February 22, 2024

Who are the co-conspirators in the Trump Jan. 6 indictment?

Six unnamed co-conspirators are described in the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump over his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The indictment doesn’t identify them, but based on past reporting and according to sources close to the investigation, their alleged actions — and sometimes their own words — possibly match these identities. At least five of them are lawyers, according to the indictment.

Photos of possible co-conspirators in Trump indictment

CBS News


Here’s what’s known about the co-conspirators, and who they may be:

Former Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani
FILE: Rudy Giuliani, former lawyer to former President Donald Trump, exits federal court in Washington, D.C., on May 19, 2023. 

Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images


Co-Conspirator 1 may be Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney and former campaign lawyer may be Co-conspirator 1. According to the indictment, this person is described as “an attorney who was willing to spread knowingly false claims and pursue strategies that the Defendant’s 2020 re-election campaign attorneys would not” and is someone Trump appointed to “spearhead his efforts going forward to challenge the election results.” 

Prosecutors allege this unnamed lawyer called then-Arizona Speaker of the House, Rusty Bowers, a Republican who had voted for Trump, to discuss the election results. According to Bowers’ testimony before the House Jan. 6 select committee, Giuliani and Trump called him on a Sunday after the presidential election to try to reverse President Biden’s victory in that state. Bowers told the committee that he asked Giuliani for evidence of the fraud he claimed had occurred on “multiple occasions.” Giuliani had claimed that thousands of illegal immigrants and dead people voted in Arizona.

The former state House speaker testified Giuliani told Trump and Bowers that he would provide evidence. But Bowers said he “never” received any.

The indictment says Co-conspirator 1 also allegedly “orchestrated a presentation to a Judiciary Subcommittee of the Georgia State Senate, with the intention of misleading state senators into blocking the ascertainment of legitimate electors” on December 3, 2020. This was the same day local media reported Giuliani led that hearing. 

Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, said it “appears” to him that co-conspirator 1 is Giuliani.

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BOULDER, CO – APRIL 29: John Eastman, the University of Colorado Boulders visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy, speaks about his plans to sue the university at a news conference outside of CU Boulder on Thursday, April 29, 2021. 

Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images


Co-Conspirator 2 is possibly John Eastman 

Conduct described in the indictment matches that of law professor and Trump legal adviser John Eastman. Prosecutors say this individual is “an attorney who devised and attempted to implement a strategy to leverage the Vice President’s ceremonial role overseeing the certification proceeding to obstruct the certification of the presidential election,” a topic pushed by Eastman throughout the post-election period. 

The indictment alleges Co-conspirator 2 circulated a two-page memo laying out how Pence might  thwart the certification. Eastman’s memo suggested that seven states transmitted two slates of electors and proposed that Pence could say that no electors were validly appointed in those states and in the end, “‘Pence then gavels President Trump as re-elected,'” the indictment said, quoting the memo.

Pence’s legal adviser Greg Jacob, recalled while testifying during the Jan. 6 hearings that Eastman proposed two avenues Pence might take on Jan. 6: the first would entail rejecting electoral votes “outright,” which Eastman said would be the more “aggressive option.”

Jacob also testified that during a discussion on Jan. 5 about Eastman’s theory that the vice president had the authority to unilaterally declare the winner of the presidential election, he said to Eastman, “‘John, if the vice president did what you are asking him to do, we would lose 9-to-nothing in the Supreme Court, wouldn’t we?’ And he initially started it, ‘Well, I think maybe you would lose only 7-2,’ and after some further discussion acknowledged, ‘Well, yeah, you’re right, we would lose 9-nothing.'” 

But Eastman allegedly didn’t believe the Supreme Court would even agree to hear such a case. According to Jacob, Eastman felt the court would invoke the political question doctrine — that is, the idea that this would be a political issue, rather than a legal issue — and not get involved.

The indictment says that on that day, Jan. 5, “Co­ Conspirator 2 now advocated that the Vice President do what the Defendant had said he preferred the day before: unilaterally reject electors from the targeted states. During this meeting, Co­ Conspirator 2 privately acknowledged to the Vice President’s Counsel that he hoped to prevent judicial review of his proposal because he understood that it would be unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court.” 

Eastman’s attorney says the indictment “relies on a misleading presentation of the record,” and as an example pointed to a Pence statement that there were “‘significant allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law.'” That quote came from a letter Pence wrote to Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, before the Joint Session of Congress. And later in the letter, Pence referred to his role as “largely ceremonial” and denied he had “unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”

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 (FILE): Sidney Powell, attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, November 19, 2020. 

