EPA/USA TodayScott Hall (left) in the courtroom
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 08:48
One of former President Trump’s eighteen co-defendants in the election manipulation trial in Georgia has pleaded guilty to multiple charges in that case. Trump supporter Scott Hall has reached a settlement with the Public Prosecution Service, which means that he will agree to five years’ probation and a fine, but in return he will testify against his co-defendants. The latter is especially important.
Hall is one of nineteen defendants in the extensive conspiracy case in the state of Georgia, in which, in addition to Hall and Trump, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former chief of staff Mark Meadows have been charged. With this case, the Public Prosecution Service in Georgia wants to demonstrate that there was a criminal conspiracy to have the election results in the state declared invalid, even though those involved knew that no fraud had been committed.
Hall, 59, has pleaded guilty to five charges in the case, in which he is accused of unlawfully accessing equipment and data from a Georgia election office. He and other Trump supporters are said to have been looking for evidence of election fraud, but by unlawfully gaining access to the voting systems he himself broke the law.
Small player, important testimony
The previously completely unknown Republican is a small player in the large conspiracy trial, but the settlement he has now reached in exchange for a relatively low sentence is of great significance. Part of the plea agreement requires Hall to testify in the case, making him an important source of incriminating information against his co-defendants. That actually makes his testimony much more important than his conviction.
The settlement with Hall could be bad news, especially for Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell. Powell, who at the time spread many unsubstantiated theories about voter fraud, is accused of being deeply involved in Hall’s unlawful access to the equipment and data. If Hall now testifies against her, it will increase the pressure on her to also release information that could be incriminating for other co-defendants.
Scott Hall is the first suspect willing to talk about the other defendants. His willingness to do so is explained by some experts as “the first domino to fall”, as former prosecutor Barb McQuade, now a professor in Michigan, describes it. In doing so, she suggests that after Hall, several suspects will make incriminating statements about each other.
Former President Trump and the rest of the suspects maintain their innocence for the time being. Trump himself speaks of a political process and a witch hunt. Meanwhile, the Public Prosecution Service in Georgia is preparing for at least two hearings in the trial. One of those cases will be heard on October 23, in which Sidney Powell, among others, is on trial.