First defendant in Trump election interference case takes plea agreement | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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First defendant in Trump election interference case takes plea agreement

Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts related to his role in the racketeering case.

ATLANTA (CN) — Bail bondsman Scott Hall accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors on Friday, making him the first defendant to do so in the sprawling racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and nearly 20 others.

Hall pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties during an impromptu hearing before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.

Under the terms of the agreement, Hall was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, serve five years of probation, do 200 hours of community service, testify truthfully when summoned, and is banned from participating in polling and election administration-related activities. He is also forbidden to discuss the case with any of the co-defendants or with the media and must write a letter of apology to Georgia voters.

According to the indictment brought in August, Hall was present at the Coffee County elections office in January 2021, where he aided in the arrangement of Atlanta tech company SullivanStrickler, accessing voting equipment and copying confidential data.

Fulton County prosecutors are currently preparing for at least two sets of trials involving what is now 18 defendants. Jury selection for the trial involving the first two defendants, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, is set to begin on Oct. 20.

The plea agreement is a win for prosecutors, who could call on Hall to testify against Powell, an attorney for the Trump campaign who also played a critical role in the copying of election data at the Coffee County elections office.

In the indictment, Hall faced racketeering charges and six other felony conspiracy counts, including conspiracy to commit election fraud, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy and to defraud the state.

Prosecutors said during the hearing that Hall and several of his co-defendants "entered into a conspiracy to intentionally interfere" with the 2020 election results and that their goal was to "unlawfully" access voting machines in Coffee County in order to obtain data and images of ballots. 

Also on Friday, Judge McAfee denied a motion from Chesebro to toss out emails and memos he wrote detailing plans to use an alternative Republican slate of electors in Georgia and six other swing states won by President Joe Biden, despite his attorneys’ argument that the evidence should be protected under attorney-client privilege.

It appears that Hall will be able to retain his bail bond license under the agreement. A professional bail bondsperson cannot have been convicted of a felony “or any crime involving moral turpitude,” under Georgia law. 

Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade said that the Fulton District Attorney’s office has not offered plea deals to Chesebro or Powell, but that could change in the near future. 

On Thursday, Trump’s Atlanta attorneys Steve Sadow and Jennifer Little submitted a two-page notice that the former president will not seek to remove his case to federal court. 

They said that their client based his decision “on his well-founded confidence that this honorable court intends to fully and completely protect his constitutional right to a fair trial.”

U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones has rejected bids seeking removal from two defendants, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. 

Meadows quickly appealed the ruling, which is now pending before the 11th Circuit.  Three additional defendants — former Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer and two of the false Republican electors Cathy Latham and Shawn Still — also argued for removal before Jones last week, but he has yet to issue any rulings. 

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Categories / Courts, Criminal, Politics

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