Vie de l'église

Former legal counsel for Thomas More Society indicted with Trump in Georgia

A former senior legal adviser and attorney for former President Donald Trump who served as a special counsel for a conservative Catholic-led law firm is among the 19 individuals charged in connection to an alleged criminal plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

Jenna Ellis, a constitutional lawyer and outspoken conservative podcaster who has echoed the former president’s falsehoods of a stolen election, is charged with violating Georgia’s RICO Act and with Solicitation of Violation of Oath by Public Officer, according to a 41-count indictment returned Aug. 14 by a Fulton County grand jury.

Ellis, who joined the Thomas More Society as a legal counsel in July 2020 at a time when the Illinois-based public interest law firm was ramping up its « election integrity » initiative, is accused of meeting with legislators in swing states that President Joseph Biden won in November 2020, and laying out a plan to appoint false slates of electors to illegally overturn the election in those states.

Contacted by email, Ellis directed NCR to a statement she posted Aug. 15 on X, the social platform previously known as Twitter.

Ellis wrote: « The Democrats and the Fulton County DA are criminalizing the practice of law. I am resolved to trust the Lord and I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him. I deeply appreciate all of my friends who have reached out offering encouragement and support. »

Ellis, an evangelical Christian, posted her statement along with a graphic that read, « even so it is well with my soul, » an excerpt from a 19th-century hymn.

The Thomas More Society did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Ellis’ indictment. The group, which is named for the 16th-century English lawyer and martyr, specializes in cases pertaining to religious liberty issues but has recently also branched out into election-related litigation efforts.

In 2020, Ellis was listed as a member of the leadership and advisory board for the « Amistad Project, » an initiative of the Thomas More Society that challenged election results in swing states that Biden won. In December 2020, Ellis and the president of the Thomas More Society told The Washington Post that she was not involved with the Amistad Project. They said her work as a special counsel for the Thomas More Society dealt with providing legal representation for churches challenging COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020.

Ellis, Trump and 17 other individuals who worked on the former president’s behalf to challenge the 2020 election results, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and attorneys Sidney Powell and John Eastman, were charged with criminal racketeering following a yearslong probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Trump — who according to several polls remains the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, despite now being indicted in four separate criminal cases — is facing 13 counts in Georgia, including allegations that he tried to pressure state officials to break the law and declare him the winner there.

In addition to meeting, calling and testifying before state officials in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Georgia in alleged attempts to overturn Biden’s victories in those states, the Fulton County indictments accuse Ellis of making « false statements concerning fraud » in the election and for writing two memorandums that « outlined strategy for disrupting and delaying » the joint session of Congress that met on Jan. 6, 2021, to certify Biden’s victory.

Federal and state courts dismissed more than 60 lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its allies alleging systemic electoral fraud, finding no evidence to back those claims. 

In March 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court censured Ellis for violating that state’s legal regulations that prohibit attorneys from making « reckless, knowing, or intentional misrepresentations. » The court said Ellis violated that rule « when, as counsel to then President Trump and the Trump campaign, she made a number of public statements about the November 2020 presidential election that were false. »