The ex-president absorbed a trio of blows Tuesday that worsened his legal peril and underscored how the 2024 election – in which he is the front-runner for the GOP nomination – will play out in the courts rather than traditional voting battlegrounds.
In the most significant development, ABC News reported that Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had met federal prosecutors multiple times and had categorically undermined the ex-president’s narrative about a stolen election. Meadows was the gatekeeper to the Oval Office in the critical days when Trump was allegedly plotting to steal the 2020 election after voters rejected his bid for a second term. CNN has reached out to Meadows’ attorney for comment.
In another damaging twist, former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, who blanketed television networks after President Joe Biden’s victory to falsely claim he was elected because of fraud, reached a plea deal with Georgia prosecutors. Ellis on Tuesday tearfully confessed to the felony of aiding and abetting false statements that she and other lawyers told Peach State lawmakers. She was the third former Trump acolyte to agree to testify against the ex-president and others this week. The election subversion prosecution brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is now following the classic playbook of a racketeering case wherein smaller fish are peeled away for reduced sentences to secure their testimony against the alleged kingpin.
“If I knew then what I knew now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges. I look back on this experience with deep remorse,” Ellis said.
Ellis was a comparatively junior figure in Trump’s schemes to overthrow the election, although there is reason to believe she was in critical meetings of interest to prosecutors. Her guilty plea also looks like terrible news for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also served as a Trump lawyer after the election and with whom Ellis worked closely.