A federal grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s former attorney Sidney Powell has uncovered evidence that Powell filed false incorporation papers with the state of Texas for a non-profit she heads, Defending the Republic, according to sources close to the investigation.
In the incorporation papers, Powell listed two men whom she said served with her on the organization’s board of directors, even though neither one of them gave Powell permission to do so.
Incorporation papers Powell filed with the Texas secretary of state on 1 December 2020 for Defending the Republic (DTR), listed only three people as comprising the group’s initial board: Powell herself, the Georgia attorney Lin Wood; and Brannon Castleberry, a Beverly Hills-based businessman and consultant.
The federal grand jury has reviewed extensive documentation that neither Wood nor Castleberry ever consented to serve on DTR’s board. One of the two men has said he wasn’t notified, even after the fact, that Powell had named him as a board member. The grand jury is investigating whether Powell misrepresented the makeup of her board in an effort to attract more donors.
The broader federal criminal inquiry into Powell, led by the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, has since last fall been examining allegations of fundraising and financial fraud by Powell in the running of the group, according to documents reviewed by the Guardian.
They are also looking into whether Powell defrauded donors by falsely claiming their donations to DTR were used to finance lawsuits Powell filed to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Powell has said the mission of DTR has been to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”, but to do so required that “millions of dollars must be raised”. But investigators have only found a single instance in which DTR funds were used to finance one of Powell’s numerous high-profile election cases.