Posts tagged with "Jenna Ellis"

A Trump lawyer makes a remarkable admission about her ‘stolen election’ claims

March 15, 2023

Yet another figure who promoted former President Donald Trump’s stolen-election claims has backed down in the face of legal scrutiny. This time it’s the Trump campaign’s then-legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, reports The Washington Post.

But even among the succession of walk-backs, this one stands out, the Post says. That’s because, as part of her censure deal with the Colorado Supreme Court in a disciplinary proceeding, Ellis actually admitted to ten specific “misrepresentations.” Among them are the following:

  • Her claim to evidence of “a coordinated effort in all of these states to transfer votes either from Trump to Biden, to manipulate the ballots, to count them in secret.”
  • Her claim of “overwhelming evidence proving this was stolen.”
  • Her claim that, “The election was stolen and Trump won by a landslide” (a version of which she said repeatedly).
  • Her claim that, “The proper and true victor … is Donald Trump.”
  • Her claim that, “We have over 500,000 votes [in Arizona] that were cast illegally.”

Ellis’s commentary broadly echoed many of the Trump team’s most frequent claims. And Ellis is now admitting that none of those claims were true.

Perhaps most notably—as part of a deal that apparently helped Ellis avoid potentially stiffer penalties (some have sought the disbarment of lawyers who promoted such claims)—the document says she also agreed that she acted “with at least a reckless state of mind.”

She also agreed that her actions “undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election, violating her duty of candor to the public.” And she agreed that she had “selfish motives” for alleging what she did, but the fact that she hadn’t faced prior discipline weighed to her benefit.

In response to the news, Ellis has sought to emphasize that she didn’t agree that she lied. Rather, she says, she was merely admitting that her claims were unintentionally false.

“They’re now trying to falsely discredit me by saying I admitted I lied,” Ellis tweeted. “That is FALSE. I would NEVER lie. Lying requires INTENTIONALLY making a false statement. I never did that, nor did I stipulate to or admit that.” She noted that the standard involved cites “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, OR misrepresentation.”

Ellis’s tweeted statement walks up to the line of saying she was forced to cave to political and legal pressure. (“This is and always was political lawfare to intimidate lawyers from representing Trump or Republicans candidates,” she said in the statement.) But while asserting that she would keep fighting for her causes, she cited “having learned I can do so in media even more carefully.”

Given that explanation, it’s worth looking at the specific “misrepresentations” Ellis admitted to. Ellis didn’t just claim the election was stolen. She contended Trump’s legal team had “testimonial and other evidence” to back that up and cited “the overwhelming evidence proving this was stolen.”

Perhaps her most pronounced claims came in a November 20, 2020, appearance on the Fox Business show “Mornings with Maria” hosted by Maria Bartiromo — a host who has recently figured prominently in Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox News.

Bartiromo leaned into Ellis’s allegations, starting her show by citing “explosive claims from the Trump legal team” involving “allegedly widespread global voter fraud and a coordinated effort to change the outcome of the 2020 election.”

Bartiromo asked Ellis what evidence she had, and Ellis assured her there was plenty: “We had affidavits from witnesses, we have voter intimidation, we have the ballots that were manipulated, we have all kinds of statistics that show that this was a coordinated effort in all of these states to transfer votes either from Trump to Biden, to manipulate the ballots, to count them in secret.”

But elsewhere in the interview, Ellis also suggested that the most damning evidence would have to remain secret. “Maria, no credible attorney is going to go out and actually show the evidence to the mainstream media to have them pick apart and especially dox witnesses, when we’ve already had this type of intimidation of our own attorneys,” Ellis said.

To put Ellis’s comments on television in the context of what she is now admitting, she’s saying the evidence that she assured viewers existed, somewhere, didn’t actually prove what she believed it did. She apparently misunderstood it. Perhaps a more public vetting would have been a good thing?

