Trump co-defendant’s attorney confesses to Georgia witness videos leak

An attorney for Misty Hampton confessed that he was behind the leak

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 16 November 2023 12:22 GMT
Trump refers to 'radical leftists' as 'vermin' during Claremont campaign rally

The source of the leak of several witness proffer videos in Donald Trump’s sweeping RICO election interference case in Georgia has now been revealed.

Jonathan Miller, an attorney for one of Mr Trump’s co-defendants Misty Hampton, confessed in a court hearing on Wednesday that he was responsible the leak.

Mr Miller told Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee that he was coming clean so that he can “sleep well tonight” and to prevent anyone else shouldering the blame – after legal teams for Mr Trump and co-defendant Rudy Giuliani sought to pin the leak on District Attorney Fani Willis’ office.

“In being transparent with the court and to make sure that nobody else gets blamed for what happened and so that I can go to sleep well tonight, judge, I did release those videos to one outlet,” Mr Miller confessed.

“In all candor to the court, I need the court to know that.”

Despite his confession, Mr Miller stood by his actions, claiming he decided to leak the videos to the media because the “public has the right to know” the information.

“To hide those proffers, that show all the underlying things went into those pleas, it misleads the public about what’s going on,” he said.

He also argued that it was in his client’s interests to release the footage, saying that two of the statements were “directly related” to Ms Hampton.

Ms Hampton is charged with seven counts over her alleged involvement in the plot to breach the voting systems in Coffee County, Georgia.

The confession came after the judge called an emergency hearing on Wednesday and confirmed plans to implement a protective order in the high-profile case to prevent future leaks.

Judge McAfee is expected to introduce the order on Thursday morning.

Former president Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in Claremont, New Hampshire on 11 November 2023
Former president Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in Claremont, New Hampshire on 11 November 2023 (REUTERS)

It tops off a dramatic week in the case which began when parts of video statements of Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Kenneth Chesebro and Scott Hall were published by ABC News and The Washington Post on Monday.

The four witnesses were among the 19 defendants charged with violating Georgia’s RICO statute back in August for their parts in running a criminal enterprise to keep Mr Trump in power against the will of the American people.

While they all initially pleaded not guilty at their arraignments, Powell, Ellis, Chesebro and Hall have since changed their pleas and pleaded guilty to the charges.

Under the terms of the plea deals with prosecutors, they each submitted to proffer videos detailing what they know about the alleged crime scheme.

Footage from Ellis’ interview with investigators revealed her describing how Mr Trump would not leave the White House “under any circumstances” after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

Ellis, who was a campaign adviser to Mr Trump, said that Mr Trump’s chief of staff and director of social media Dan Scavino made the concerning comments during a White House Christmas party on or around 19 December 2020.

“I emphasised to him [that] I thought the ability to challenge the election results was essentially over,” Ellis told prosecutors.

“He said to me, in a kind of excited tone: ‘Well, we don’t care and we’re not gonna leave.’”

She continued: “I said, ‘what do you mean?’ And he said: ‘Well, the boss’ – meaning President Trump, and everyone understood that’s what we all called him – he said, ‘the boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. We are just going to stay in power.’”

Ellis said that she told Mr Scavino that “it doesn’t quite work that way, you realise” but he replied that “we don’t care”.

Following the leak, questions grew as to who was responsible and DA Willis called on the judge to issue a protective order.

Misty Hampton in mug shot after arrest in August
Misty Hampton in mug shot after arrest in August (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

In a bizarre moment, an attorney for defendant Harrison Floyd initially claimed their team was responsible – before saying they confessed in error, courtesy of an email “typo”.

On Wednesday, DA Willis’ office asked the judge to revoke Mr Floyd’s bond amid allegations of witness intimidation.

In a filing, prosecutors claim the leader of Black Voices for Trump has “engaged in a pattern of intimidation” through his repeated social media posts against co-defendants and witnesses in the case.

The Georgia indictment accuses Mr Trump and his allies of orchestrating and running a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere, to “accomplish the illegal goal of allowing Donald J. Trump to seize the presidential term of office, beginning on January 20, 2021”.

“This criminal organization constituted an enterprise as that term is defined in O.C.G.A. § l6-14-3(3), that is, a group of individuals associated in fact. The Defendants and other members and associates of the enterprise had connections and relationships with one another and with the enterprise,” it reads.

The criminal organisation’s members and associates “engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury”.

Besides Mr Trump, the other co-defendants are former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell, attorneys John Eastman, Ray Smith III, and Robert Cheeley, former US Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, former Trump campaign official Michael Roman, former state senator and the former chair of the Georgia Republican Party David Schafer, Georgia state senator Shawn Still, Lutheran pastor Stephen Lee, Kanye West’s former PR Trevian Kutti, former head of the Republican Party in Coffee County Cathleen Latham.

DA Willis has spent more than two years investigating efforts by Mr Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election result in the crucial swing state.

Prosecutors are calling for Harrison Floyd to return to jail
Prosecutors are calling for Harrison Floyd to return to jail (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

The investigation came following the release of a 2 January 2021 phone call Mr Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he told him to “find” enough votes to change the outcome of the election in the state.

“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Mr Trump is heard saying in the leaked phone call. “Because we won the state.”

Mr Biden won the state by less than 12,000 votes.

The investigation then expanded from that phone call to include a scheme whereby a group of fake Republican electors planned to falsely certify the results in Mr Trump’s favour instead of Mr Biden’s. The plot failed and the fake electors have since reached immunity deals with DA Willis’ office.

In total, the former president is now facing 91 charges from four separate criminal cases.

On 1 August, he was hit with a federal indictment charging him with four counts over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events leading up to the January 6 Capitol riot, following an investigation led by special counsel Jack Smith’s office.

This came after Mr Smith’s office charged Mr Trump in a separate indictment over his alleged mishandling of classified documents on leaving office.

Back in April, Mr Trump was charged for the first time with New York state charges following an investigation into hush money payments made prior to the 2016 election.

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