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Trump campaign disavows conspiracy theory-spouting lawyer Sidney Powell

Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani listens to lawyer Sidney Powell at a Washington news conference Thursday.
Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani listens to lawyer Sidney Powell at a news conference Thursday at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

The Trump campaign’s legal team is distancing itself from firebrand conservative attorney Sidney Powell after a tumultuous several days in which she made multiple incorrect statements about the voting process, propounded unsupported and complex conspiracy theories and vowed to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.

“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity,” Rudolph W. Giuliani and another lawyer for Trump, Jenna Ellis, said in a statement Sunday.

The statement came days after Powell and Giuliani appeared in public together to allege, without foundation, widespread fraud in the presidential election. Barely more than a week ago, Trump himself hailed Powell’s role as one of his lawyers, tweeting that she was part of a team of “wonderful lawyers and representatives” led by Giuliani.

There was no immediate clarification of Sunday’s statement from the Trump campaign, and Powell did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

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The statement indicates further chaos for a legal team that has lost case after case in contested states as it works to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election. In the latest blow, a federal judge Saturday dismissed the Trump campaign’s effort to block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania in a blistering ruling that described the arguments as “strained” and “unsupported by evidence.”

Powell made headlines with her statements at a Thursday news conference where, joined by Giuliani and Ellis, she incorrectly suggested that a server hosting evidence of voting irregularities was in Germany, that voting software used by Georgia and other states was created at the direction of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and that votes for Trump had probably been switched in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

Joe Biden is expected to announce some choices for his Cabinet and states will certify results even as Trump’s fight to reverse them enters a third week.

In a subsequent interview with the Trump-supporting conservative news channel Newsmax, Powell appeared to accuse Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, and its Republican secretary of state of being part of a conspiracy involving a voting-system contract award that she contends harmed Trump’s reelection bid.

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Biden won Georgia, the first time a Democrat has done so in a presidential election in 28 years.

“Georgia’s probably going to be the first state I’m going to blow up, and Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it,” she said, later adding that a court filing she hoped to submit this week involving the state would be “biblical.”

The status of that lawsuit was unclear Sunday night.

President Trump’s legal team says his campaign has requested an official recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race using safeguards including signature matching.

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Even Fox News host Tucker Carlson has weighed in on Powell’s dubious claims, saying on his show last week that his team had asked her for evidence but that she had provided none.

Christopher Krebs, who was recently fired by Trump as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, tweeted Sunday night that “any claims of vote count manipulation” in Georgia “were nonsense” since the systems in the state had paper records that were validated in the recount.

Powell, a former federal prosecutor, took over last year as the lead lawyer for Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.

Since then, a federal judge rejected her claims of prosecutorial misconduct and has responded skeptically to some of her arguments, including her suggestion at a hearing several weeks ago that her conversations with Trump about the Flynn case were privileged.

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She has supported a Justice Department motion to dismiss the Flynn prosecution, a request that remains pending before U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.


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