Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney who wrote a series of memos devising the Trump campaign’s alternate electors strategy in 2020, pleaded guilty to one felony Friday after reaching a deal with Georgia prosecutors in their election interference case.
Chesebro, 62, was set to go to trial Monday and would have become the first defendant in the case to do so.
He has now avoided that prospect at the last minute by pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents during a brief proceeding before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.
His guilty plea comes one day after Sidney Powell — a former Trump campaign lawyer who was set to be tried next week alongside him — accepted a plea deal with Georgia prosecutors. Powell pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts and was sentenced to six years of probation.
A third defendant, former bail bondsman Scott Hall, pleaded guilty last month to five misdemeanor counts.
Like his two co-defendants who previously took plea deals, Chesebro agreed to testify truthfully in any future case proceedings and write a letter of apology to Georgia citizens, which Chesebro and prosecutors both said was already written.
Fulton County prosecutor Daysha Young told the court that if the case had gone to trial, the state would have shown that Chesebro — along with former President Trump, Rudy Giuliani and other co-defendants — entered a criminal conspiracy to cause other co-conspirators to “falsely hold themselves out as the duly elected and qualified electors for the president and vice president from Georgia following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election.”
Young also said that Chesebro was present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when an inflamed pro-Trump mob stormed the building while the certification of the presidential election was underway.
“Are you pleading guilty because you agree that there’s a factual basis that supports this remaining charge?” McAfee asked Chesebro.
“Yes, this charge,” Chesebro replied.
McAfee accepted the agreement.
Chesebro was also sentenced to five years of probation, 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution. However, with good behavior, his probation would terminate after three years, Chesebro attorney Scott Grubman said.
Chesebro entered McAfee’s courtroom Friday afternoon flanked by his legal team after some 450 prospective jurors spent the morning filling out a lengthy questionnaire ahead of the expected trial.
He was originally charged with seven felony counts linked to the alternate electors scheme, for which he drafted multiple memos detailing strategies for how slates of pro-Trump individuals could falsely claim to be their states’ valid electors.
Under the plea agreement, Chesebro will only be charged with one of those counts, conspiracy to commit filing false documents.
The two Trump-aligned lawyers, Chesebro and Powell, became tied after they each invoked their right to a speedy trial, effectively severing their cases from the other 17 defendants and significantly hastening the timeline.
Chesebro had originally hoped to get his charges tossed through various pre-trial motions. But the judge in recent days had rejected those efforts on a rolling basis, denying Chesebro’s final dismissal attempt Wednesday evening.
—Updated at 12:48 p.m.