Nothing but tough breaks for Trump in GA, NY, D.C. and CO courtrooms; Also: House GOP selects new Speaker nominee...he quits hours later...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2023, 6:20pm PT  

A bad day in court for the former President is a good day for America and democracy. Happily, as reported on today's BradCast, it was a very bad day for the former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Rudy Giuliani's attempted election theft sidekick, rightwing media darling, accomplished liar and opportunistically Christian Trump attorney Jenna Ellis offered a teary apology-ish in an Atlanta courtroom today, as she threw Rudy under the bus and pretended to be contrite for helping him and Donald Trump try to steal the 2020 election in Georgia.

Ellis was allowed to plead guilty to a single felony charge (she was originally charged with two) in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against Trump and 18 co-defendants. She will receive no jailtime if she follows the terms of her plea deal and cooperates with prosecutors against her fellow co-defendants, which include Trump, Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman and others.

The manipulative Ms. Ellis (pictured above either crying or smiling following her remarks to the judge on Tuesday) boasted just last month about raising more than $200,000 for her legal defense in the case, which she characterized as "the criminalization of the practice of law" by a "weaponized government."

On Tuesday, however, she suddenly decided to claim "deep remorse" and that she should have made sure "that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true." She told the judge through her tears: "I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges."

And you shouldn't believe her for a second, as discussed today. Ellis is the fourth co-defendant to plead guilty in Willis' case, and the third attorney to do so after Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro last week. To date, all have avoided any jail we discuss as well.

Elsewhere, on a very Trumpy news day (sorry, not sorry)...

  • Moments before midnight last night, at the deadline for pre-trial motions, Trump filed a flurry of desperate pleadings in the felony indictment case against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith in federal court in D.C. for efforts related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election, including the January 6 insurrection. TPM's David Kurtz has an excellent quick round-up of the filings; former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade characterizes them as "all losers"; and our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel offers the shortest, sharpest round-up of the pleadings which appear destined to fail miserably.
  • In a New York state courtroom on Tuesday, where Trump, his company and his two eldest sons face the loss of their fraudulent business empire in Attorney General Letitia James' civil case against him, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen testified --- as Trump glowered from the defense table --- that, when he worked for the Trump Organization he was "tasked by Mr. Trump" to inflate the value of company assets to "whatever number Trump told us." The judge in the case has already found Trump et al guilty on the key fraud claims brought by James. Several other issues and the final size of the judgement against the defendants remain at stake. Also, the question of whether Trump and his attorneys will be sickened by COVID again.
  • In Congress, Republicans in the U.S. House spent the last two days selecting their newest Speaker Designate after moving to fire Kevin McCarthy three weeks ago. On Tuesday, after five rounds of voting in a close-door conference meeting, House Republicans selected Majority Whip Tom Emmer (MN). A few hours later, after being attacked by Trump, Emmer --- following in the footsteps of Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan before him over the past two weeks --- dropped out of the running. And we're back to square one with no Speaker and a House that is unable to do any business until the GOP can grow up and govern before next month's deadline for a full government shutdown.
  • And, in one more Trump-related story from Friday. A state judge in Colorado rejected three different attempts by the disgraced former President to dismiss a lawsuit charging that he is ineligible to appear on the state's ballot next year under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrection Disqualification Clause". The filings from both Trump and the Colorado GOP were all but laughed out of court by the judge. The trial in the matter begins in state court next week!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report. The good news: Trump's name doesn't come up. The bad news: Pretty much everything in our latest Green News Report...


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