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Jenna Ellis, Trump campaign legal adviser in 2020, pleads guilty in Georgia election case

Washington —Jenna Ellis, an attorney who served as an adviser on former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, pleaded guilty to a single count in the case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over alleged efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election.

Court filings showed Ellis agreed Monday to plead guilty to one felony charge of aiding and abetting false statements and writing. She appeared before Fulton County Superior Court Scott McAfee for her plea hearing Tuesday, and she agreed to serve five years probation, pay $5,000 in restitution, and complete 100 hours of community service.

Ellis, 38, also had to write an apology letter to the state of Georgia, which she has already done, and must testify at all proceedings involving the others charged.

Ellis, a senior legal adviser to Trump’s campaign, is the fourth to plead guilty of the 19 defendants charged by Willis in August for allegedly engaging in a scheme to overturn Trump’s loss in Georgia’s presidential election. She joins Trump-allied lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro and Georgia bail bondsman Scott Hall in accepting a plea deal.

Prosecutors alleged that during the 2020 presidential election, Ellis and Rudy Giuliani, another lawyer for Trump, promoted misinformation about the election during a Georgia state legislative hearing held Dec. 3, 2020, and falsely claimed that thousands of people unlawfully voted in the November 2020 election.

CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson, noting that Trump may try to rely on an advice-of-counsel defense, suggested, “It has to feel rather ominous for the former president.” She pointed out that three lawyers who advised Trump or his campaign have now pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case. In the federal election interference case against Trump, the special counsel filed a motion earlier this month demanding that Trump’s attorneys disclose whether he intends to assert an advice-of-counsel defense by Dec. 18 because if that is the case, “he waives attorney-client privilege for all communications concerning that defense, and the Government is entitled to additional discovery and may conduct further investigation.”

Ellis was initially charged with two counts, one of which stemmed from alleged efforts to convince Georgia state senators to unlawfully appoint presidential electors supporting Trump. Ellis surrendered to authorities on Aug. 23 and agreed to a $100,000 bond.

What Jenna Ellis said at her plea hearing

In brief comments delivered during her court appearance, Ellis said that she relied on other lawyers with more experience to provide her with “true and reliable information,” but should have ensured the information she was receiving was accurate.

“In the frenetic pace of attempting to raise challenges to the election in several states, including Georgia, I failed to do my due diligence,” she said. “I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges. I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.”

Ellis said she has already taken responsibility for her actions before the Colorado Bar Association, which censured her in March, and went on to apologize to the people of Georgia.

“As an attorney who is also a Christian, I take my responsibilities as a lawyer very seriously, and I endeavor to be a person of sound moral and ethical character in all of my dealings,” she said. “In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, I believed that challenging the results on behalf of President Trump should be pursued in a just and legal way.”

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