Trump Lawyer Admits to Falsehoods in 2020 Fraud Claims

Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who represented President Donald J. Trump after his loss in the 2020 election, admitted in a sworn statement released on Wednesday that she had knowingly misrepresented the facts in several of her public claims that widespread voting fraud led to Mr. Trump’s defeat.

The admissions by Ms. Ellis were part of an agreement to accept public censure and settle disciplinary measures brought against her by state bar officials in Colorado, her home state. Last year, the officials opened an investigation of Ms. Ellis after a complaint from the 65 Project, a bipartisan legal watchdog group. The group accused her of professional misconduct in her efforts to help Mr. Trump promote his claims of voting fraud and undertake “a concerted effort to overturn the legitimate 2020 presidential election results.”

According to the statement, some of Ms. Ellis’s lies about election fraud were made during appearances on Fox News, several of whose top hosts and executives were recently shown to have disparaged Mr. Trump’s fraud claims in private even though they supported them in public. The revelations about these discrepancies have emerged in a series of court filings by Dominion Voting Systems, a voting-machine company that filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox for promoting a conspiracy theory about its role in the election results.

Ms. Ellis, part of the so-called elite strike force of lawyers that took to the air and traveled across the country in support of Mr. Trump’s false claims of fraud, is also embroiled in the Justice Department’s investigation of the former president’s sprawling efforts to reverse his loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr. As part of the investigation — which was taken over in November by a special counsel, Jack Smith — dozens of grand jury subpoenas have been issued, many of which have requested information about Ms. Ellis.

In a message posted on Twitter Thursday morning, Ms. Ellis sought to split hairs concerning her agreement with officials in Colorado, saying that she never admitted to lying about election fraud, which she asserted “requires INTENTIONALLY making a false statement.”

But in her stipulation with bar officials, she agreed that censure was merited when lawyers “knowingly engage” in any “conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”

“It appears that Ms. Ellis is continuing in her pattern of knowing misrepresentations and falsehoods,” Michael Teter, the managing director of the 65 Project, said on Thursday. “If she continues down this path, it will not be long before she is subject to further disciplinary action.”

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When she joined Mr. Trump’s legal team, Ms. Ellis liked to describe herself as a “constitutional law attorney,” although a review of her professional history by The New York Times, as well as interviews with more than a half-dozen lawyers who worked with her, showed that she was not the seasoned constitutional law expert she claimed.

As part of her public censure, Ms. Ellis agreed that her legal work for Mr. Trump “caused actual harm by undermining the American public’s confidence in the presidential election.” Bar officials noted in the statement that “a selfish motive” and “a pattern of misconduct” were aggravating factors in the case.

Ms. Ellis admitted to 10 misrepresentations of the facts during her work for Mr. Trump, beginning within weeks of the election’s being called for Mr. Biden.

On Nov. 20, 2020, for example, Ms. Ellis appeared on Maria Bartiromo’s show on Fox Business describing the evidence that Mr. Trump’s legal team had collected to support their claims of fraud — a position that she now acknowledges was untrue.

“We have affidavits from witnesses, we have voter intimidation,” she falsely claimed on Ms. Bartiromo’s show, “we have the ballots that were manipulated, we have all kinds of statistics that show that this was a coordinated effort in all of these states to transfer votes either from Trump to Biden, to manipulate the ballots, to count them in secret.”

Two weeks later, Ms. Ellis appeared on Jeanine Pirro’s show on Fox and declared that Mr. Trump’s legal team had discovered more than 500,000 votes in Arizona “that were cast illegally.” She acknowledged in the statement issued on Wednesday that this claim was also false.


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