that these not count as crimes of moral turpitude (I imagine he wants to get his bail bondsman business back).

      • theartistvvv says:

        FWIW, in my state (IL) they would probably receive UFO suspensions.

        “UFO” defined: “A suspension until further order of the Court is an indefinite suspension which requires the suspended lawyer to petition for reinstatement after the fixed period of suspension ends.”

        My understanding is reinstatement is rarely granted, and even more rarely granted on the first application (I only know two atty’s who got it, although one guy did get two reinstatements in a period of some 20 years re chasing), and not until things like restitution and perhaps classes are ordered to be taken – reinstatement can take another year or two, here. Further, the reinstatement typically has a period of time the attorney must practice under the supervision of another attorney; I’ve seen 3 years practice supervision for issues re financial improprieties.

        I was surprised to read Powell is now 69 years old – not to be ageist but she may not have a lot of time to practice after a six year suspension + time to reinstatement.

    • Harry Eagar says:

      I would suppose that the problem of finding clients would make holding a license more or less irrelevant.

      I recall an Iowa episode when a brain surgeon kept operating on the wrong side of the head. Lost his license so he was hired as an instructor.

  4. Rugger_9 says:

    Whether or not it’s a joke, Sidney the Kraken will need to talk. If she doesn’t do so truthfully then she’ll get hit with charges for lying to investigators, and likely jail time if convicted. She knows a lot regarding a lot of people, and Defendant-1 may come to regret being a tightwad of covering his minions’ lawyer fees. SC Smith will enjoy chatting with her around the DC case in preparation to adding her to the witness list. Let’s remember that while Sidney claimed to be Defendant-1’s lawyer (with A-C protection as a starting point), Defendant-1’s campaign issued a formal memo stating that she wasn’t and never had been his lawyer. Then there is the crime-fraud exception Smith can easily prove to finish the privilege off.

    IIRC, Sidney Powell is on the hook for liability but I do not think the Smartmatic / Dominion cases are fully resolved through trial and appeal. Since she’s gotten probation I don’t know if she can be considered ‘indigent’ like a prisoner can, and I’m sure S/D’s lawyers would do an OEX anyway. Therefore I don’t think a plea deal helps her in that direction.

    • RitaRita says:

      Earlier today, I read somewhere (sorry, can’t find the source) that Ms. Powell was making it clear that she was not acting as an attorney for Trump. In light of the plea deal, perhaps this was to eliminate the possibility of one of the other co-defendants claiming attorney-client privilege over her communications?

      I can imagine that various defendants may try to use the attorney-client shield to prevent damaging testimony from Ms. Powell.

      Prior to her involvement with Trump, she had been highly regarded in right wing circles.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        IIRC, Sidney was the one who (along with Rudy) went 1-61 or so in the election challenges, and so would be an attorney for the campaign if I’m right.

        If so, can Defendant-1 claim her under A-C privilege to avoid unpleasant revelations? I wouldn’t think so.

        • RitaRita says:

          Yes. It was in the digital edition of The NY Times posted this morning at 8:27 am. It has since been updated. Apparently the plea deal wasn’t leaked to the The NY Times.

  5. Fiendish Thingy says:

    The question now is, just how valuable is the testimony of someone whose grip on reality appears to be tenuous.?

    “Yes, I conspired with Donald Trump to interfere with the Fulton county election because Jewish space lasers changed votes to Biden”

    I think Chesebro would be a much better witness…

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      That goes without sayin’. If Chesebro were to flip, that would be slightly more than a tactical nuke in the Trump camp. He was the originator of the independent legislature hocus pocus formula.

      Given the distance that guy has tumbled, and given his legal background prior to finding Jesus in non fungible tokens or whatever, he certainly knows how deep the shit level is, and how sketchy is the prospect, daily deminishing, of Trump becoming Pardoner in Chief again.

      If and when he flips, I will not be surprised.

  6. Ebenezer Scrooge says:

    Does Powell have any valuable information for this case or the DC case? I know that she wouldn’t be a particularly credible witness, but maybe she has something useful to add?

