What you need to know about Jenna Ellis’ 2020 election charges

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Who is indicted alongside former President Donald Trump in the Georgia election case? Meet some of his co-defendants and read more about their specific charges.

Conservative lawyer Jenna Ellis, who worked for former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, is one of 18 people indicted alongside Trump for allegedly participating in a wide-ranging effort to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

What charges does Ellis face in Georgia?

Ellis was charged on 2 counts:

  • Violation of the Georgia RICO act
  • Solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer

What does the Fulton County indictment allege?

The indictment says that Ellis’ involvement in the conspiracy to overturn election results began at a November 2020 press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, where she appeared alongside former Trump lawyers and fellow co-defendants Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. At that event, the lawyers presented false evidence of election fraud and accused states of suppressing votes.

READ MORE: Read the full Georgia indictment against Trump and 18 allies

Ellis went on to travel primarily with Giuliani to Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan, with the goal of convincing elected officials to replace their states’ legally selected electors with those who would instead cast votes for Trump. Trump and his lawyers, including Ellis, met with Pennsylvania legislators at the White House and “discussed holding a special session” of the state’s legislature, the indictment alleges.

As part of these efforts, Ellis also reached out to Pennsylvania’s House Speaker and Senate Pro Tempore, the House Speaker, Senate president and other legislators in Arizona, and Michigan’s House Oversight Committee, prosecutors say.

READ MORE: What you need to know about John Eastman’s 2020 election charges

In Georgia, prosecutors allege Ellis met with members of the state’s Senate Judiciary Subcommittee and urged them to appoint a second set of electors. The indictment says this both furthered the conspiracy and was also a solicitation of the violation of a public officer’s oath.

Ellis is also accused of writing two memos, incorrectly suggesting Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to prevent Congress from counting certain states’ electoral college votes during the Jan. 6 certification of Joe Biden’s election win. In the first, she said Pence should not open the votes from six states “in dispute,” according to the indictment. In the second memo, written on Jan. 5, 2021, Ellis said Pence should stop Congress’ count at Arizona, which falls third when moving through the list of states alphabetically.

What is Ellis’ connection to Trump?

During the 2016 primary campaign, Ellis was critical of Trump, calling him an “unethical, corrupt, lying, criminal, dirtbag” in a March social media post. By the time she joined his campaign’s legal team in 2019, she had changed her mind, telling CNN she “was completely wrong about him back then.”

WATCH: Cassidy Hutchinson discusses what she saw and experienced in the Trump White House

Ellis was part of the campaign’s lawsuit against The Washington Post, accusing the newspaper of publishing “false and defamatory” statements in two opinion pieces that suggested Trump’s team had colluded with Russia. A judge dismissed the case in February.

After Trump’s loss, he appointed Giuliani, Ellis and Powell to investigate fraud and help him attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

What did Ellis do before working for Trump?

According to a May 2020 opinion piece in Newsweek written by her father, Ellis was homeschooled, along with her siblings. She interned for Colorado’s lieutenant governor when she was 14, worked on a U.S. senate campaign in high school, and interned for the Boulder County district attorney’s office.

Ellis initially went to Cedarville University in Ohio, but transferred to Colorado State University to pursue a degree in journalism, according to a Cedarville news release. She graduated from the University of Richmond’s law school in 2011, and joined the district attorney’s office in Weld County, Colorado, the following year.

Ellis was fired in 2013, according to The Colorado Sun, citing state records that showed she “failed to meet the employer’s expectations” and “made mistakes on cases the employer believes she should not have made.” Ellis told The Wall Street Journal she was fired because she “refused to bring a case to trial that she believed was an unethical prosecution.”

READ MORE: Trump won’t try to move Georgia case to federal court after judge rejected similar bid by Meadows

Ellis went on to work at private law firms in Colorado before joining the faculty of Colorado Christian University, where she taught courses including pre-law and political science. In 2015, she self-published a book titled “The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution: A Guide for Christians to Understand America’s Current Constitutional Crisis,” and regularly promoted herself as a constitutional scholar. The New York Times reported, however, that her record does not show “any time spent litigating election law cases.”

Ellis, an evangelical Christian, contributed pieces to the Washington Examiner arguing in favor of conservative principles. In 2018, she became the director of the James Dobson Policy Institute, a Christian nonprofit organization that “promotes and teaches biblical principles that support marriage, family, and child-development,” according to its website.

She also began defending Trump and criticizing his detractors in appearances on cable news and radio. Trump lauded her comments on Fox News, and brought her on as a campaign adviser in 2019.

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