Ex-Trump attorney Jenna Ellis became the latest defendant to flip on the former president on Tuesday, making a deal with prosecutors in the Fulton County case—and it could spell doom for co-defendant Rudy Giuliani.
Ellis pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements about election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges,” Ellis said as she wept in an Atlanta courtroom. “I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.”
Ellis’ plea implicated Giuliani in that she admitted to aiding and abetting his “false statements” at a December 2020 hearing before Georgia lawmakers in which they both pushed unfounded claims of voter fraud. She said she was “assisting with the execution” of the hearing along with Giuliani and Trump campaign lawyer Ray Smith, another co-defendant. Both Smith and Giuliani have pleaded not guilty.
Attorney Peter Pullano, who has represented criminal defendants for more than 30 years, said Ellis’ plea did not portend smooth sailing for the disgraced ex-New York City mayor.
“Her plea and her agreement to cooperate are certainly very bad news for Giuliani, and there are a few reasons why,” Pullano, the managing partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC’s Rochester, New York office, told The Daily Beast. “Certainly, she was acting with him, so she’ll be able to testify in detail about what he did. And because they were co-conspirators, there’s an exception to [the] hearsay [rule] when statements have been made in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
As a former federal prosecutor who built his reputation on conspiracy prosecutions, Giuliani “knows this better than anyone,” Pullano continued.
“This is the exception that was used to bring down the mob,” he said. “All sorts of evidence that is normally inadmissible is now admissible. Even more compelling, it’s very hard to discredit the person that you chose to work with.”
To that end, Pullano thinks Giuliani’s team will float the notion in court that Ellis is a liar, and doesn’t know what she’s talking about. But, he continued, “It was his colleague… And because of their close relationship, I think it’s going to hurt him the most, among the remaining co-conspirators.”
Ellis agreed to a sentence of five years’ probation, 100 hours of community service, and to pay $5,000 in restitution. She has also written a letter of apology to the people of Georgia and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the case.
Prosecutors reached similar agreements last week with Trump-aligned lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell. Scott Hall, a bail bondsman charged in the case along with Powell for breaching voting equipment at a Georgia county election office, has also pleaded guilty.