WASHINGTON — Sidney Powell, the Dallas lawyer who was once a key member of Donald Trump’s legal team until the former president’s personal attorneys publicly disavowed her, has come under scrutiny renewed as the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot continues its bombshell public hearings.
On Tuesday, during the panel’s seventh public hearing into the attack and its evolution, Powell found herself in the spotlight again as the committee released more details about a December 2020 meeting that an aide called a “unbalanced”.
As dozens of lawsuits and his voter fraud allegations have failed, Trump met late on the night of Dec. 18 with Powell and other attorneys at the White House before tweeting the invitation to the rally — “Be there, it will be wild!”
Here are five things to know about Powell:
Seizure of voting machines
In her opening statement at the committee’s first public hearing in June, Rep. Liz Cheney, the top Republican on the panel, said Trump had met with Powell, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Patrick Byrne, the former head of the online network. retail company Overstock on Dec. 18 to discuss “spectacular milestones.”
Those steps, Cheney said, included ideas such as rerunning elections and seizing voting machines by the military. Cheney touted that meeting as the spark that inspired Trump to tweet later that night, “Be there,” referring to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. “Will be Wild!”
The committee also confirmed on Tuesday that Trump had even considered tapping Powell to be the special adviser to oversee an investigation into voter fraud, a plan that his advisers, including Giuliani, opposed.
The Los Angeles Times reported that on the same date in December, Powell, Flynn and former Overstock.com chief executive Patrick Byrne presented Trump with a draft executive order the president could use to take control of voting machines used in the 2020 elections.
The Jan. 6 panel first subpoenaed Powell, along with Giuliani and Trump campaign lawyers Jenna Ellis and Boris Epshteyn, in January of this year.
Keep a public profile
Powell continued to appear at conservative events promoting Trump’s unproven claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Powell was scheduled to attend and speak at a June screening of the pro-Trump film “2,000 Mules” in Dallas with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.
Promotional materials for the event, organized by Jewish Conservatives of Dallas, said Powell would be there to sign copies of two books she has written, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption at the Department of Justiceand Conviction Machine: Resisting abuse by federal prosecutors.
Texas State Bar Proceedings
The Texas State Bar is seeking to impose sanctions on Powell for his failed attempts to challenge the 2020 election results on behalf of the Trump campaign.
A state bar committee filed a petition in March accusing Powell of professional misconduct for filing “frivolous” voter fraud lawsuits in four states, making false statements in court and offering evidence she knew to be false. .
The petition asks the court to determine an appropriate penalty, which could range from a reprimand to disbarment. That’s on top of penalties Powell has already faced in Michigan and a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems Corp. for spreading conspiracy theories related to their voting machines.
“The Texas Bar’s decision was totally expected, but it’s an unfortunate and poor decision by the Bar,” Powell told Reuters. “No lawyer could practice law according to the rule he would impose on me.”
Disavowed by Trump insiders
After promoting outlandish and unfounded allegations of an international conspiracy to steal the November 2020 election, Giuliani and Ellis publicly disavowed Powell and made it clear that she was no longer affiliated with the Trump campaign.
“Sidney Powell practices law alone. She is not a member of Trump’s legal team. She is also not the President’s attorney in a personal capacity,” they said in a statement.
A Trump adviser reportedly said The New York Times that Powell “was too conspiratorial even to [Trump].”
Powell has been licensed to practice law in Texas since 1978.
Powell is originally from Durham, North Carolina, but served as an assistant United States Attorney and Appeals Division Chief in the West and North Texas Districts.
In West Texas, Powell was a prosecutor in the trial of American drug trafficker Jimmy Chagra for criminal enterprise violations. Among other crimes, Chagra was implicated in the 1979 assassination of U.S. District Judge John H. Wood Jr. in San Antonio.
Powell established her law practice in Dallas, focusing on high profile trials in 1993. She is affiliated with the Texas State Bar and was a member of the Dallas Bar Association until the end of 2014, according to the association.
This report contains material from the Dallas Morning News archives.