Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation appears to be zeroing in on Sidney Powell, a conspiracy-theory-obsessed lawyer who was a key figure in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Four sources with knowledge of the matter, several witnesses, and Trump allies who’ve appeared before the special counsel — including at least one in the past few days — team seem to agree: Powell should be preparing now for Smith to bring criminal charges.
On Monday, Bernie Kerik — a longtime Rudy Giuliani associate and a Trump ally who worked on the Giuliani-led legal team challenging Trump’s 2020 defeat — sat with special counsel investigators for a roughly four-and-a-half-hour interview, according to his lawyer Tim Parlatore. (Parlatore previously served as a top attorney to Trump, advising the ex-president on Special Counsel Smith’s probes.)
“Based on the contents of their questions, and my understanding of criminal law, the main individual who was discussed who Mr. Kerik gave any information that could be incriminating would be Sidney,” Parlatore tells Rolling Stone on Thursday. Parlatore added that what Kerik told investigators included: “That there was no back-up for anything she said, that when she was asked to provide proof she didn’t produce anything, and when she was cut loose [from the official Trump legal team], how she kept trying to push her way in.”
Powell has already been identified by numerous news outlets as one of the six unnamed — and so far unindicted — alleged Trump co-conspirators enumerated in the indictment. In the special counsel indictment, Smith described her — though did not name her — as “an attorney whose unfounded claims of election fraud [Trump] privately acknowledged to others sounded ‘crazy.’ ”
Trump, prosecutors claim, used Powell to launder talking points “critical of a certain voting machine company” to use in her lawsuits alleging massive fraud. Those suits were subsequently dismissed and a federal judge subsequently sanctioned Powell over the bogus evidence included in the filings.
Kerik, a former New York police commissioner, is one of the individuals who recently described to federal investigators — among other topics — details regarding Powell’s private behavior as she aided Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election outcome. According to Parlatore, the ex-commissioner did not mince words: “During Bernie Kerik’s interview with the special counsel’s office, the issue of a possible mental health break and change in her demeanor and personality was discussed,” the attorney says.
Parlatore adds that during the investigators’ multi-hour interview with his client, the word “lunatic” was indeed used to describe Powell.
Neither Powell nor her attorneys responded to a request for comment. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on this story.
In the course of the wide-ranging investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and Trump and his associates’ efforts to nullify the 2020 election, Powell has become a frequent topic of the federal law enforcement’s interest. This probe has already resulted in Trump’s third indictment and arraignment earlier this month.
And prosecutors have shown a particular, keen interest in Powell’s work and conduct in recent days and weeks, the sources with knowledge of the situation say.
Multiple witnesses have been grilled about what they thought of Powell as a person, as well as her actions during then-President Trump’s months-long crusade to cling to power. Witnesses were asked if Powell ever showed them actual proof of her bizarre claims of an election-fraud conspiracy, and if Powell herself ever privately expressed any signs of doubt about any of the theories.
Some were asked if they had knowledge of Powell’s contacts with any members of Congress during the weeks following Trump’s 2020 loss to Joe Biden, and about rambling documents she had sent the Trump White House detailing her supposed “evidence.” (In documents obtained during Dominion Voting Systems’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News, attorneys for the company discovered that Powell had relayed “far-fetched” claims about the 2020 election to Fox host Maria Bartiromo based on an eccentric “source” who claiming that “The Wind tells me I’m a ghost” and that “I was internally decapitated, and yet, I live.”)
Powell is hardly the only one of Trump’s alleged co-conspirators who could find themselves hit with criminal charges soon. Trump and his close associates have also long sought to point the finger at possible scapegoats and fall guys in their coup attempt, despite the fact that these people were only acting on Trump’s behalf or doing what he told them to do.
However, the intense nature of the recent line of federal questioning has led various witnesses, lawyers, and others intimately familiar with the situation to the conclusion that Powell likely has a heavy amount of legal exposure in the current stage of Smith’s probe.
Or, as one source who’s been in the room recently with federal investigators succinctly puts it: “Sidney’s fucked.”
Asked to comment on the source’s two-word characterization, Parlatore simply replied with his own two-word statement: “I agree.”
In the end, however, Powell likely won’t be alone. For months, Trumpland has actively feared that prosecutors in Georgia are soon “coming for everyone.” And if recent activity is any indication, Special Counsel Smith’s office may not be far behind the Fulton County district attorney.
In the past several weeks — including in the days since Trump was criminally charged in the Jan. 6 probe — federal investigators have been asking witnesses a series of specific, exhaustive questions focusing on alleged and unnamed co-conspirators referenced in the former president’s indictment, the sources with knowledge of the situation tell Rolling Stone. Of particular interest lately have been Trump-aligned lawyers Powell, Giuliani, Kenneth Chesebro, and John Eastman, among others.
Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/donald-trump-jack-smith-sidney-powell-indictment-1234804906/