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Former Milwaukee Foley & Lardner partner on board of Bradley Foundation referred for criminal charges in Georgia grand jury report

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//September 11, 2023//

Cleta Mitchell

Cleta Mitchell. FILE PHOTO / AP

Former Milwaukee Foley & Lardner partner on board of Bradley Foundation referred for criminal charges in Georgia grand jury report

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//September 11, 2023//

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North Carolina-based attorney Cleta Mitchell, a former Milwaukee partner with Foley & Lardner and current Board member of the Bradley Foundation, was recommended to be charged by the same Georgia special purpose grand jury that initially investigated former President Donald Trump and his allies attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.  The same special grand jury report recommended criminal charges for three dozen people, including 21 who weren’t charged last month, NBC News reported. 

Election interference

Election Interference irony

Republicans contend that the timing of the Georgia grand jury report was to interfere with the timing of the 2024 Presidential election.

FOX News reported that Republican presidential candidate Larry Elder lashed out at the latest indictment against former President Donald Trump, telling Fox News Digital it was “incredibly unfair.”

“I feel the same way as I did about the other three. It’s another example of the two-tiered system of justice. Incredibly unfair,” Elder said. “All Donald Trump did was to suggest that maybe about 11,700 votes might be out there that weren’t counted.”

NewsMax reported that Trump believes “the weaponization of justice against him is all a function of Democrats’ efforts to keep him from the White House.”

“Their goal is to interfere with elections in order to make it harder for Republicans and conservatives to win,” Trump said.

However, Georgia officials say Trump, Mitchell and several others attempted to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

On Jan. 2, 2021, Mitchell participated in the phone call then-President Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to locate 11,780 votes to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the Peach state. Prior to that, on Dec. 14, 2020, Mitchell was also allegedly involved in a meeting with more than a dozen Republicans at the Georgia State Capitol where documents were executed falsely claiming Trump won the Georgia electoral college.

On Friday, in a rare move, a Fulton County Georgia judge released the special grand jury’s report obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal, just months before the 2024 election.

The Charlotte Observer reported Friday, to date, Mitchell has not been charged with a crime, but proposed charges include:

  • criminal solicitation to commit election fraud. influencing witnesses;
  • forgery;
  • criminal solicitation;
  • intentional interference with performance of election duties;
  • concealment of facts and fraudulent documents in matters within jurisdiction of state or political subdivisions; and
  • false official certificates or writings by officers or employees of state and political subdivisions. two counts of false statements and writings.

The Charlotte Observer also reported 26 Fulton County residents served on the special grand jury, though three of its members were alternates. They heard from 75 witnesses over a six-month period.

According to the Bradley Foundation, Mitchell has more than four decades of experience in law, politics and public policy. Mitchell has advised nonprofit and issue organizations, corporations, candidates, campaigns and individuals on state and federal campaign finance law, election law and compliance issues related to lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure. Mitchell practiced before the Federal Election Commission, the ethics committees of the U.S. House and Senate and similar state and local enforcement bodies and agencies.

In 2012, the National Journal named her one of Washington’s 25 Most Influential Women. Mitchell was a teaching fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1981 and was the Shapiro Fellow at the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University in 2001. Mitchell also served on the advisory council to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law and as an advisor on the American Law Institute’s Election Law Project entitled, “Principles of Election Law: Dispute Resolution.”

In 2016, Mitchell was elected to membership in the American Law Institute. She served on the board of directors of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and currently serves on The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation board, is past chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation, and has served as the president of the Republican National Lawyers Association. Mitchell was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1976-1984, where she chaired the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

According to the report, criminal charges were also recommended against Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and several other Republicans, whom to date, have not been indicted.

Mitchell also authors a blog hosted by the election integrity network. In her blog she has been known to call out the mainstream media for what she believes to be unfair coverage. She called a New York Times journalist “a left wing idiot.”

“One of his columns are so stunningly stupid and devoid of facts that one wonders how the guy got a high school diploma,” Mitchell wrote.

To date, Trump and 18 co-defendants face state charges in Georgia for trying to overturn the 2020 election.  As previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, attorneys for former President Donald Trump moved a lawsuit seeking to bar him from running again for the White House from state to federal court in the first step of what promises to be a tangled legal battle that seems destined for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the initial lawsuit on Wednesday in Colorado state court, arguing a Civil War-era clause prohibiting higher office for those who once swore an oath to the Constitution and then engaged in “insurrection” prevents Trump from running in 2024.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Mitchell resigned from Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner after firm leadership over her phone call with Trump to Raffensperger. She has represented conservative clients ranging from The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to the National Rifle Association

The Wisconsin Law Journal reached out to the Bradley Foundation and Foley & Lardner LLP on Monday. No one could be reached for comment prior to publication.


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