  7. harpie says:

    RE: CHESEBRO, yesterday evening at 5:53 PM ET, Anna Bower reported:
    Oct 18, 2023 · 9:53 PM UTC

    More on the Fulton County docket: Judge McAfee DENIES Ken Chesebro’s request to exclude certain evidence at trial.

    Chesebro argued that some memos and emails he wrote were attorney-client privileged. But McAfee concludes that the documents fall within the crime-fraud exception. [THREAD][link][screenshots] […]

    • scroogemcduck says:

      There is no way he wants to go to trial and no way Willis wants to try him alone. I would be shocked if he doesn’t get a plea deal as well.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Depends on the facts and legal judgments she thinks she can get on the public record through a conviction of Chesebro.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Not so sure about Willis, she will want to make an example to ‘encourage the others’ to fold. The fact that crime-fraud exception is now in play by the ruling means that all of the other ones (looking at you, Mark) will have to think really hard at the defenses that will work. They will probably conclude that given how Inmate P01135089 won’t help with their legal bills it’s time to cut a deal. I for one was surprised Sidney did given her rhetoric to this point.

      • Ebenezer Scrooge says:

        Chesebro has serious exposure under federal law: more so than Powell. Would he want to cop a plea under state law when Jack Smith can throw the book at him in DC? I think he would need a federal grant of use immunity, at very least.

  8. hstancat says:

    Does anyone know yet whether her obligation to testify extends to testimony in the federal prosecution? If so, does that obligation require her to sit for interview, waive Fifth Amendment, etc. versus just taking the stand cold when she is called? Asking because I haven’t seen any news to suggest the Feds would have participated or coordinated with any proffer discussions.

      • ColdFusion says:

        To a layman, it doesn’t sound farfetched to tie the cases together as part of the deal. She is free to not accept it. “We’ll give you probation and let you keep your law license if you testify against these people trying to overthrow the election results in this case and the one Mr. Smith is working” There is overlap in defendants.

        This may never happen, but to those of us outside the court system it can seem reasonable.

        • bmaz says:

          I am not a “layman”. And, without appearance and signoff by DOJ, nothing technically binds anything in this regard. Please do not fuel vapors that are not known.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Some of it depends upon the allocution to come, but there is also nothing that would stop SC Smith from inquiring what she knew about that infamous Oval Office meeting tied to J6.

          • John Paul Jones says:

            When she testifies, would SC Smith be able to use that testimony to get her in as a witness in the DC case? Once it’s public record, would she be able to refuse to testify?

          • timbozone says:

            She could just assert her 5th Amendment right agains self-incrimination of course. Maybe she already has in grand jury testimony?

        • theartistvvv says:

          Pretty sure she is not “keeping her law license”, at best just keeping a shot at someday getting it back.

      • Susan D Einbinder says:

        Wouldn’t the feds be able to read her testimony and see the documents she submitted and then require her to testify? Or is it all kept confidential? Will the public get to see it? I’m sorry if these seem like stupid questions – I’m not a lawyer, just curious.

    • SonofaWW2Marine says:

      We’ll have to see what the plea documents say, and hear from a Georgia lawyer about any aspects that mean particular things in local practice. Fulton County could make its deal conditional on cooperating with the feds, or testifying truthfully in all civil and criminal cases that flow from the election, etc. But we won’t really know until the documents are released.

    • Lika2know says:

      Whatever she testifies to in Fulton County court would be public and therefore SC could use it for a subpoena?

        • Gil Bagnell says:

          Testimony is generally not admissible unless subject to cross examination, so transcripts of her testimony could not usually be used in another case. On the other hand, if she is called to testify she would need to either testify in the same way or be subject to perjury charges, and the transcripts could be used to impeach any later testimony.

    • emptywheel says:

      That’s not the question. The question is if she’s confessing under oath to things that are also overt acts in a federal crime, she has any incentive not to also get a cooperation plea in the federal case.

