When Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis first announced her sweeping case against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants, legal pundits immediately began saying that the Georgia case might be more dangerous to Trump than even the federal cases brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith. The reasons were manyfold, but focused on two issues.
One is that the results in Fulton County, were Willis to earn a conviction, wouldn’t be pardonable by a future GOP president, including potentially Trump himself.
The second reason is the structure of the case: where Smith streamlined his election fraud case naming only Trump as a defendant despite the work of multiple individuals involved in the alleged criminal action, Willis cast her net wide. Her RICO conspiracy structure set up a network of potential flippers — accused people who could trade damning testimony against those higher up the chain in exchange for leniency in sentencing for their own crimes.
This week Willis “flipped” the first co-defendant: Scott Hall, a Georgia bail bondsman who was facing seven charges including a RICO violation and conspiring to steal sensitive election data, pled guilty to five misdemeanors. In exchange Hall received five years of probation, a $5,000 fine and no jail time.
(Note: Georgia natives among the defendants, especially a bail bondsman, may be particularly good targets for flipping as they would be extra sensitive to spending any time in the notorious Georgia jails.)
Commenting on Hall’s deal, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance points out that Hall’s direct contact with two more prominent Trump co-defendants makes Sidney Powell and Jeff Clark the “next step up the chain” for the prosecution to try to flip against Trump and those higher up.
“If prosecutors follow a typical trajectory,” Vance writes, “they will work up the chain from Hall to Powell and Clark, and perhaps others.”
Getting specific about the chain link between Hall and Powell, Vance writes: “Hall was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell when she went to Coffee County, Georgia on January 7, the day after the insurrection, to carry out her scheme to illegally access voting machines. Hall’s cooperation is a bad sign for Powell.”
Getting specific about the chain link between Hall and Clark, Vance writes: “Hall reportedly had an hour long call with Jeff Clark on January 2nd. That’s a long time for the Georgia bail bondsman to have been on the line with the Attorney General-wannabe who wanted to push states Biden won to call those results into question based on untrue allegations of fraud to try and swing the electoral vote call to Trump. It’s unlikely the call was just an hour of pleasantries.”