In late August, former President Donald Trump and 18 others – including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and Sidney Powell – were indicted in Georgia state court after a nearly two and a half year probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in connection with alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election result in the Peach State.
While it remains to be seen when the 2024 GOP frontrunner will stand trial, some of the co-conspirators in the case have stared copping pleas. On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Alan Dershowitz, author of the forthcoming book War Against The Jews, to discuss the developments and why he believes Trump will be a convicted felon before the 2024 election.
The Plea Deals
On Tuesday, former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis pleaded guilty to one felony count of aiding and abetting false statements in the Georgia election interference case. The attorney delivered an emotional statement to the judge during the unscheduled hearing. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges,” she said tearfully. “I look back on this experience with deep remorse.”
Ellis’ decision comes on the heels of fellow lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro entering guilty pleas last week. All three will avoid jail time and have agreed to testify on behalf of the prosecution at future trials.
The ‘Domino Theory’
Dershowitz said that it is “a bad day” for Trump, Guilani, and the like “when these people flip,” but it is not necessarily a death knell for the defense. “Their lawyers should and will, I’m sure, cross-examine them about why they suddenly found religion, suddenly admitted that they were wrong,” he said. “They did it because they had an incentive and incentives sometimes cause people to tell the truth but sometimes cause them to exaggerate and even tell lies.”
As Dershowitz recalled, he actually invited Giuliani to be a guest-lecturer on this topic for his class on legal ethics and tactics at Harvard when the former New York City mayor was a U.S. attorney. “[Giuliani] called it the ‘domino theory,'” Dershowitz explained. “You indict a bunch of people and then they begin to fall away.”
They “fall away” because they are offered deals and agree to “testify against the big guy,” but Dershowitz said juries are usually cognizant of that. “We know and smart juries know that not only are ‘bought witnesses’ – people who are paid, basically, by getting a decent sentence – willing to sing, they’re often willing to compose, to make up stories to satisfy the prosecution because, otherwise, the prosecution wouldn’t make a deal with them.”
What This Means for Trump
The guilty pleas from Ellis, Powell, and Chesebro are significant, but just how much they will affect Trump’s chances depend on who you listen to. “If you turn on MSNBC, they say this is absolutely devastating for Trump because they’re all going to work now with prosecutors against him,” Megyn noted.
The 13-count Georgia indictment marked the fourth of the year for the former president. On the federal level, Special Counsel Jack Smith brought four charges in early August in connection with January 6 and election interference. In June, he indicted Trump on 40 counts for the alleged mishandling of classified documents in Florida. Trump’s first indictment came down in March 2023 when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged him with 34 counts of falsifying business records.
Dershowitz said he has “no doubt” Trump will be convicted in at least some of these cases – and he believes those convictions could come before the 2024 election. “The goal of the ‘get Trump movement’ has been to get down and dirty convictions in places where the jury pool is heavily against Trump,” he noted. “I think he’ll be the nominee having been convicted of a crime, but he won’t be in prison.”
While Dershowitz said it is likely there will be “some reversals on appeal,” it will not happen until after Election Day. “It is going to affect the election,” he concluded. “It hasn’t hurt him among Republicans in the primaries, but it may hurt him in the general election with independents and some Democrats who might otherwise vote for Trump.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Dershowitz by tuning in to episode 654 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.