      • hstancat says:

        Ahhh. I get it now. Great insight as always Dr. W. So regardless of what becomes publicly known or when, we can assume that any rational pleader would have already at least explored the possibility of a corresponding deal with DOJ, proffer and all.

      • vigetnovus says:

        Ahhh.. yes. And I believe you wrote a post as to how little Kraken there was in the Trump indictment and why that was so curious. Meaning, Jack Smith probably did not show all of his cards regarding her culpability in a conspiracy to defraud the US, or a conspiracy against rights.

        So I would infer from that that she would have had to have proffered something to Smith before she made this deal , and either has use immunity, or perhaps a full blown cooperation deal with Smith. Or it’s possible her allocution will be narrow enough as to avoid anything that might be an overt act in one of Jack Smith’s conspiracies. Though not sure how that could be…

        • emptywheel says:

          I suppose I will have to write it up. Her role, as overt, in the federal indictment is largely to prove that Trump was taking assistance from people he was explicitly disavowing.

  9. ToldainDarkwater says:

    The way I see it, it would have been better, yes, had the Attorney General of Georgia had brought the suit defending the electoral process of the State of Georgia. However, said AG is a Republican who doesn’t seem to have shown any interest in doing so.

    So here we are. The choice is to have a county prosecutor bring the charges, or not defend your electoral process, and try to live with the prospect that it might happen again because nobody even tried to stop it or say it was wrong.

      • Scott_in_MI says:

        Last I checked, states have election laws too. Are they not supposed to vigorously enforce those laws?

          • Scott_in_MI says:

            I don’t understand your distinction. The election of a state’s electors to the Electoral College *is* a state election, isn’t it?

            • bmaz says:

              I do not understand your distinction. How low of a pissant local prosecutor ought be able to enforce this nationally? You good with any podunk local jackass being able to have that jurisdiction then?

              • Scott_in_MI says:

                The alleged crimes are related to interference in the election administered in and by the state of Georgia. I don’t see the jurisdiction problem there.

              • timbozone says:

                Red herring. They already have that power…as it is their responsibility to oversee local election law cases. If a there a conspiracy by individuals to steal or alter voting information and data in a local jurisdiction, that local jurisdiction should and, by the current legal precedents, rulings, etc, up and down the line, to enforce laws that violate the voting rights of people within the local juridiction.

              • Unabogie says:

                So let’s say a person walks up to a Fulton County polling center and runs off will all the ballots in an attempt to stop the voting. Have they committed a crime?

                Would that be a crime only in federal courts, or would that be chargeable in Fulton County?

            • emptywheel says:

              Yes, it is, as both a state and federal judge have found already in this case.

              A basic principle of federalism.

      • bbuckrah says:

        All of them, when it comes to federal elections conducted by local elections officials. Reference HAVA and Moore v. Harper.

      • SEASanders says:

        I’m not sure what you mean by “curating federal law.” I understood that Powell and Hall were pleading guilty to state law violations, even though their efforts at were part of a larger federal process. Are you saying enforcement of state law should yield to potential federal enforcement if there is an analogous federal system?

        I was a state DOJ lawyer for 30 years, and virtually every case I handled had significant effects on related federal rights. All of my most significant cases required the long term cooperation, coordination, (and often litigation) with our federal, other state and tribal stakeholders. I’m hoping that isn’t what you meant by “curating federal law.”

        To me, having both state and federal prosecutions active around Trump’s activities is the feature, not the bug.

        • timbozone says:

          Certainly, Federalism exists substantially >because< of the deference to local law organs except in cases where that is deemed to possible. The Constitution specifically leaves conduct of local elections up to the States.

      • ToldainDarkwater says:

        Describing me as thinking Fani Willis “ought to be curating federal law” is a pretty serious mischaracterization of what I said. The person that :”ought” to be prosecuting this is the GA AG. Who isn’t, because politics.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh, no, it was not a mischaracterization at all. And, no, most all of the indictment should be prosecuted by the special counsel, not necessarily the GA AG. Speaking of which, I don’t recall a formal designation from said AG to Fulton County, do you? I didn’t think so.

