Attorney Sidney Powell, an outspoken conservative Christian who worked with Donald Trump’s legal team to overturn 2020 election results, pled guilty in Georgia last week to six misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to interfere with the performance of election duties.
Her plea deal surprised Trump loyalists because she has agreed to testify against Trump and some of the 18 other election deniers indicted in Georgia. Her testimony could be damning because she worked closely with Trump and others in the conspiracy to overturn election results.
The guilty plea is an about-face for Powell, who once told the Christian Television Network she is a woman of prayer who is guided to the truth by the Holy Spirit.
“God hates deceit, and truth is the armor of God,” she said, “so I’ve always felt like as long as I stand for truth and all I want is truth, then I’m definitely wearing the armor of God.” (The broadcast has been deleted.)
“As long as I stand for truth and all I want is truth, then I’m definitely wearing the armor of God.”
On Nov. 8, 2020, five days after the presidential election won by Joe Biden, Powell made the first of many appearances on Fox News, claiming without evidence that Dominion, a major voting machine company, had used algorithms to switch votes from Trump to Biden, publicly setting in motion a conspiracy theory that Trump and others soon would embrace.
Her wild claims were picked up and aired by Christian author and broadcaster Eric Metaxas on his radio show. Both Powell and Metaxas have been sued in defamation cases, and both have testified they did nothing to verify their public claims about election fraud.
Attorneys defending Powell in the Dominion defamation lawsuit admitted her claims were bogus, saying, “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”
Powell then joined Trump’s “crack legal team” alongside Rudy Giuliani and Christian attorney Jenna Ellis and eventually discussed strategy with Trump in the Oval Office in a meeting that has been the subject of intense focus by those seeking to understand how U.S. democracy was nearly undermined. She filed a host of election fraud lawsuits — all of which failed — and encouraged Trump to seize voting machines as evidence.
Powell repeatedly claimed she would unveil compelling evidence of election fraud, but the great unveiling never came. She instead recycled bizarre claims — including one from a woman claiming to be a decapitated time-traveler — that proved too crazy for even the most committed of Trump’s true believers.
However, Powell remained popular with evangelical supporters of Trump.
The Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based activist group founded decades ago by James Dobson of Focus in the Family, is among the conservative Christian groups that promoted Trump’s and Powell’s false claims of election fraud in Michigan and elsewhere.
“Sidney Powell’s Michigan petition calls for ‘emergency declaratory relief avowing that the presidential election results certified by Michigan officials were unconstitutional and otherwise contrary to law, together with injunctive relief de-certifying those results,’” wrote FRC as the Supreme Court prepared to consider election fraud lawsuits.
But Powell was sanctioned for bringing the “frivolous” Michigan case. A judge required her and others to pay $175,000 in fees to the state and the city of Detroit.
FRC also promoted Powell’s claim that Biden loyalists created 450,000 suspicious ballots.
Previously, FRC joined Powell in promoting her 2014 book, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.
FRC called the book “the true story of the strong-arm, illegal and unethical tactics used by headline-grabbing federal prosecutors in their narcissistic pursuit of power. Its scope reaches from the U.S. Department of Justice to the U.S. Senate, the FBI and the White House.”
Powell expected Trump to appoint her as a special prosecutor to root out election fraud, but that never happened and Trump gradually soured on her because her claims were too wild to believe.
Last Sunday, Trump posted a message on his Truth Social network saying, “MS. POWELL WAS NOT MY ATTORNEY, AND NEVER WAS.”
But this is another blatant Trump lie. He celebrated her role on his legal team in a Nov. 15, 2020, tweet and promoted a Nov. 19 news conference featuring her unfounded claims that Dominion also had rigged elections in Venezuela, Cuba and China.
Powell continues to lead and fundraise for Defending the Republic, a nonprofit that says it “works for everyone who yearns for truth, freedom and justice” by focusing on six “causes”: Election fraud, fighting “lawfare,” exposing government corruption, fighting mandates, defending January 6ers, including those who were “wrongly accused,” and litigation that defends the Freedom of Information Act.
Powell is one of three Georgia defendants to plead guilty so far, including Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro.