The first co-defendant in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ cases involving former President Donald Trump has entered a plea of guilty in an agreement made with the top prosecutor.
“Bail bondsman Scott Hall on Friday became the first defendant in the Fulton County election interference case to take a plea agreement with prosecutors, signaling the probe has entered a dynamic new phase,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“During an impromptu hearing before Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, Hall, with his attorney by his side, pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties,” the outlet noted further.
“Hall agreed to testify truthfully when called, five years probation, a $5,000 fine, 200 hours of community service and a ban on polling and election administration-related activities. He also recorded a statement for prosecutors and pledged to pen a letter of apology to Georgia voters,” the AJC added.
Fulton County prosecutors have been presented with a major success following the plea deal made in regards to Trump’s case. The first two defendants to enter trial, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, are scheduled to begin their hearings on October 20th.
Trump and 18 other co-defendants have been accused of conspiring to alter Georgia election results.
His legal team had previously planned to move his case from state court into federal court in an effort to seek dismissal of all charges by reason of presidential immunity due to his acting as part of official capacity.
However, this strategy appears now to have changed according to recent reports.
Meanwhile, CNN Legal Analyst Elie Honig has cautioned that a potential issue with the indictment is the possibility of Trump and his allies attempting to relocate the trial outside of Georgia’s primarily Democratic county, despite former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ unsuccessful effort.
“The other big issue – and we just said this word – is removal. Get ready for a lot of talk about removal. Mark Meadows is already trying to do this. Donald Trump will try to follow. In a nutshell, what this means is, if a federal official gets charged with a state crime that relates to that federal official’s official job duties, you can get the case removed.”
Honig argued that such duties must be “within the legitimate scope of those jobs,” adding that is “an important qualification. He [Trump and others] can get the case moved over to federal court and then potentially dismissed. So, these are really important motions. Mark Meadows has already done this, Trump is sure to follow.”
“The hard part [is] it’s a lot of work. You’re not going to be able to try all 19 at once. That’s not going to happen. And you just never know how every one of these defendants, let’s put aside Trump. Every one of these defendants, even the people we heard of, is going to mount a furious defense, as is their right to do,” Honig said.
“They all work together as one cohesive entity towards an illegal end,” Honig said. “You have the advantage to pick off some low-hanging fruit and get them to flip.”
A comprehensive examination of Willis’ extensive accusations against Trump and the other accused may prove to be too challenging for her in the long term.
A.R. Hoffman, Associate Editor of the New York Sun, remarked this week that former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ assertion of “serious constitutional concerns” with regards to his prosecution could potentially jeopardize District Attorney Fani Willis’s racketeering case before it reaches fruition.