"Watch Ellis carefully": Knives out in TrumpWorld for indicted lawyer — despite fears she'll "flip"

Trump accused of throwing Jenna Ellis to the wolves after she expressed support for Ron DeSantis

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published August 16, 2023 2:03PM (EDT)

A November 19, 2020 photo shows attorney Jenna Ellis speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A November 19, 2020 photo shows attorney Jenna Ellis speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis is raising money to pay for her legal defense after being indicted by a Fulton County grand jury over her role in the alleged conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election results in Georgia.

Ellis' attorney launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to "help her fight back" against the racketeering charges brought by District Attorney Fani Willis. The campaign has collected nearly $14,000.

The effort was launched as former President Donald Trump was accused of refusing to help pay for her legal fees.

John Cardillo, a former pro-Trump pundit who is now backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, claimed on X, formerly Twitter, that "very solid sources" informed him that Trump's PAC that helps cover his allies' legal bills won't assist Ellis "with one penny because she has been complimentary and supportive of DeSantis."

"So you can spend nearly a decade being unwaveringly loyal to Trump then get indicted because you worked for him, and he will abandon you and force you into bankruptcy if you change your mind about the best direction for the country," Cardillo wrote. "There is nothing remotely loyal or patriotic about that."

Cardillo's claim has not been independently verified but Trump has a long track record of dumping former allies he deems disloyal and stiffing his lawyers on legal bills. Trump stiffed his post-election legal team that pushed a series of baseless lawsuits and fraud claims despite using them to raise about $250 million, CNBC reported on Tuesday.

Trump, alongside 18 of his associates, was charged Monday in a 41-count indictment in Georgia for allegedly conspiring to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory in the state. Trump has maintained that he's committed no wrongdoing, as he has in his three other ongoing criminal cases, with his legal team characterizing Willis' allegations as "flawed and unconstitutional" in a statement.

Ellis was charged with one count of solicitation of violation of oath by public officer and one count of violation of Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a statute introduced to combat organized crime and that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. 

"The Democrats and the Fulton County DA are criminalizing the practice of law," Ellis wrote on X Tuesday morning in response to her indictment. "I am resolved to trust the Lord and I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him. I deeply appreciate all of my friends who have reached out offering encouragement and support."

But the acrimony between TrumpWorld and his former attorney was quickly evident as numerous allies of the former president mocked her legal woes over her support for DeSantis.

Right-wing commentator Laura Loomer called Ellis a "professional liar and Trump backstabber" in a lengthy post to X, also accusing the former Trump attorney of betraying and intentionally sabotaging the former president and then "crying online begging Trump supporters to donate to her legal defense fund."

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"This woman is vile. She's a liar, and she doesn't deserve your sympathy, your prayers, your forgiveness or your money," Loomer said before addressing Ellis directly.

"Loyalty Matters, @JennaEllisEsq. You didn't stay loyal to President Trump, and now you're going to learn the hard way by having to pay for your own legal fees," she continued. "Next time try being loyal to the people who brought you to the dance, and you won't have such big problems."

Loomer concluded by encouraging her nearly 500,000 X followers to donate to Trump instead of Ellis' crowdfunding campaign.

"No one contributed to Jebba's (sic) defense fund lmfao," said Trump campaign vendor Alex Bruesewitz, who also lamented that DeSantis had not yet commented on Trump's indictment, according to Mediaite.

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Ellis has been the subject of online vitriol among Trumpers for her alliance with DeSantis since before the Georgia indictment. Last month, The National Pulse's Raheem Kassam called Ellis a "stupid cow" and "thunderc***."

But the apparent bitter divorce between Ellis and TrumpWorld could come with risks for the former president and his allies. 

Earlier this month, Newsmax reporter Cara Castronuova told former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani that Ellis had not been identified as one of the other co-conspirators in special counsel Jack Smith's D.C. indictment and speculated that she will "become a prosecution witness," in a segment flagged by Meidas Touch

"I hope that's not the case," Giuliani said. "She was my number two. She was excellent and she was firmly convinced the elections was over. And she was the one who recommended Professor [John] Eastman," who was also indicted in the Fulton County probe.

"There is no one who was more zealous about the fact that this was a stolen election than Jenna Ellis and I think that anyone on that team would testify to that," he added. "So I would find it very, very hard to believe that she did that, but she could have gotten intimidated."

Attorney Tristan Snell, who previously investigated Trump as a former prosecutor in the New York attorney general's office, warned that refusing to pay Ellis' legal bills could backfire on Trump. 

"Watch Ellis carefully now. When Trump cuts someone off, it's the tipping point that results in the person flipping on Trump," he wrote. "My bet: Ellis will cooperate."

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.

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Aggregate Donald Trump Fani Willis Jenna Ellis Politics