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Bail bondsman charged alongside Trump in Georgia pleads guilty

Hall, 59, had been accused of taking part in breach of election equipment, will serve five years of probation

By Kate Brumback and Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press
Published: September 29, 2023, 9:02pm
2 Photos
FILE - Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks in the Fulton County Government Center during a news conference, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta. A judge on Friday, Sept. 8, is expected to release the full report compiled by a special grand jury that helped an investigation by the Georgia prosecutor who ultimately indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 others.
FILE - Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks in the Fulton County Government Center during a news conference, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta. A judge on Friday, Sept. 8, is expected to release the full report compiled by a special grand jury that helped an investigation by the Georgia prosecutor who ultimately indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 others. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File) Photo Gallery

ATLANTA — A bail bondsman charged alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others in the Georgia election interference case pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges on Friday, becoming the first defendant to accept a plea deal with prosecutors.

As part of the deal, Scott Graham Hall will receive five years of probation and agreed to testify in further proceedings. He was also ordered to write a letter of apology to the citizens of Georgia and is forbidden from participating in polling activities.

Hall, 59, pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties, all misdemeanors, at a surprise court hearing. Prosecutors had accused him of participating in a breach of election equipment in rural Coffee County and initially charged him with racketeering and six conspiracy counts, all felonies.

He is one of the lower-level players in the indictment filed last month alleging a wide-ranging scheme to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory and keep the Republican Trump in power. But the plea deal nonetheless is a major development in the case and marks a win for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as she pursues a historic racketeering case against a former president.

Hall’s attorney Jeff Weiner, who was in court with him Friday, said that under the deal, his client’s record will be wiped clean after he completes probation. The agreement allows Hall to avoid the stress of “living under a serious felony indictment” without knowing when he might go to trial, the attorney said in a phone interview.

“This way, it’s over,” Weiner said. “He can sleep well and get on with his life.”

Weiner said Hall does not know much about the alleged conspiracy, and he would be surprised if prosecutors called him to testify.

Trump attorney Steve Sadow referred a request for comment on Hall’s plea deal to Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung, who did not immediately respond.

Hall was described in the 98-page indictment as an associate of longtime Trump adviser David Bossie.

The security breach in the county about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta is among the first known attempts by Trump allies to access voting systems as they sought evidence to back up their unsubstantiated claims that such equipment had been used to manipulate the presidential vote. It was followed a short time later by breaches in three Michigan counties involving some of the same people and again in a western Colorado county that Trump won handily.

Authorities allege the breach began on Jan. 7, 2021, a day after the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, and continued over the span of a few weeks.

Authorities say Hall and co-defendants conspired to allow others to “unlawfully access secure voting equipment and voter data.” This included ballot images, voting equipment software and personal vote information that was later made available to people in other states, according to the indictment.

Earlier Friday, prosecutor Nathan Wade revealed at a separate hearing that the district attorney’s office planned to offer plea deals to lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro. Attorneys for the pair were present at the hearing and didn’t indicate whether their clients would accept the offers.

Powell and Chesebro have requested speedy trials and are set to be tried together on Oct. 23, despite their lawyers arguing that they don’t know each other.

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