For The Record

New York Times report says emails show Trump lawyer acknowledged political advantage to dubious lawsuits

By: - October 18, 2023 4:40 pm

Kenneth Chesebro

According to emails uncovered by the New York Times, attorney Kenneth Chesebro acknowledged a political agenda in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a revelation that could hamper Chesebro’s defense when his case goes to trial in Fulton County as early as next week.

The Times published quotes from Dec. 24, 2020 emails seeming to show that Chesebro and other Trump lawyers were considering the political ramifications of the potential legal action challenging election results in Wisconsin ahead of the official counting of the Electoral College votes in Congress. In the account, Chesebro says the plan is all but certain to fail, but could be useful as an excuse for Congressional Republicans to reject the election results.

According to the Times, “Mr. Chesebro made clear he was considering politics and was well aware of how the Trump campaign’s legal filings could be used as ammunition for Republicans’ efforts to overturn the results when Congress met to certify the Electoral College outcome on Jan. 6, 2021.”

“I particularly agree that getting this on file gives more ammo to the justices fighting for the court to intervene,” Chesebro allegedly wrote in a response to fellow attorney and co-defendant John Eastman. “I think the odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”

“Jan. 6” would later become shorthand for the riot at the U.S. Capitol, in which thousands of Trump supporters seeking to overturn the 2020 election broke in and delayed the certification of Joe Biden as president.

Chesebro’s attorneys have tried to argue that the case against him should be thrown out in part because of attorney-client privilege.

In a Sept. 20 court filing that does not specifically mention the Dec. 24, 2020 email, defense attorneys sought to throw out “any legal correspondence between Mr. Chesebro and those affiliated with his client, the Trump Campaign, arguing that all of Chesebro’s legal memos and emails were created under his role as a lawyer.

“As such, all memoranda and e-mails authored for the Trump Campaign in furtherance of the alternate-electors legal strategy constitute core attorney opinion work product, and thus are protected under both the work-product doctrine and the attorney-client privilege.”

The revelation of the new email chain could undercut arguments that the Trump attorneys were solely focused on legal advice rather than politics.

Chesebro and Trump attorney Sidney Powell are set to begin trial Oct. 23.


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Ross Williams
Ross Williams

Before joining the Georgia Recorder, Ross Williams covered local and state government for the Marietta Daily Journal. His work earned recognition from the Georgia Associated Press Media Editors and the Georgia Press Association, including beat reporting, business writing and non-deadline reporting.