Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis seemingly scored another victory on Tuesday when former Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis pleaded guilty to a single felony charge of making false statements.
However, that plea deal Willis reached with Ellis may have actually undermined the prosecutor's broader case against former President Donald Trump, according to one of his current attorneys, Politico reported.
That is because the charge to which Ellis pleaded guilty wasn't even in the original indictment, makes no connection to Trump himself, and is not part of the anti-racketeering law that Willis has used to allege a sprawling conspiracy involving the former president and others to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Ellis appeared in an Atlanta courtroom Tuesday to plead guilty to a single felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings, for which she will be punished with five years of probation, must pay $5,000 in restitution, write a public apology letter, and cooperate with prosecutors in future proceedings against other defendants, if necessary.
In a tearful statement read aloud to the court, Ellis acknowledged receiving from others and passing along to others various unproven allegations of election fraud, and said, "If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges."
"I relied on others, including lawyers with many more years of experience than I to provide me with true and reliable information," she further explained to the judge. "What I did not do, but should have done, Your Honor, was to make sure that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true. In the frenetic pace of attempting to raise challenges to the election in several states, including Georgia, I failed to do my due diligence."
Yet, while those who support the criminal prosecution of former President Trump and his associates undoubtedly cheered at the news of Ellis' guilty plea, a current attorney for Trump suggested that they really had little reason to celebrate and instead should be worried about the future outcome of the broader case against Trump.
The Associated Press reported that Steve Sadow, Trump's lead attorney in the Georgia racketeering conspiracy case, warned that the Ellis plea deal actually undermined the legitimacy of DA Willis' allegations under the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.
"For the fourth time, Fani Willis and her prosecution team have dismissed the RICO charge in return for a plea to probation," Sadow said. "What that shows is this so-called RICO case is nothing more than a bargaining chip for DA Willis."
He further noted that the aiding and abetting false statements charge wasn't in the original indictment and bore no direct link to Trump himself.
The AP also noted that it was uncertain if the defendants who've accepted plea deals -- Ellis joins fellow former Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, who also saw their RICO charges dropped and received only probation -- would even be called to testify against others, given the lack of direct evidence connecting their actions to Trump as well as the likelihood that they would face brutal cross-examination and be attacked on their credibility.
In a separate development following Ellis' plea deal, Breitbart reported that questions have been raised about a legal defense fund established in support of her prior intentions to fight back against the charges against her, with some people saying that she should return the donated funds since she accepted a deal to avoid trial.
In fact, more than $217,000 was raised on GiveSendGo for Ellis' legal defense fund which was managed by her attorney, Michael Melito, but he made it clear that contrary to the claims from some that the funds were never fully spent and should be returned, there was actually nothing left to give back to donors.
"Thank you for your support for Jenna’s legal defense fund. The Georgia case has been resolved. Your support helped Jenna immensely," the attorney said in an update on the fundraising page. "We want to answer a question that has been raised regarding the fund. The legal fees and costs significantly exceeded the amount raised by the fund. Thank you for your continued support."