That’s a particularly stunning explanation when it comes to the last bullet point mentioned above—the one about there somehow being more than 500,000 illegal votes in Arizona. That amount would account for in excess of 1 out of every 7 votes in the state. It just wasn’t a serious claim, even before it was repeatedly confirmed that there was nothing to back it up.

These are pretty remarkable things for a lawyer to flub. But that’s what Ellis says happened, according to the Post. She apparently contends that she decided to allege a massive conspiracy that she now acknowledges “undermined the American public’s confidence in the presidential election,” as the court filing states—and she even reportedly drafted a plot to overturn the election on January 6 in part by having Vice President Mike Pence reject the submitted electoral votes— based on misunderstandings.

Research contact: @washingonpost

Seven Trump allies subpoenaed in Georgia criminal investigation

July 7, 2022

Seven advisers to and allies of former President Donald Trump—including his former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and GOP Senator Lindsey Graham—were subpoenaed on Tuesday, July 5, in the ongoing criminal investigation in Georgia of election interference by Trump and his associates, reports The New York Times.

The move was the latest sign that the inquiry has entangled a number of prominent members of Trump’s orbit and may cloud the future for the former president.

The subpoenas underscore the breadth of the investigation by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses most of Atlanta. She is weighing a range of charges, according to legal filings, including racketeering and conspiracy, and her inquiry has encompassed witnesses from beyond the state.

The latest round of subpoenas was reported earlier by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to the Times, the Fulton County investigation is one of several inquiries into efforts by Trump and his team to overturn the election, but it is the one that appears to put them in the greatest immediate legal jeopardy.

A House special committee continues to investigate the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. And there is an intensifying investigation by the Justice Department into a scheme to create slates of fake presidential electors in 2020.

Amid the deepening investigations, Trump is weighing an early entrance into the 2024 presidential race; people close to him have said he believes it would bolster his claims that the investigations are politically motivated.

A subpoena is not an indication that someone is a subject of an inquiry, although some of the latest recipients are considered at risk in the case—in particular, Giuliani, who has emerged as a central figure in the grand jury proceedings in the Georgia investigation. Giuliani spent several hours speaking before state legislative panels in December 2020, where he peddled false conspiracy theories about corrupted voting machines and a video that he claimed showed secret suitcases of Democratic ballots. He told members of the State House at the time, “You cannot possibly certify Georgia in good faith.”

Willis’s office, in its subpoena, said Giuliani “possesses unique knowledge concerning communications between himself, former President Trump, the Trump campaign, and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multistate, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Though the subpoenas were issued Tuesday, not all had necessarily been received. Robert J. Costello, a lawyer for Mr. Giuliani, said, “We have not been served with any subpoena, therefore we have no current comment.”

Others sent subpoenas included Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who worked closely with Giuliani to overturn the 2020 election results; John Eastman, the legal architect of a plan to keep Trump in power by using fake electors; and Graham, the South Carolina Republican who called Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, days after the election to inquire about the rules for discarding mail-in ballots.

Another prominent lawyer who received a subpoena, Cleta Mitchell, was on a January 2, 2021, call that Trump made to Raffensperger, during which he asked the secretary of state to find enough votes to reverse Georgia’s results. The subpoena to her said, “During the telephone call, the witness and others made allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia and pressured Secretary Raffensperger to take action in his official capacity to investigate unfounded claims of fraud.”

Two other Trump lawyers also have been subpoenaed: Jacki Pick Deason, who helped make the Trump team’s case before the Georgia legislature, and Kenneth Chesebro, whose role has come into sharper focus during the House January 6 hearings. In an email exchange with Eastman in the run-up to the January 6 attack, Chesebro wrote that the Supreme Court would be more likely to act on a Wisconsin legal challenge “if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on January 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”

The special grand jury was impaneled in early May and has up to one year to complete its work before issuing a report advising Willis on whether to pursue criminal charges, although Willis has said she hopes to conclude much sooner. In official letters sent to potential witnesses, her office has said that it is examining potential violations that include “the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

The new subpoenas offered some further clues about where her investigation is focused.

Research contact: @nytimes