Meet Sidney Powell, the former federal prosecutor turned conspiracy theorist who’s fueling baseless claims about election fraud

sidney powell
  • Sidney Powell has recently made national headlines over bizarre and baseless allegations of widespread fraud against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
  • Powell is a former federal prosecutor who was hired last year to represent ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn.
  • Powell has made a number of far-fetched claims contesting the integrity of the presidential election, speaking to media outlets and at a press conference with members of the Trump campaign's legal team.
  • Though the Trump campaign's legal team publicly distanced itself from Powell, she recently announced she filed two election-related lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The attorney Sidney Powell has recently made headlines for her groundless claims questioning the integrity of the presidential election. 

The former federal prosecutor was hired last year to represent President Donald Trump's former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.

Though the Trump campaign's legal team publicly split from Powell last week and said she is "is not a member of the Trump Legal Team," Powell announced this past week she filed election lawsuits against Georgia and Michigan. 

Here is a look into Powell's legal and political journey, and where her series of baseless claims of election fraud began.

Powell did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment for this story. 

Powell was previously a federal prosecutor in Texas. Shortly after her decade-long career as a federal prosecutor, she founded her private firm in 1993.
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Sidney Powell

Source: Sidney Powell P.C.

Last year, Powell was hired to represent ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn.

In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI investigators about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the US at the time. 

But Flynn pivoted his stance since then and replaced his defense team with Powell, who has since worked to get his case dismissed, Business Insider's Sonam Sheth reported.

When Flynn hired her last year, President Donald Trump congratulated Flynn and said in a tweet that he "has not retained a good lawyer, he has retained a GREAT LAWYER, Sidney Powell."

This past week, President Trump pardoned Flynn. 

Powell, who has also amplified messages from the QAnon conspiracy theory, was interviewed on a QAnon YouTube channel in November 2019.

Powell has promoted the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, Business Insider's Tom Porter reported.

Disinformation researcher Alex Kaplan pointed out last year that Powell has repeatedly amplified QAnon accounts on Twitter, and in November 2019 Powell was interviewed on a QAnon YouTube channel, Porter reported.

QAnon is a conspiracy theory based on groundless claims that the world is controlled by elites who are involved in a large pedophilia ring, Business Insider's Ben Gilbert previously reported.

Following the 2020 election, Powell has made a number of baseless claims contesting the integrity and results of the election.
Sidney Powell
Sidney Powell speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, on November 19.
Speaking on Fox News, Powell groundlessly claimed election fraud, but when pressed for evidence, she said she had "lots of ways to prove it" but that she was "not gonna tell on national TV what all we have."
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Sidney Powell participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington

Speaking on Fox News this past month, Powell claimed without evidence that the voting software was "designed to rig elections" and that the president "won by not just hundreds of thousands of votes, but by millions of votes."

The Department of Homeland Security's Elections Infrastructure Coordinating Council and The Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees have publicly said in a statement that this election was "the most secure in American history," and "there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."

 

On November 14, President Trump mentioned Powell in a tweet which he said, "a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives."

Source: @realDonaldTrump via Twitter

A few days later on November 19, Powell appeared alongside Rudy Giuliani and members of the president's legal team at a press conference where she made a number of absurd claims about the election and voting machines.
sidney powell trump giuliani election
Sidney Powell, an attorney later disavowed by the Trump campaign, participates in a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 19, 2020

At one point, Powell falsely claimed that voting systems were "created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez."

As the Associated Press reported, these claims are unfounded. Smartmatic has stated it has no ties with Dominion Voting Systems and currently does not have operations in Venezuela. Dominion Voting Systems has said it does not have any ownership relationships with Smartmatic or ties to Venezuela.

 

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he sought to interview Powell about her claims, but she "never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests."
Tucker-Carlson
Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who previously apologized on-air for making false claims that a dead man voted illegally in Georgia, slammed Powell for refusing to provide the show with evidence to support her election fraud theories.

Carlson said Powell "never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests, polite requests — not a page" and "when we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her," Business Insider's Eliza Relman reported.

 

On November 22, the Trump campaign's legal team announced a split from Powell, when Giuliani and attorney Jenna Ellis said in a statement that Powell "is not a member of the Trump Legal Team."

According to Ellis' statement, Powell is not part of the Trump Legal Team nor a personal lawyer for Trump. 

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 

 

 

A Trump adviser reportedly told New York Times' Maggie Haberman that Powell "was too conspiratorial even for" the president.

Source: Maggie Haberman via Twitter, Business Insider

Even so, Powell announced on November 25 that she filed election lawsuits against Georgia and Michigan. Critics quickly pointed out the sloppiness of the documents, which contained a number of typos.
Sidney powell errors
Parts of the filings were riddled with errors.

Powell announced and published both lawsuits on her website.  Business Insider verified that the Michigan suit was filed, but as the status of the Georgia suit could not be verified, Business Insider's Mia Jankowicz reported on Friday.

Source: Business Insider

 

Powell's recent election lawsuits, like her previous allegations, targeted electronic voting systems. Dominion Voting Systems said in a statement that the allegations made were "baseless, senseless, physically impossible, and unsupported by any evidence whatsoever."
Voting
Vote stickers are seen at a satellite election office at Temple University's Liacouras Center, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Philadelphia.

Sources: Business Insider, Dominion Voting 

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