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Trump co-defendant pleads guilty in Georgia election case

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A defendant charged alongside former President Donald Trump in Georgia has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Scott Hall, a Georgia bail bondsman, is the first person to reach a plea deal in the case, in which Trump and 18 others were charged with racketeering conspiracy for their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Hall, 59, who was involved in a breach of election equipment, pleaded guilty Friday in Atlanta to five counts of conspiring to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties. The plea deal included an agreement to a sentence of five years of probation, a $5,000 fine and a letter of apology to the state.

Part of the plea deal requires Hall to testify against others at future trials or hearings of “any co-defendants” in the election racketeering case. The felony charges against Hall were dropped as part of the agreement.

Trump was not mentioned by name during Hall’s plea hearing, but a Fulton County prosecutor did mention co-defendant and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell as being involved in the alleged scheme to gain access to Dominion voting machines in Coffee County, Ga.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee indicated that Hall’s plea was scheduled hastily on Friday. A prosecutor said Hall provided a recorded statement about his involvement to the district attorney’s office earlier in the day.

“This is not a matter that had been scheduled today, but I was informed by both parties that they would like to have an impromptu court hearing and I understand that this is a change of plea,” McAfee said at the outset of the court session Friday afternoon. During the 25-minute hearing, the judge accepted Hall’s guilty pleas and imposed the sentence of five-years probation agreed on by both sides.

Hall was charged as part of the sweeping racketeering scheme alleged by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis against Trump, several of his top aides and a slew of Georgie GOP activists who aided Trump’s bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Hall was identified in the indictment as participating in an effort to access the voting machines and equipment in Coffee County — a post-election bid by Trump allies who were purportedly investigating allegations of voter fraud in hopes of reversing Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Hall was in touch with several of the other alleged co-conspirators around the time of the breach and also had contact with figures in Trump’s orbit. For example, the indictment notes that Hall had a 63-minute phone call with alleged co-conspirator Jeffrey Clark, then the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, on Jan. 2, 2021, to discuss the Georgia election.

Under the deal, Hall is forbidden from speaking with the media until all trials related to the case are complete and may not be involved in any activities related to voting. Under Georgia law, he could be left without a criminal record if he successfully completes probation.

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