Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who was among the 19 defendants indicted in Georgia Monday for efforts to overturn the 2020 election, was present outside the Capitol building on January 6, 2021, with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, CNN reported Friday, a discovery that could help prosecutors in their case against the Trump ally.
Chesebro was with Jones outside the Capitol on the afternoon of January 6 and appeared to be filming the conspiracy theorist, including in restricted areas, CNN reports based on public databases, video footage and interviews, though there is no evidence he actually entered the Capitol building or in any way participated in the violence during the riot.
Video footage and photographs show Chesebro on the steps of the Capitol building during the riot, with CNN noting he appeared to get halfway up the steps before heading down, and footage shows Chesebro in sections of the Capitol grounds that were cited in an indictment against Infowars host Owen Shroyer as being unlawful to have entered.
Chesebro is the only known Trump attorney or co-conspirator to be present at the Capitol building that day, CNN notes.
Chesebro was indicted in Fulton County for helping devise the Trump campaign’s effort to block Congress from certifying the election results on January 6, authoring multiple memos about the effort, as well as an email suggesting the “odds” the Supreme Court would block the election results could go up if justices “start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”
The attorney’s presence at the Capitol could help prosecutors show his efforts to overturn the election results were those of an activist, rather than a lawyer performing official duties by advising his client, critics cited by CNN note, with Institute for Strategic Dialogue expert Jared Holt telling the outlet it “further illustrate[s] how thin the line was between the serious, credentialed people who sought to undermine election results and the extremist figures who sought to unleash havoc was in that period.”
Chesebro has not yet responded to a request for comment, and declined to comment to CNN, citing ongoing litigation.
“Regardless of Chesebro’s potential criminal liability for being in the restricted areas of Capitol grounds, this evidence could be cited by prosecutors as further proof that Chesebro was not operating as a bona fide legal advisor but rather was an activist aligned in the cause to overturn the election,” New York University law professor Ryan Goodman told CNN. “It undercuts defenses Chesebro might mount that he was functioning only in the role of providing legal advice for clients.”
Chesebro previously decried the violence of the January 6 riot in a June 2022 interview with Talking Points Memo, saying “it was the worst possible thing that could have happened in terms of lawyers that had serious concerns about the election in several states, that were never really addressed on the merits.” The attorney also defended his post-election efforts, describing it as “what lawyers do.” “It is the duty of any attorney to leave no stone unturned in examining the legal options that exist in a particular situation.”
What To Watch For
Chesebro, as well as the other 18 Fulton County defendants, have been ordered to surrender to authorities by August 25. It’s still unclear when the trial in the case could take place. The attorney was also listed as a co-conspirator in the Justice Department’s indictment against Trump trying to overturn the 2020 election results, but has not been formally charged in that case. Prosecutors have not ruled out additional charges could still be brought.
Chesebro joined Trump’s legal team in 2020, and his memos include one that laid out what became known as the “fake elector” scheme, in which GOP officials in battleground states submitted false slates of electors to Congress claiming Trump, rather than President Joe Biden, had won. The attorney acknowledged the plan was unlikely to be upheld in court, but could “buy the Trump campaign more time to win litigation that would deprive Biden of electoral votes and/or add to Trump’s column.” The federal indictment identifies Chesebro only as co-conspirator number five, an attorney “who assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.” Unlike other Trump attorneys who have faced significant consequences for their roles post-election, the Fulton County indictment marked the first instance of Chesebro being punished for his work with Trump, though a disciplinary complaint was filed against him in New York.
Kenneth Chesebro, alleged architect of fake electors’ plot, followed Alex Jones around Capitol grounds on January 6th (CNN)
Who Is Kenneth Chesebro? The Lesser-Known Trump Attorney Behind 2020 Electors Plot (Forbes)
Giuliani, Powell, And Trump’s Other Attorneys Criminally Charged — After Years Of Efforts To Punish Them For 2020 Election Roles (Forbes)
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