An attorney for one of former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants in Georgia’s election interference case admitted Wednesday to having leaked videos of testimony from several other co-defendants that appear to indicate what lengths Trump was prepared to go in order to stay in power.
The former president allegedly intended to simply refuse to leave the White House, according to former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, whose videotaped interview was among those shared with news media.
Jonathan Miller, an attorney representing former election official Misty Hampton, made the confession during an emergency hearing called by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.
He explained that he acted in Hampton’s best interest.
“This is one of the biggest cases the country has had, and that transparency is very important,” Miller said, adding that his client also places a high value on transparency.
“In being transparent with the court, and to make sure that nobody else gets blamed for what happened, and so I can go to sleep well tonight, judge, I did release those videos to one outlet,” he said.
“I appreciate that candor,” McAfee told him.
The judge indicated, however, that he would issue a protective order as requested by Fulton County prosecutors, which would specifically bar discovery materials from being made public. He cited the need to “keep the jury pool as untainted as possible.”
Miller did not offer details about how he saw the leak as beneficial to Hampton, who was the elections director in Coffee County, Georgia, in 2020. He said that “to hide those proffers, that show all the underlying things that went into those pleas, it misleads the public about what’s going on.”
“It’s a very, very public trial. We all know that,” the lawyer said. “That allows the D.A.’s office to set the tone for the entire trial without giving consideration to the other side of the coin, and that’s what needs protecting, judge. The public has the right to know.”
ABC News was the first to publish snippets of the videos, which recorded interviews Georgia prosecutors held with co-defendants who had agreed to plead guilty in exchange for lighter sentences with the condition that they “proffer” information in the case. The videos obtained by ABC were of interviews with Ellis and Sidney Powell, another former attorney for Trump, on Monday. Hours later, The Washington Post reported on videos from Ellis, Powell, lawyer Kenneth Chesbro and former bail bondsman Scott Hall.
The videos seemingly bolster the prosecutors’ case against Trump, who was named among 18 other defendants in the sprawling state racketeering case in August. The former president is accused of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
In her video, Ellis recounted a December 2020 conversation with Dan Scavino, then the White House deputy chief of staff, about Trump leaving the White House.
“And [Scavino] said to me, you know, in a kind of excited tone, ‘Well, we don’t care, and we’re not going to leave,’” Ellis recounted in her testimony.
“And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said ‘Well, the boss,’ meaning President Trump ... ‘the boss is not going to leave under any circumstances.’”
She said Scavino told her, “We are just going to stay in power.”
“And I said to him, ‘Well, it doesn’t quite work that way, you realize?’ and he said, ‘We don’t care,’” Ellis testified.
Powell told interviewers in her proffer video that she had been in the room on multiple occasions when White House staffers told Trump that he lost the 2020 election, adding to evidence uncovered by House investigators that Trump was well informed of the veracity of the election results.
Powell said she did not believe Trump lost and thought she could help him remain president. Asked why Trump listened to her legal advice over that of his White House counsel, Powell said: “Because we were the only ones willing to support his effort to sustain the White House. I mean, everybody else was telling him to pack up and go.”