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images


Co-Conspirator 3 could be Sidney Powell

This person is described in the indictment as “an attorney whose unfounded claims of election fraud the Defendant privately acknowledged to others sounded ‘crazy.'” Prosecutors said the unnamed individual filed a lawsuit on Nov. 25, 2020 against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp based on false claims of “massive election fraud” carried out through an unnamed “voting machine company’s election software and hardware.”

The indictment notes that Trump “retweeted a post promoting” her lawsuit before it “was even filed” and did so, “despite the fact that when he had discussed Co­-Conspirator 3’s far-fetched public claims regarding the voting machine company in private with advisors, the Defendant had conceded that they were unsupported.”

Prosecutors noted that Co-conspirator 3’s Georgia lawsuit was dismissed a couple of weeks later, on Dec. 7, 2020.

Trump attorney Sidney Powell, along with other lawyers, filed a lawsuit in Georgia that was filed and later dismissed on the same dates described in the indictment. And a day before she filed it, Trump retweeted Lou Dobbs, who posted, “@SidneyPowell1 says her lawsuit in Georgia could be filed as soon as tomorrow and says there’s no way there was anything but widespread election fraud.”

Powell’s attorney has not responded to a request for comment.

Capitol Riot Investigation Trump Justice Official
File: Jeffrey Clark, then-Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, on Sept. 14, 2020. 

Susan Walsh / AP


Co-Conspirator 4 is possibly former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark

According to the indictment, this unnamed individual was “a Justice Department official who worked on civil matters and who, with the Defendant, attempted to use the Justice Department to open sham election crime investigations and influence state legislatures with knowingly false claims of election fraud.” 

Clark was Trump’s pick to lead the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and  later served as acting head of the Civil Division. On Dec. 28, 2020, according to the House Jan. 6 select committee, Clark drafted a memo to be sent from the Justice Department directing Georgia elections officials to convene a special session and address “significant concerns” that may have impacted the outcome of the election in several states, according to congressional testimony. 

The letter also called on the Georgia Legislature to appoint a new slate of electors who would support Trump in the election certification over Joe Biden. Prosecutors allege in Tuesday’s court documents that, “On December 28, Co-Conspirator 4 sent a draft letter to the Acting Attorney General and Acting Deputy Attorney General, which he proposed they all sign. The draft was addressed to state officials in Georgia, and Co-Conspirator 4 proposed sending versions of the letter to elected officials in other targeted states.”

Clark’s attorney has not responded to a request for comment.

Co-Conspirator 5 may be attorney Kenneth Chesebro

The alleged conduct described in the indictment possibly matches that of lawyer Kenneth Chesebro. Described by prosecutors as another campaign-related attorney, the unnamed individual allegedly “sent Co-Conspirator 1 an email memorandum that further confirmed that the conspirators’ plan was not to use the fraudulent electors only in the circumstance that the Defendant’s litigation was successful in one of the targeted states — instead, the plan was to falsely present the fraudulent slates as an alternative to the legitimate slates at Congress’s certification proceeding.” 

The House Jan. 6 committee’s final report states that Chesebro, on Dec. 13, 2020, wrote an email to Giuliani in which he proposed that Pence could discard Joe Biden’s electoral votes for any of the states in which the Trump campaign had gathered fake electors “because there are two slates of votes,” the email said, according to the committee report. The report went on to say that “even if votes by fake electors were never retroactively ratified under State law, their mere submission to Congress would be enough to allow the presiding officer to disregard valid votes for former Vice President Biden.”

Chesebro has not responded to a request for comment.

Co-Conspirator 6

CBS News has not yet identified Co-Conspirator 6. According to the indictment this individual is “a political consultant who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.”

Prosecutors say that on Dec. 7, 2020, Co-Conspirator 1 talked with Co-Conspirator 6 about attorneys “who could assist in the fraudulent elector effort in the targeted states, and he received from Co­ Conspirator 6 an email identifying attorneys in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”

The indictment alleges that on the evening of Jan. 6, as part of Trump’s and Co-Conspirator 1’s efforts to “exploit the violence and chaos at the Capitol by calling lawmakers” and trying to convince them to delay the certification, “Co-Conspirator 6 attempted to confirm phone numbers for six United States Senators whom the Defendant had directed Co-Conspirator 1 to call and attempt to enlist in further delaying the certification.”

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