Kenneth Chesebro, the attorney who allegedly devised the “fake electors” plan to prevent Joe Biden from winning the 2020 election, has accepted a plea deal and will avoid going to trial in the Fulton county racketeering case involving Donald Trump and 17 others.The last-minute plea deal marks the second major victory in as many days for prosecutors, who can now compel him to testify against his former allies in Trump’s inner circle to bolster their case.
Chesebro appeared in court on Friday and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit filing false documents. His plea agreement is for five years of probation, $5,000 in restitution, 100 hours of community service and an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia. Most importantly, it requires that he turn over any evidence in his possession and truthfully testify at all hearings and trials involving the case’s co-defendants, including Trump.
Attorney Sidney Powell, who was also set to stand trial beginning on Friday, accepted a plea deal on Thursday, potentially pressuring Chesebro into doing the same. ABC reported that two days ago he had rejected a plea offer from prosecutors to avoid jail time by pleading guilty to the conspiracy charge.
Fifteen additional co-defendants, including Trump, are set to stand trial next year as a part of the racketeering case brought by the Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis. Both Powell and Chesebro’s cases had been severed from the larger racketeering case because they filed demands for a speedy trial.
Chesebro played two key roles in Trump’s post-election efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He wrote a pair of early December memos laying out a strategy for fake pro-Trump electors to meet in the six states where Trump lost to preserve a path forward to challenge the election in court and potentially on 6 January in Congress, and he laid out the legal argument that the vice-president could reject states’ electors during the election certification – while suggesting that Vice-President Mike Pence should recuse himself to avoid a conflict of interest.
His decision to flip on Trump and his allies is potentially the most damaging for the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Trump attorney John Eastman, with whom he worked closely to devise the legal plot to challenge the election.Attorneys for Chesebro and representatives for the Fulton county district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Chesebro had faced seven felony counts, including a conspiracy count and six additional charges related to a plan to create “alternate electors” to falsely certify that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election. His plea deal came shortly after jury selection for his trial had begun on Friday.