    • emptywheel says:

      It would have helped. His greatest exposure was on Coffee, and Coffee was the most serious stand-alone crime, hacking.

      He has information about all the sub-conspiracies, and she has information about several of the other sub-conspiracies, so they’re both very valuable cooperating witnesses.

      • Unabogie says:

        Can you explain why you and bmaz seem so incongruous on this? It seems like the Coffee Caper™ was an egregious crime. And since that happened in Fulton County (correct if I am wrong there) it falls smack dab into Fani Willis’ purview.

        I would be shocked if she did NOT charge this. So why the disconnect?

        • timbozone says:

          The consulting firm used by Powell and some of the other defendants took the data to Fulton County. The trick is to read the charging indictments for a better understanding of how Willis is claiming Fulton County jurisdiction.

        • emptywheel says:

          bmaz is applying AZ law to GA and on top of that, ignoring the kinds of venue arguments he insists are always available (that is, ignoring how Coffee County relates to a slew of activities that happened in Fulton).

          He’s not going to revisit the conclusions he made before any facts were out.

          • bmaz says:

            Lol, nothing has anything to do with AZ law as opposed to GA law. I guess this troll is well fed though.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      He’s “temporarily” pausing his campaign, like how Trump “temporarily” paused his lawsuit against Michael Cohen.

      • CaptainCondorcet says:

        And he’s unpaused it now… His early afternoon meeting with the hardliners torpedoed the McHenry route, and his later afternoon meeting with the moderates torpedoed his immediate floor vote route. The beat goes on…

    • P J Evans says:

      They are, for whatever reason, insisting that he be called the “speaker designee”. AFAICT, he was nominated and hasn’t had the votes to get elected, so he isn’t anything but the nominee.

      • Ithaqua0 says:

        If they go the “expanding McHenry’s powers” route, Jordan may be the de facto Speaker, though, plus he’s a lot more immune to being removed from power than McCarthy was.

  10. jecojeco says:

    Team Krazy is Kracken. After all her sqwaking about vote rigging she’s the one who gets caught. I think she got a pretty good deal but I don’t know if she can keep her mouth shut for 6 years. Like Rudy, her involvement with trump is going to leave her totally ruined. These people were ruthless trying to destroy our democracy, hard to muster sympathy for them.

    • timbozone says:

      More like voting machine tampering in violation of state laws. Read the Powell’s Fulton County charging indictments for the legally correct terminology and crimes she’s pled guilty to.

  11. nothin from nothin says:

    How is Sydney “Kraken” Powell’s testimony against anyone anything but worthless? And the racketeering charge against her was dropped. Anyone tell me, how is this not a lose-lose for American democracy?

      • bmaz says:

        Powell has no protection from anything further on the federal front. All she did was get out from the bogus and overinflated Fulton County case. We shall see as to any bigger implications.

    • timbozone says:

      FYI, this is about the state of Georgia in the United States, not the one south of Russia. Powell pleading guilty to these six charges today will almost certainly deter others who should know better than to steal voting equipment they have less than zero right to…if the plea agreement is sustainable. We’ll find out if it is or not of course. Right now, it appears to be good for American pluralistic democracy—tomorrow is another day though.

      Do you have another odd questions or is that it?

  12. gruntfuttock says:

    I made a stupid joke here some time back about the Kraken being ‘a pussy’. Only in these insane times would that turn out to be (in Trumpian terms, you understand) true.

    I often wish the world would go back to being a vaguely sensible place ;-)

  13. RitaRita says:

    Does Powell’s plea make it easier for the Georgia judge to find that the other attorneys charged can’t hide behind attorney-client privilege because of the crime/fraud exception?

    • Rugger_9 says:

      I think that would be the case, when combined with Chesebro’s ruling. The plea deal establishes the fact of the crime being committed.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      This is for the DC appellate level, so perhaps the lawyers could explain why a separate appellate bar license would be needed.

