Sidney Powell pushes claims that 2020 election was rigged and prosecutors ‘extorted’ her after she pleaded guilty to election interference

  • Sidney Powell pleaded guilty to election interference in Georgia’s criminal case last week.
  • She’s still pushing claims that the 2020 election was rigged and prosecutors target conservatives.
  • Her organization’s newsletter promoted an article saying the DA “extorted a guilty plea from Powell.”

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Sidney Powell may have pleaded guilty to interfering in the 2020 US presidential election, but she still seems to think President Joe Biden’s victory was illegitimate.

On her social-media accounts, Powell has continued to push claims that the 2020 election was rigged and that prosecutors in Georgia who brought the criminal case against her were politically motivated. The newsletter published by her dark-money group has shared articles arguing the Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, “extorted” her guilty plea.

Powell is a codefendant in Willis’ sprawling RICO lawsuit against Donald Trump and more than a dozen of his allies who sought to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. She initially represented Trump, alongside Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis (who pleaded guilty on Monday), as part of Trump’s “Elite Strike Force” team of lawyers challenging his election loss.

The charges against Powell specifically accused her of racketeering, tampering with election equipment, stealing voter data, and lying to public officials about it. The indictment says Powell and Trump met at the White House in December 2020 and discussed strategies for overturning the election. Powell also filed her own conspiratorial and typo-filled lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results — all of which failed —in four swing states.

In her hearing Thursday, Powell pleaded guilty to six charges related to her scheme to tamper with election equipment and steal voter data in Coffee County.

None of those developments — nor the ongoing defamation lawsuits from the election-technology companies Dominion and Smartmatic — appear to have changed her tune.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, she has shared posts purporting that the 2020 election was rigged and that law enforcement was politically biased against conservatives.

Over the weekend, Powell shared a post complaining that Trump “can’t even have attorney client privilege.” She also shared a post that said a new survey found many Democrats believed “cheating affected the outcome of the 2020 election.”

On Monday, she asked her followers to watch “Police State,” a new movie from the conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza, which argues that law enforcement is biased against Trump, who faces four pending criminal cases.

“Go see this movie!! It is so important and terrifying because it is true,” Powell wrote, tagging right-wing media figures including @catturd2, Dan Bongino, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

(D’Souza himself had previously pleaded guilty to making an illegal campaign contribution and was pardoned by Trump.)

Powell also reposted a video from Tom Fitton, who runs the right-wing watchdog organization Judicial Watch and is said to have advised Trump on his legal issues. In the video, Fitton said Trump was under attack “for daring to dispute the Biden election,” which he lost.

Powell’s pinned post on her X profile is an image resembling a graph that suggests Georgia counted an unusual number of ballots voting for Democrats at the last minute. Biden won the state by more than 11,000 votes, a result confirmed by both an audit and a recount of the state’s ballots.

Powell has also been promoting posts about the testimony of a witness in a separate, ongoing California disbarment trial for John Eastman, a codefendant in the Atlanta criminal case and former Trump Justice Department official who sought to overturn the election results.

One post she promoted on the subject claimed there was “lots of evidence of election fraud being presented” in the trial. Another claimed there was “too much evidence of the rigging.”

Powell’s newsletter promoted a claim that Willis ‘extorted’ her guilty plea

The Substack newsletter for Defending the Republic, Powell’s dark-money group that she used to fund her lawsuits, has made even more inflammatory claims.

The newsletters — which Powell has promoted through her accounts on Truth Social and Telegram — are unsigned, and there’s no indication she writes them. No one responded to an inquiry sent to an email address associated with the newsletter.

Since her guilty plea, the newsletters have urged her followers to “hold fast.” They told supporters to read and share articles and YouTube videos that argue her guilty plea was “extorted” and amounted to a blow to Willis, the Fulton County district attorney.

Saturday’s newsletter quoted a Federalist article claiming “Willis basically extorted a guilty plea from Powell.” The newsletter bolded a passage arguing she couldn’t get a fair trial with “a jury culled from deep-blue Fulton County” and said the misdemeanors she pleaded guilty to “would be discharged from Powell’s record following probation.”

Powell’s followers were directed to the same Federalist article again in her Monday newsletter. It also cited an Epoch Times article quoting Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow, who said Powell pleaded guilty only because of “pressure” from Willis.

The arguments contradict Powell’s claims in her Thursday plea hearing, where she agreed her plea was “voluntary” and the charges had “a sufficient factual basis.”

Mugshots for Kenneth Chesebro, Rudy Giuliani, and Sidney Powell. Chesebro and Powell have pleaded guilty in the Fulton County election-interference case.

Fulton County sheriff’s office

Neither Powell nor a representative for the Fulton County district attorney’s office responded to a request for comment.

Ronald Carlson, a professor at the University of Georgia School of Law, told Insider that Powell’s comments were unusual for a cooperating witness who was likely to be asked to testify on behalf of the prosecution at a trial.

“Usually, after a guilty plea, the defendants do not want to rock the boat,” Carlson said.

If the district attorney’s office were to ask for a gag order on Powell, she would probably — like Trump in his criminal cases — argue she had a right to free speech, Carlson said.

“It’s very likely a situation where she’s kind of saying, ‘I’m going to exercise my right to free speech,’ but one has to exercise care not to jeopardize anything in the plea agreement,” Carlson said.

Before the 2020 election, Powell represented Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. With Powell as his lawyer, Flynn sought to withdraw his guilty plea and was ultimately pardoned by Trump.

If Trump is reelected president in 2024, he and his codefendants would still have virtually no way to obtain a pardon in the Georgia case. But in Monday’s newsletter, Defending the Republic shared a Truth Social post from Trump praising Powell’s “valiant job of representing a very unfairly treated and governmentally abused General Mike Flynn.”

“His prosecution, despite the facts, was ruthless,” Trump wrote. “He was an innocent man, much like many other innocent people who are being persecuted by this now Fascist government of ours, and I was honored to give him a Full Pardon!”

Correction: October 25, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the conservative activist who runs Judicial Watch. It’s Tom Fitton, not Tim Fitton.

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Jacob Shamsian