Perhaps Sidney Powell has gone too far even for Rudy Giuliani this time.
The Trump campaign’s legal team has moved to distance itself from the firebrand conservative attorney after a tumultuous few days in which Powell made multiple incorrect statements about the election voting process, unspooled complex conspiracy theories and vowed to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” lawsuit.
“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump legal team. She is also not a lawyer for the president in his personal capacity,” Giuliani and another lawyer for Trump, Jenna Ellis, said in a statement on Sunday.
Trump himself has heralded Powell’s involvement, tweeting last week that she was part of a team of “wonderful lawyers and representatives” spearheaded by Giuliani.
There was no immediate clarification from the campaign and Powell did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
The statement hints at chaos in a legal team that has lost case after case in its efforts to overturn the results of the 3 November election. Law firms have withdrawn from cases, and in the latest setback, Matthew Brann, a Republican US district court judge in Pennsylvania, threw out the Trump campaign’s request to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters there.
“This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent,” he wrote in a damning order, issued on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon, the Trump campaign filed an appeal against Brann’s ruling in Pennsylvania.
It came after similar failed court bids in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona to prevent states from certifying their vote totals.
The statement on Powell was the latest sign of wariness over her approach even within some conservative circles. Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his show last week that his team had asked Powell for evidence to support her claims, but that Powell had provided none.
Powell made headlines with her statements at a Thursday news conference where, joined by Giuliani and Ellis, she incorrectly suggested that a server hosting evidence of voting irregularities was located in Germany, that voting software used by Georgia and other states was created at the direction of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and that votes for Trump had probably been switched in favour of Biden.
However, her contributions that day were largely overshadowed by Giuliani’s hair dye malfunction.
In a subsequent interview with Newsmax on Saturday, she appeared to accuse Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, and its Republican secretary of state of being part of a conspiracy involving a voting-system contract award that she contends harmed Trump’s re-election bid.
“Georgia’s probably going to be the first state I’m going to blow up and Mr Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it,” she said, later adding that a lawsuit she planned to file against the state would be “biblical”.
The status of that lawsuit was unclear on Sunday night.
Powell, a former federal prosecutor, took over last year as the lead lawyer for Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Since then, a federal judge has rejected her claims of prosecutorial misconduct and has responded quizzically to some of her arguments, including her suggestion at a hearing several weeks ago that her conversations with Trump about the Flynn case were privileged.
She has supported a Justice Department motion to dismiss the prosecution, a request that remains pending before US district judge Emmet Sullivan.