The lawyer who came up with the idea of using fake electors to overthrow the 2020 election was at the Capitol on January 6, a revelation that experts say could add fuel to the federal indictment against Donald Trump.
Kenneth Chesebro, the original architect of the fake elector scheme, attended the rally on January 6 that eventually turned into the insurrection, CNN reported Friday. It is unclear if he entered the Capitol, but video footage shows Chesebro following conspiracy theorist and “Infowars” host Alex Jones into sections of the restricted area around the building.
Chesebro is the only unindicted co-conspirator in the federal case and the only member of Trump’s legal team now known to have been at the Capitol on January 6.
“Even if Chesebro is simply a diehard Infowars fan, I think that would further illustrate how thin the line was between the serious, credentialed people who sought to undermine election results and the extremist figures who sought to unleash havoc was in that period, to the extent it meaningfully existed at all,” Jared Holt, an expert at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which investigates extremism, hate and disinformation, told CNN.
Chesebro first gained national attention when it was revealed he had come up with the plan to use fake electors to swing the election for Trump. As it turns out, he never actually thought that plan would succeed. Chesebro acknowledged in an internal memo that he was suggesting a “bold, controversial strategy” that the Supreme Court would “likely” ultimately reject.
The point of Chesebro’s plan was not to actually pass legal and judicial scrutiny. Instead, Chesebro’s goals were to increase the spotlight on the baseless claims of voter fraud and to give Trump’s campaign more time to win its multiple lawsuits challenging the vote results. (Judges threw out every single one of those lawsuits because they had no basis.)
The new discovery that Chesebro was at the Capitol on January 6 could add another weapon to Smith’s arsenal. Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special counsel, suggested that prosecutors could threaten to charge Chesebro for unlawfully entering the Capitol grounds in an attempt to get him to flip on Trump.