Being Sidney Powell is harder than it used to be.
Once, she was a key player in Donald Trump’s inner circle. These days, she might have trouble just getting in the front door.
The “Kraken” queen long ago removed herself from acceptability among the more respectable GOP circles with a constant stream of bizarre election conspiracy theories. But knowledgeable sources tell The Daily Beast that the places she’s unwelcome now include Trump properties, where advisers look to keep the former president away from her.
Her unrelenting antics have put her on an informal list of people to intercept should they ever appear, or if they even just try to call the 45th U.S. president.
Powell is facing a number of legal headaches. She and her nonprofit, Defending the Republic, are both named as defendants in a billion-dollar defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems. She’s been sanctioned by a Michigan judge for filing a frivolous election suit in the state, faces calls for her disbarment in Texas, and her nonprofit is still waiting to find out its punishment for running afoul of Florida’s rules for charity fundraising. Despite the mounting challenges, Powell was still posting new election conspiracy theories to her nonprofit’s website as recently as Wednesday.
MAGAworld and the conservative movement have shown themselves to be disturbingly fertile ground for election-related conspiracy theories and lies, particularly those used to crack down on voting rights. And yet Powell’s behavior and some of her debunked claims have—nearly a full year after Election Night 2020—continued to alienate her from other leading Trump loyalists, MAGA celebs, and the broader movement.
And yet, Powell’s conduct has somehow proven just a little too embarrassing for many of them—including, it appears, Donald Trump himself.
Two lawyers who currently work for Trump or in the former president’s inner orbit say they want absolutely nothing to do with her and have cautioned others in MAGAland to do the same. One said they’d recently deleted her phone number.
Two other people familiar with the matter said that ever since he left office in January, certain advisers and longtime associates to Trump have kept an informal shortlist of people who they should look out for, including at Trump’s private clubs or offices in Florida, New Jersey, and New York. The point of this roster is to intercept and possibly rebuff attempted outreach, visits, or phone calls from a handful of conservative figures who could bring the ex-president more undesired headaches.
“Sidney is very much on the no-go list,” one of the knowledgeable sources said. “Her problems right now do not need to be the [former] president’s problems.”
Powell’s legal exposure right now is, of course, massive. And ever since she tried to work with Trump to orchestrate a coup last year against Joe Biden, feelings of frustration and bitterness have lingered between Trump and Powell. According to a source with direct knowledge of the matter, since December Powell has privately talked about how disappointed she was in Trump because he didn’t end up appointing her to a “special” role in his White House where she would have probed “election fraud” conspiracy theories during the final days of his term.
“She sounded pretty broken up about it,” this person noted. “I felt sorry for her.”
Powell, for her part, said she hasn’t tried to contact Trump for months.
“I’m not surprised by any of [those comments], but I have not sought to contact the President in any way since long before he left office,” Powell said in an email response to The Daily Beast. “My quest is simply for the Truth. The American people are fed up with lies from government and media.”
Even among the diehard election conspiracy theorists Powell’s work has occasionally attracted some skepticism. In an interview conducted in March, Michigan attorney Matt DePerno, whose election suit against Antrim County, Michigan, helped inspire the Arizona audit, was quick to distinguish his work from the litigation carried out by the likes of Powell. “We don't want anything to do with them and have nothing to do with them. From our perspective, the work that certain other camps did was a failure and our case is a success. We’re not interested in tying ourselves to them,” he said.
In August, a federal judge sanctioned Powell for filing a frivolous “Kraken” suit to overturn the election in Michigan. In her ruling, Judge Linda Parker called the suit “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” and ordered Powell and other attorneys who brought the suit to take “mandatory continuing legal education in the subjects of pleading standards and election law” and to reimburse the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit for their legal fees.
Shortly before that sanctions hearing, Powell’s nonprofit Defending the Republic announced that one of its attorneys would be stepping down from representing the group against Dominion Voting Systems’ billion-dollar defamation suit. Powell first created the group in the wake of the 2020 election to help fund her post-election crusade against Dominion, which prompted the company to list the organization as a defendant alongside her.
Jesse Binnall, a longtime colleague of Powell who once worked alongside her representing Mike Flynn, stepped down as counsel for Powell’s nonprofit in the Dominion’s lawsuit on Thursday. Binnall declined to comment when reached by The Daily Beast on Friday.
Nor is that the only headache looming for Powell’s nonprofit. In July, the group ran afoul of Florida’s rules for charitable organizations when it allegedly began fundraising as a charity in the state before registering with the department of agriculture, which has jurisdiction over nonprofits. Nikki Fried, a Democrat who serves as Florida’s agriculture commissioner, filed a complaint against the group and the department told the AP that it was negotiating with representatives for the group over what kind of punishment would be appropriate.
Of course, not everyone has excommunicated Powell. She still enjoys the support of the most extreme of election conspiracy theorists, like fellow pro-Trump “Kraken” attorney Lin Wood. On Telegram, the encrypted social media chat app where the two have found refuge after numerous other apps booted them, Wood and Powell frequently share each others’ messages.
Powell can also count on the continued support and camaraderie of the MAGA universe’s leading pillow hypeman: Mike Lindell, a personal friend of Trump’s and a major financial backer of efforts to subvert or undo Biden’s decisive 2020 victory.
Lindell said on Thursday that though he and Powell “have not talked in the last couple weeks,” he still would collaborate with her and considers her a “great patriot, person, and lawyer!”