Judge Scott McAfee’s latest decision was apparently the proverbial straw that broke one camel’s back. Sidney Powell has entered a guilty plea. Commenters on the New York Times’s “breaking news” believe she’s getting off too lightly. They also had questions about whether she can testify against Donald Trump because of the attorney-client privilege rule. This situation is a bit more complex than that, and if you think back, you will recall that Trump said he never hired her, so technically he was not her client.
On Tuesday of this week, Judge McAfee heard arguments from Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell in their attempts to have the charges against them dismissed. Ultimately, Judge McAfee ruled that neither defendant established a “defect in the substance or form of the indictment.” They both had an additional attempt under the federal Constitution for dismissal, but Powell decided to bow out. Jury selection was to begin today with the trial starting Monday. Some of the issues Chesebro and Powell pointed out were denied by Judge McAfee as issues for the jury and not the Court. Manny Arora, a well-known Atlanta criminal attorney who is representing Chesebro, tried getting some of the RICO charges thrown out, saying that they “are unconstitutional as applied.” After hearing from the special prosecutor, John Floyd, McAfee ruled that “This is not a novel theory of interpretation according to our Supreme Court.”
The argument from Arora’s perspective was that the indictments showed no evidence of financial gain or physical threat, which Floyd shot down by mentioning threats that were made against Ruby Freeman, an election worker. The Judge agreed. By Thursday afternoon, Sidney Powell had entered her plea to six misdemeanor counts (of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties), which reduced her punishment to 6 years of probation, a $6,000 fine, and $2,700 restitution. She is also required to write a “letter of apology” to Georgia residents, which has been done, according to the Hill. When you think of all Powell did in trying to overturn the election in Georgia and other states, it seems light, but it may not be over for her.
In Georgia, Powell’s activities would have violated ethics rules, which could include sanctions up to disbarment. Powell, however, is licensed in Texas, and that bar will make any decisions on sanctions for Powell. She will likely be suspended from the practice of law at the very least, and she should be. The important note that many are missing is the testimony she has agreed to give. Only DA Fani Willis and her team know what that testimony entails, but it will hurt some of the remaining defendants, especially Misty Hampton, whose emails were recently turned over to the DA. Will Powell specifically testify against Donald Trump? That, unfortunately, remains to be seen, but any plea deal includes the requirement of truthful testimony, and Powell did spend many hours in the presence of Donald Trump during meetings about overturning the election. A trial date for the remaining defendants has not yet been set but expect the judge to do so soon.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years