How the Trump Train Finally Crashed for Jenna Ellis

John Bazemore/AFP via Getty
John Bazemore/AFP via Getty

During Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, attorney Jenna Ellis penned a series of Facebook posts suggesting Trump was a “narcissist,” and an “unethical, corrupt, lying, criminal, dirtbag.”

Then Ellis became one of his staunchest allies, even committing a felony on behalf of Trump’s 2020 election lies. But by September 2023, she had returned to calling Trump a “malignant narcissist.” Now she’s flipped on him in a racketeering case in Georgia.

Ellis pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count felony count of aiding and abetting false statements. Crying during her court appearance, Ellis agreed to a five-year probation, $5,000 in restitution, and 100 hours of community service. The charge was part of a sprawling case in which four Trump allies have pleaded guilty to helping the ex-president push false claims of voter fraud. In a statement to the court, Ellis declared that “if I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges.”

The statement might represent the final stop in Ellis’s on-again-off-again ride on the Trump train, as Ellis agrees to work with prosecutors in the case. Ellis did not return a request for comment.

A minor commentator in Colorado law circles, Ellis was a fierce critic of Trump during his 2016 campaign. In a 2016 Denver talk radio appearance (titled “Christian Professor Jenna Ellis - Don’t let ungodly spirits in even through coloring books”), Ellis urged voters against Trump.

“Why should we rest our highest office in America, on a man who fundamentally goes back and forth and really cannot be trusted to be consistent or accurate in anything,” she asked.

But despite those remarks, and other anti-Trump diatribes in 2016, Ellis ultimately went back on her opinion after Trump became the Republican nominee, CNN reported. (Ellis later told the channel that she’d been “completely wrong about Trump” during the 2016 primary.)

Broke Lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis Prove Trump Will Never Run Out of Marks to Con

By the second year of Trump’s presidency, Ellis had become a strident supporter, defending him while appearing as a “constitutional law attorney” in television appearances. In reality, Ellis was no election law expert, The New York Times found. Instead, she had served a short career as a prosecutor, before going on to represent clients in criminal cases and self-publish a book that argued for a biblical interpretation of the Constitution.

Ellis’s Fox News appearances caught Trump’s eye by 2018, the Times reported, and she became a Trump campaign advisor in November 2019. She would eventually become a “senior legal advisor” for the campaign as it promoted false claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election.

But as the Stop The Steal movement unraveled, Ellis incurred her former boss’s wrath by making nice with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this spring, shortly ahead of DeSantis’s presidential campaign launch. Ellis shared pictures of herself at a DeSantis event and complimented DeSantis on Twitter, even attacking some Trump surrogates for their anti-DeSantis stances.

Jenna Ellis

Jenna Ellis speaks during the election night party for Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano on May 17, 2022.

Michael M Santiago/GettyImages

Prominent Trump supporters struck back, accusing Ellis of having been “disowned” by Trumpworld. Ellis responded critically toward these former allies. “I was called a lot of things and had a lot of leftist hit pieces trying to destroy my credibility while I represented Trump,” she tweeted in April, “But I never saw a media outlet or journo use the blatant sexism & vulgarity that ‘MAGA influencers’ do now.”

Days later, she suggested that Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign was enabling harassment against her. “Trump 2024’s message to women like me and Erin Perrine: You’re either 100% in all the time or you deserve to be harassed,” she wrote. (Perrine, a former Trump staffer, had recently joined the pro-DeSantis “Never Back Down” super PAC.)

By summer, Ellis was supporting DeSantis’s presidential campaign outright, describing him in a Truth Social post as the “right choice” for GOP nominee.

Those divisions between Ellis and Trumpworld appeared to deepen in August, when she was indicted alongside Trump and 16 others on racketeering charges in Fulton County, Georgia.

Ex-Trump Lawyer Jenna Ellis Cries as She Cops a Plea

Ellis tweeted that Trump would not provide financial support for any of his co-defendants, and suggested that this was more reason to be skeptical of his presidential bid.

“I was reliably informed Trump isn’t funding any of us who are indicted,” Ellis tweeted at a Trump supporter who said Republicans should combine their support behind a single candidate, in order to save money for the racketeering defendants’ legal fees.

“Would this change if he becomes the nominee? Why then, not now? I totally agree this has become a bigger principle than just one man. So why isn’t MAGA, Inc. funding everyone’s defense?”

In a September appearance with right-wing radio personality Steve Deace (a DeSantis supporter), Ellis signaled that she was done with Trump for good.

“I simply can’t support him for elected office again,” Ellis said. “Why I have chosen to distance is because of that frankly malignant narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong.”

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