Prosecutors request emergency evidentiary seal amid major leaks in Trump Georgia election interference case News
© JURIST / Jaclyn Belczyk
Prosecutors request emergency evidentiary seal amid major leaks in Trump Georgia election interference case

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed a request Tuesday for an emergency seal of evidence related to the Georgia election interference case against former US President Donald Trump and multiple former Trump attorneys and staff members. The filing comes amid major evidentiary leaks, published by ABC News and The Washington Post, of video interrogations of defendants who have since pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the case.

The video interrogations leaked to ABC News on Monday include statements from former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis that Trump was “not going to leave” office. Another former Trump attorney, Sidney Powell, stated in her interrogation, “Did I know anything about election law? No. But I understand fraud from having been a prosecutor for 10 years, and knew generally what the fraud suit should be if the evidence showed what I thought it showed.”

On Tuesday, The Washington Post released more recordings with extended interrogations of Ellis, Powell, attorney Kenneth Chesebro and bail bondsman Scott Hall. In the video of Ellis, she expands upon the statements subsequently leaked to ABC. Ellis stated that at a White House Christmas party, former Trump Chief of Staff Dan Scavino came up to her and dismissed her concerns that Trump’s legal options to challenge the election results were running out, saying, “Well, we don’t care, and we’re not going to leave.” The Washington Post also released video of Powell in which she stated that former Trump attorney and advisor Rudy Giuliani screamed expletives at her during a meeting due to her inability to successfully challenge the election results. Powell said, “There was a big shouting match in which Rudy called me every name in the book and I was the worst lawyer he’d ever seen in his life.” 

The Washington Post also reported several other revelations from further recordings which the news staff had reviewed but not released. Powell allegedly states during a recording that she encouraged Trump to seize election equipment with military support. Hall revealed during another recording that he had allegedly harassed an election worker in Coffee County, Ruby Freeman, along with Giuliani and several other co-defendants, forcing Freeman into hiding.

Trump’s attorney Steve Saddow commented on the leaks, telling the Washington Post:

The only salient and telling fact is that President Trump left the White House on January 20, 2021, and returned to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. If this is the nonsense line of inquiry being pursued and this is the type of bogus, ridiculous ‘evidence’ DA Willis intends to rely upon, it is one more reason that this political travesty of a case must be dismissed.

The motion to seal evidence requested by Willis in the wake of the leaks is a renewal of a previous motion to seal evidence filed on September 27. The motion states:

Going forward, the State will not produce copies of confidential video recordings of proffers to any defendant to prevent further public disclosure. Instead, defendants must come to the District Attorney’s Office to view confidential video recordings of proffers. They may take notes, but they will be prohibited from creating any recordings or reproductions.

The Georgia election interference case began in August 2023, when a Georgia grand jury indicted Trump along with 18 others. The charges against Trump include one violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, three counts of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, one count of conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, two counts of conspiracy to commit and another two counts of actually committing false statements and writings, one count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents and one count of filing false documents. Thus far, Powell, Chesebro, Ellis and Hall are the only defendants who have pleaded guilty. Trump turned himself in late August, pleading not guilty.

The Georgia case is only one of Trump’s multiple criminal legal cases as he begins his 2024 run for president. Trump pleaded not guilty to 40 charges in Florida relating to the alleged improper storage and retention of classified documents. The former president also pleaded not guilty to an additional 34 charges in a falsified business records criminal case in New York, and he pleaded not guilty to another 4 charges in a second federal election interference case. All together, Trump faces 91 criminal counts.