MAGA lawyer named as state's witness in Georgia case swears he hasn't flipped on Trump: "Zero truth"

Election fraud conspiracy theorist Lin Wood was listed as one of the people serving as "witnesses" in a GA filing

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published September 20, 2023 2:02PM (EDT)

Donald Trump and Lin Wood (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Lin Wood (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

One of the most prolific peddlers of the false claims that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election due to widespread voter fraud, attorney Lin Wood, appears to have flipped on the former president, becoming a state witness in Trump and 18 other defendants' sprawling racketeering case in Georgia, Fulton County prosecutors revealed Wednesday. Buried in Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis' 103-page filing arguing that lawyers for Trump's co-defendants may have conflicts of interest, according to The Messenger, prosecutors listed Wood as one of the individuals serving as "witnesses for the state" in the case, which alleges the 19 defendants conspired to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. A special purpose grand jury had recommended Wood be indicted, but prosecutors declined.

Wood, however, denies any suggestion he has flipped on the former president. 

"There's zero truth to that," Wood told The Hill on Wednesday. "I'm always willing to go in under subpoena, I'll go testify and answer their questions, honestly, like I did in the grand jury." 

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The once-acclaimed defamation lawyer gained national recognition for representing the parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey and aiding in the vindication of Richard Jewell, a security guard falsely accused of scheming to set off pipe bombs at Atlanta's 1996 Summer Olympics. 

He surrendered his law license in July as disciplinary proceedings — connected to his work for Trump allies and associates under federal investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith — threatened to disbar him. A Georgia special grand jury also recommended Wood for criminal charges over his involvement in the alleged scheme, but Willis decided against indicting him. 

"I'm probably the second most persecuted person in America, wouldn't you say?" Wood told The Messenger in a July interview shortly after he announced his retirement, adding that Trump is the first.

After the 2020 election, Wood rose to prominence among the election fraud conspiracy-theory pushers with his name appearing on the pleadings of lawsuits filed by Trump attorney Sidney Powell and him representing himself in a separate election-related lawsuit in Georgia. While each of the lawsuits — which Powell filed in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia federal courts — was defeated, a Michigan federal judge brought down a sanctions order recommending Powell, Wood and seven other co-counsel for disciplinary proceedings over their "historic and profound abuse of the judicial process."

Georgia's state bar counsel cited that opinion as a reason for seeking Wood's disbarment in the state, where he was first granted a license to practice in 1977. In his disciplinary proceedings, Wood was accused of violating an array of professional rules, including those regarding the scope of representation, fairness to the opposing party, cooperation with disciplinary authorities and trial publicity. Wood's "contempt" for the judiciary was enough to qualify him for disbarment, Georgia's disciplinary counsel Robert Remur argued to the Georgia State Disciplinary Board. 

"He's accused the Supreme Court, the Special Master, counsel for the State Bar of being communists, pedophiles, child traffickers," Remur told the board earlier this year. "No lawyer fit to practice in this state would make such allegations as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he has signed the pleading as a lawyer representing himself."

Wood posted transcripts of his remarks to the board, which suggest that his disciplinary proceedings kicked into high gear a move toward retirement he told The Messenger had actually begun in 2019. The former attorney told the State Disciplinary Board that he'd rather quit working as a lawyer than be stripped of his license, adding that he would instead take up arms in the "court of public opinion."

"So I'm doing it for myself because if I'm — if I'm disbarred, which I'm quite sure that the judge is going to recommend that — it's been the goal from day one even though I don't care," Wood said to the board. "I'm going to retire. I don't need a law license to get to heaven, so it doesn't mean anything to me; but it's unfair and it's injustice." 

At the end of the May proceedings, Special Master Thomas E. Cauthorn III indicated that he would release his report within 45 days from the receipt of the transcript. The stenographer certified the document on June 4, signaling that Wood's fate would likely have been sealed only days after he announced his retirement.

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Legal experts were surprised by the revelation of Wood's cooperation with Georgia prosecutors Wednesday morning, with some appearing to express doubt about the efficacy of the lawyer's strategy.

"Wow. I did not have Lin Wood flipping on my bingo card," Bradley Moss, a national security attorney, wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. 

"'It's a bold move, Cotton. Let's see if it works out for them,'" former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti added, quoting 2004 film "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."

"If he has documents and all, sure," Georgia State law professor Anthony Michael Kreis said. "If it is just him? Yeesh. I don't know."

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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