      • SonofaWW2Marine says:

        Each federal court of appeals has its own bar, just as each federal judicial district has its own bar. Lawyers have to get admitted before each one if they’re going to appear there.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Unprofessional and arrogant of John Lauro not to acknowledge to himself that he’s not a member of the local federal appellate bar, notwithstanding his supposed decades of practice in DC, and become a member before filing an appeal with that circuit, an appeal they knew was coming the minute the case was filed. It’s as if they use the stupidity and embarrassment as a MAGA marketing tool.

            • Rugger_9 says:

              I have to wonder if this is intentional. I also look at the SDFL case where the lawyers chosen by the defendant slow-walking getting their clearances to permit review of documents. This has caused delays in getting the CIPA work done in SDFL.

              Lauro’s ‘oversight’ would possibly mean that the DC Circuit CA would have to delay the appeal of the gag order, in an attempt to delay the trial start.

    • SonofaWW2Marine says:

      He’s got a DC bar number, so it must be that he’s not admitted to practice in the Court of Appeals. No problem for Judge Chutkan, then.

  14. Cosmo Lecat says:

    This is a major win. Powell crumbled shortly after an adverse ruling. Chesebro just had a major adverse ruling against him regarding attorney-client privilege. Chesebro has major incentive to avoid a trial, as Joyce Vance said, because he is facing potential jail time, loss of his license to practice law and the immense cost of months of trial, plus appeals. Chesebro was certainly hoping to exclude material that will be used to convict him, and now that the privilege has been lost, he will likely seek a deal. He may be evil, but he’s not an idiot.

    The prosecutors have major incentive to strike a deal with Chesebro, thereby ending the trial that would tie up their resources and reveal much of their strategy. Every settlement reduces the number of defendants to a less unwieldly number and provides more testimony & documents that can be used to convict the remainder.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes yes, a GIANT win for a local prosecutor bent on playing on a national stage. This type of cheering is ridiculous.

      • bbuckrah says:

        Or, perhaps, consider well before attempting to use a national platform to bully the rest of us out of our civil rights, while breaking scores of state and federal laws.

        • anaphoristand says:

          What, is raining stochastic threats down on the civil servants and democratic volunteers of YOUR county (from a conveniently removed federal perch) NOT affirmatively countenanced by your local district attorney’s office?

  15. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    Off topic:

    The 9th Circuit yesterday reversed in part the dismissal of a shareholder lawsuit against Facebook under the securities laws (PSLRA) based on Facebook’s shenanigans with Cambridge Analytica. Now, that lawsuit will proceed.

    My favorite quote from the opinion:

    The Third Amended Complaint clocked in at 285 pages.
    Although impressive in terms of magnitude, we nonetheless
    examine the allegations individually and holistically, not by
    weight or volume

  16. zubair says:

    A former lawyer for Donald Trump on Thursday pleaded guilty to aiding the former U.S. president’s efforts to overturn his election defeat in the state of Georgia, agreeing to testify against him if called

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  17. Operandi says:

    This seems like a pretty sweet deal for her given how central she was to wrangling the Coffee County voting systems breach. I wonder if some of this is her speedy trial gambit paying off. Was she always going to get a good deal for going early and because she was in a lot of important rooms and can fill in a lot of gaps? Or did it help that the DA would rather not rush to trial right now and have to show all its cards? (Though, they still have to go forward with the trial against Chesebro. unless they have a plan to cut him loose if he doesn’t blink first and plea out too).

  18. Margo Schulter says:

    As a layperson, and I speak only for myself in that description, I found the tempering of justice with mercy for Powell a good example of restorative justice with accountability.

    Am I a raging federalist to understand that the electoral college involves state as well as federal jurisdiction and interest? For Fani Willis to enforce state law seems in this specific case to have brought about a modicum of justice, although I share due process concerns about overbroad applications of state RICO statutes. The Georgia Supreme Court could and should use its supervisorial powers and its power and responsibility to construe Georgia statutes to limit the net of RICO liability.

