Trump co-defendant pleads guilty in Georgia election case
"Scott Hall is the first person to plead guilty in the 19 defendant case.
ATLANTA — Scott Hall, one of the 18 defendants charged along with former President Donald Trump for allegedly interfering with the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia, pleaded guilty Friday.
Hall is the first defendant to enter a plea in the case.
Under the terms of an agreement with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' office, Hall pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor charges and will be sentenced to five years' probation, if he abides by the terms of the deal. He also agreed to testify in related court hearings and trials stemming from the sprawling 41-count indictment that was unsealed in August.
“Do you understand that conditions of your probation in this sentence is that you testify truthfully at any further court proceedings to include trials of any co-defendants that is listed on the original indictment in which you were charged,” the DA's office asked Hall in a Friday afternoon hearing before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.
“Yes, ma’am,” he responded.
Hall pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of an election.
Hall, 59, is a bail bondsman who was hit with charges relating to a voting system breach in Georgia’s Coffee County in early 2021. He was also the first of the 19 defendants charged in the case to surrender last month.
Also named in the indictment as participating in the Coffee County conspiracy was former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who is scheduled to stand trial on those charges in late October. Powell has pleaded not guilty.
In the indictment, Hall was charged with numerous felony counts: violation of the Georgia RICO Act; two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud; conspiracy to commit computer theft; conspiracy to commit computer trespass; conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy; and conspiracy to defraud the state.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Hall will also have to write an apology letter to the state for his conduct, pay a $5,000 fine, serve 200 hours of community service and provide the DA's office with a recorded statement, which he has already done.
A spokesperson for the DA's office declined comment on the plea deal.
In other court activity on Friday, U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones denied former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark’s bid to move his case to federal court. Clark was one of the 19 indicted in Fulton County last month.
Clark had argued that he was acting in his federal capacity when he urged DOJ brass to intervene in the 2020 election. He allegedly pressed then-acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to send an official Justice Department letter to Georgia’s governor and legislative leaders on Dec. 28 saying the DOJ had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.”
Rosen refused to do so despite pressure from Trump — who had threatened to fire and replace him with Clark — because the Justice Department had found no evidence of significant fraud.
The DA's office noted that Clark's duties at the Justice Department did not having anything to do with election fraud, and contended that Clark had exceeded his authority.
At a hearing on the issue this month, a lawyer for Clark suggested — but did not explicitly state — that Clark was working at Trump's direction.
In his ruling Friday, Jones found "Clark has submitted no evidence that the December 28 letter was written within the scope of his role" at the Justice Department.
"To the contrary, the evidence before the Court indicates the opposite: Clark’s role in the Civil Division did not include any role in the investigation or oversight of State elections," the judge wrote, denying his bid to move the case.
An attorney for Clark did not respond to a request for comment.
Jones denied a similar bid by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows this month. Meadows is appealing the ruling."