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Taking a Look at the North Carolinians Caught Up in the Donald Trump Indictments

Source: The News & Observer

There’s a saying in North Carolina newsrooms that just about every major story has some connection to North Carolina, even if it didn’t happen here – and as The News & Observer points out, when it comes to Donald Trump’s indictments, there are multiple connections to our state.

The twice-impeached disgraced former president was recently indicted for a fourth time in the last five months, bringing the total number of charges across all four cases to 91. Those charges include crimes such as conspiracy to defraud the United States, withholding classified documents from the government, racketeering and falsifying business records.

Throughout Trump’s legal issues, there have been several North Carolina figures who have appeared and had significant roles in the cases (some potentially as co-conspirators). 

Here is a look at the North Carolinians who are tied up in the ex-president’s legal troubles:

Sidney Powell 

  • A UNC graduate and lawyer from Raleigh, she was not identified by name in the most recent Trump indictment, but Powell is believed to be one of six co-conspirators who are mentioned in charges related to Trump’s lies about voter fraud. She has not yet been charged with a crime. 
  • Powell joined Trump’s legal team after the 2020 election and sued Georgia state officials, claiming that they committed large-scale voter fraud by manipulating voting machines owned by Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion later sued Powell and FOX News – who repeated the false claims – for defamation. FOX ended up having to pay Dominion $787 million to settle the case.
  • According to The News & Observer, Powell appears to be the person called “Co-conspirator 3” in the indictment. The description of Co-conspirator 3 is “an attorney whose unfounded claims of election fraud the Defendant privately acknowledged to others sounded ‘crazy.’ Nonetheless, the Defendant embraced and publicly amplified Co-conspirator 3 disinformation.”
  • Powell was fired from Trump’s legal team not long after beginning her time there.
  • When Trump’s fourth indictment was unsealed on Aug. 14, Powell’s name was included among 18 others who are facing charges, including Trump and former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani. She is facing seven charges: racketeering, two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to defraud the state and conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy.

Mark Meadows 

  • The former congressman from North Carolina was Trump’s final chief of staff and was a key figure in the Jan. 6 committee’s report. Meadows attempted multiple times to prove Trump’s made-up claims of voter fraud. As part of his efforts, he pressured Georgia election officials to declare Trump the winner despite the vote tally showing that he did not win the state. 
  • Meadows was held in criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to cooperate with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee but the U.S. Department of Justice did not act on those charges.
  • According to The Washington Post, some thought Meadows might have cooperated with investigators because, despite his clear connections to Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, he didn’t appear to be listed as a co-conspirator in any of the first three indictments.
  • Unsealed in mid-August, Trump’s fourth indictment includes charges against Meadows. He was charged for his connection to the ex-president’s efforts to steal the 2020 election. Meadows faces two charges: racketeering and solicitation of violation of oath of a public officer.

Cleta Mitchell

  • Mitchell, a Pinehurst-based lawyer, was one of the people on the phone call in which Trump asked the Georgia secretary of state to “find” the votes he needed to win. She was instrumental in bringing together the lawyers who challenged Trump’s loss in court, according to The News & Observer.
  • Mitchell was forced to resign from her law firm after it became known that she participated in the call to the Georgia secretary of state. Following her resignation, Mitchell became a well-known national figure in the “election integrity” movement. Mitchell partnered with election conspiracists to push for more restrictive voting regulations. 
  • Mitchell, chair of “Election Integrity Network” (EIN), met with Republican leaders in the North Carolina legislature just before they introduced two anti-democratic elections bills in the state Senate that were aimed at making voting harder, or even impossible, for everyday North Carolinians. Despite denials that EIN had any influence on the bills, the NCGOP’s proposal mirrors (sometimes word-for-word) language advocated by extremist organizations like EIN. Leaked internal documents obtained by WRAL showed that the language of Senate Bill 747 “largely matches up with the official legislative agenda of [EIN].
  • Mitchell does not appear to have a connection to Trump’s third indictment. A case in Georgia related to Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss in the state could result in a new indictment and, considering Mitchell’s involvement in the Georgia fiasco, it would likely be bad news for her.

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