    Actually I consider it routine for state courts to “curate federal law,” the problems arising mainly when this curating is held to woefully low standards, as in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996. If a state court makes a not unreasonable error of federal constitutional law which leads it to uphold an unconstitutional death sentence, I would reverse with greatest respect to the state jurists who may have had the difficult task of interpreting federal law in a Byzantine area, But to permit an unconstitutional execution is to take deference and comity too far, forgetting the maxim in favorem vitae (to lean “in favor of life”).

    But what I saw in the January 6 hearings in Congress, and on the part of Fani Willis and Jack Smith among others, is the seeking of justice.

  19. Savage Librarian says:

    The Fulton County special grand jury recommended even more charges than what were eventually issued. Lin Wood was listed as #10 in that report, but he was not indicted. It’s not clear to me whether or not he is on the Unindicted Co-Conspirators list, though.

    Wood also has banned Mike Flynn from his property. (Remember that Thanksgiving in 2020.) I don’t know how Wood feels about Powell or if he had anything to say about her. And if he did, it may or may not have been relevant to events in GA.

    It has also been speculated that #28 on the Unindicted Co-Conspirators list for the Georgia Indictment is Jim Penrose, a former National Security official who went to work for Sidney Powell. So, he may have shared some things.

  20. Bob Roundhead says:

    The number of African Americans charged with voter fraud and the sentences they receive in Georgia in the last 20 years is astonishing. Those who were exonerated had to spend large amounts of money they did not have. None of them breached voting machine systems or tried overturn the results. None purged voter rolls or tried to intimidate those working registration drives or poll workers. Sydney better be worth it.

  21. BRUCE F COLE says:

    The ire at Gaetz inside the deplorable basket is at a fever pitch right now — must be hot in there.

    The Dems should announce a willingness to help their conservative colleagues expell him…except there’s a good chance his dad would run to fill the seat if they succeeded, and probably win. Still, it would be an intereting excercize and deminish their majority for several months if successful, just as a Dem and a Dem sympathiser are about to fill the 2 vacancies (RI on the 8th and UT on the 22nd).

    And it’s well past time for Schumer to organize Menendez’ expulsion. He’s been given many multiple pleadings to step down and Schumer just described him as not making the Senate grade, ethically. He’s an albatross and needs to be cut loose, not to mention he won’t be doing his job while he’s dealing with his pre-trial and trial. Time to show the GOP how the Dems deal with corruption.

    • P J Evans says:

      I was annoyed when neither CA senator said anything about Menendez. I’m not surprised about what’s-her-name, as she’s new, but Padilla has been there for most of three years and should have a clue.

  22. Old Rapier says:

    Sidney’s Herculean efforts of self humiliation have been something to behold. Only Rudy is on the same level. Schmucks like Lindell, bless his heart, really believe but these Sidney and Rudy sorts are literally clowns, performers.

    Wiki on clowns: The comedy that clowns perform is usually in the role of a fool whose everyday actions and tasks become extraordinary—and for whom the ridiculous, for a short while, becomes ordinary. This style of comedy has a long history in many countries and cultures across the world. Some writers have argued that due to the widespread use of such comedy and its long history it is a need that is part of the human condition.[12]

    I’m not too sure about the human condition thing applying here. It’s just a seedy business.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Among the refutations of Trump’s arguments that a former president is immune from all criminal prosecution at any time, the SC raises the issue of abuse of the pardon power. It takes the position that while the pardon power is vast, it, like constitutionally protected speech, can be used for an illegal purpose, which would subject that abuse to potential prosecution.

      • Davidstarr says:

        Which subsequent prosecution might be of the pardoner, for offering a thing of value (bribe), and also of the pardonee, for accepting same?

      • Davidstarr says:

        I perked right up, too, reading that section.

        So that subsequent prosecution might be of the pardoner, for offering a thing of value (bribe), and also of the pardonee, for accepting same?

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