Judge Scott MacAfee looks confused holding some documents.

Donald Trump’s Georgia Co-Defendants Really Did the Bare Minimum With These ‘Apology’ Letters

In recent months, several of Donald Trump’s co-defendants in his Georgia election interference case have pleaded guilty to the charges against them. However, in their admissions of guilt and pleas of contrition, some have proven more convincing than others.

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Lawyers Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, and Jenna Ellis, along with bail bondsman Scott Hall, have all pled guilty to their roles in the attempt to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Back in October of 2023, Ellis read her apology letter in court, tearing up as she expressed her regret.

“If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges,” she said. “I look back on this whole experience with deep remorse.”

At the time, Ellis’ letter drew plenty of side-eye. What could she possibly have learned since helping Trump and Rudy Giuliani try to overturn election results that wasn’t already very obvious public knowledge? Was she actually remorseful or just covering her butt legally? And did it even matter? We had a lot of questions.

Sidney Powell & Kenneth Chesebro’s one-sentence “apologies”

Still, Ellis’ apology now looks like A+ work compared to the letters from Powell and Chesebro, which have been obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Each of these “apologies” is just one vague and noncommital sentence long.

“I apologize for my actions in connection with the events in Coffee County,” Powell’s letter reads.

“I apologize to the citizens of the State of Georgia and of Fulton County for my involvement in Count 15 of the indictment,” Chesebro wrote in his.

The AJC writes that the defendants “were required to pen the letters as part of the terms of their plea agreements with Fulton prosecutors earlier this fall,” noting, “Chesebro could be seen writing his from the defense table in the minutes before he accepted his deal in front of Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.”

As for Hall, his letter at least read as closer to human. “I wish I had never involved myself in the post-election activities that brought me before the court,” he wrote, per the AJC. “Although I certainly did not mean to violate any laws, I now realize that I did and have accepted responsibility for my actions.”

It’s unclear if Powell and Chesebro’s phoned-in letters will affect the terms of their deals, which appear to have already been set. According to the AP, “As part of [Powell’s] deal, she will serve six years of probation, will be fined $6,000 and will have to write an apology letter to Georgia and its residents. She also recorded a statement for prosecutors and agreed to testify truthfully against her co-defendants at future trials.”

These letters may be terrible but they presumably, technically, do still count as apologies, I guess.

(featured image: Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.