Trump campaign legal adviser Kenneth Chesebro turned down a plea offer from the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney’s office in its 2020 election interference case, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday.
Chesebro, a lawyer who’s charged with helping create a “strategy for disrupting and delaying the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” is scheduled to stand trial this week. He was initially to have been tried alongside former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, but she unexpectedly entered a guilty plea Thursday morning.
Under the scuttled deal, which was first reported by ABC News, Chesebro would have pleaded guilty to a single felony racketeering charge, agreed to testify against the other co-defendants in the case, including former President Donald Trump, and paid a $10,000 fine, in addition to writing a letter of apology. The deal was offered under Georgia’s First Offender Act.
In return, he would have been sentenced to three years of probation and would have been eligible to expunge his record when it was completed, assuming he didn’t violate any of the terms of his probation.
An attorney for Chesebro and the district attorney’s office both declined to comment.
Jury selection is set to begin Friday.
Nineteen people were charged in District Attorney Fani Willis’ sprawling racketeering case alleging conspiracies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
Powell pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor counts and agreed to testify in related cases in return for a sentence of six years of probation.
She was the second person to plead guilty in the case. Late last month, Scott Hall, who, like Powell, was facing charges related to a voting system breach in Georgia’s Coffee County in early 2021, became the first to plead guilty, admitting to five misdemeanor charges.
Trump and the 16 other co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Katherine Doyle is a White House reporter for NBC News.
Katie S. Phang