Sidney Powell was the wildest of Donald Trump’s diehards and part of his inner circle. At that fateful meeting at the Oval Office with the President, she proposed ordering the military to seize voting machines in crucial states Trump had lost in a bid to overturn the presidential election result.
Now she’s struck a deal with prosecutors pleading guilty to conspiring to interfere with state election results. More importantly, she’s agreed to cooperate with investigators and testify against her co-defendants, including Trump.
Powell will serve six years of probation, pay a $6000 fine and write a letter of apology to the people of Georgia. As for her side of the deal, she has recorded a statement for prosecutors.
The lawyer Trump considered naming a special counsel to investigate allegations of voter fraud will now testify against him. She’s flipped, something Trump never imagined.
And now another co-defendant, Kenneth Chesebro, considered the captain of Trump’s legal team, has also flipped. He’s pled guilty and will testify against his former boss.
Trump’s world is falling apart – he has no friends, only witnesses to his crimes.
That’s a salutary lesson for a certain Joseph Muscat. No matter how powerful you think you are, your closest friends will turn against you soon enough. And the ones who’ll inflict the most damage are those who know you best, who kept your secrets, who helped you bury the bodies.
One such close friend of Joseph Muscat was feeling the pressure this week – Keith Schembri.
In a pre-trial hearing before magistrate Edwina Grima, Yorgen Fenech’s legal team insisted to the prosecution: “Do your job well, and you’ll find the true mastermind” behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
In a subtle hint to the prosecution, Fenech’s lawyer cynically commented about the contents of Melvin Theuma’s notorious ice cream box: “It wasn’t a photo with Yorgen Fenech”. It was a photo with Keith Schembri in Castille.
The day before that photo was taken, Yorgen Fenech called Theuma. “You have an appointment tomorrow morning with Keith Schembri at Castille”. By then, Fenech had already asked Theuma to contact Geroge iċ-Ċiniz because “I want to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia”.
When Theuma reached Castille the following day, he called Fenech. “Which door shall I go in through?” he asked. “Go up the stairs through the front door where the soldier stands guard,” Fenech told him.
Theuma was surprised when Schembri came down to greet him, shake his hand, show him around Castille, and take the famous photo.
Schembri then contacted another member of staff who gave Theuma his phantom job. Theuma would start getting paid a monthly salary for doing nothing, which he later described as “advanced payment for murder”.
Yorgen Fenech is getting restless. After years of imprisonment awaiting trial, he’s finally fighting back.
He must surely rage at the fact that he’s the only one facing that desperate predicament. He must envy Schembri, who continues with his life, his business, and his freedom.
He must envy Joseph Muscat, happily uploading snapshots of his worldwide luxury trips with Michelle and the rest of his family.
Yorgen Fenech is the only one deprived of his loved ones and his freedom, and his rage is starting to break through, and his lawyers are challenging the prosecution to do their job well.
They’re not the only ones. Practically the whole European Parliament chastised the police and attorney general in a damning resolution passed with an overwhelming majority.
It declared the parliament is “alarmed by the institutional failure of law enforcement and justice in Malta”. It expressed concern about “the impunity afforded to the former prime minister (Joseph Muscat), his chief of staff (Keith Schembri) and the former minister for tourism (Konrad Mizzi)”.
That resolution won the approval of 437 MEPs. Just 14 voted against. It called the Commission “to use all the relevant tools at its disposal to ensure the law is applied equally for all”.
That’s what Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers are demanding, too. Why didn’t the prosecution request access to Keith Schembri’s replacement phone for the one he ‘lost’ just minutes before the police knocked on his door?
That replacement phone was seized from Schembri as part of a financial crimes investigation. According to Fenech’s lawyers, it must contain important information about Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
They insisted that Ram Tumuluri should be called to testify. Keith Schembri told Tumuluri he was looking for someone to kill Caruana Galizia. After her assassination, Tumuluri said Schembri had threatened he “might end up like Daphne”.
While the European Parliament resolution called for full and continuous involvement of Europol in all aspects of the murder investigation, it transpired from the pretrial hearing that a critical report by a Europol expert about Caruana Galizia’s assassination has gone missing from court records.
That document was presented in the murder inquiry in 2018. Now, it can’t be found.
Meanwhile, despite being granted a presidential pardon, Melvin Theuma refused to testify in the case against Keith Schembri over his phantom job.
Joseph Muscat’s bodyguard, Kenneth Camilleri, who had passed messages to Theuma, declined to testify. Keith Schembri ‘lost’ his phone. Yorgen Fenech remained pretty tight-lipped, but that won’t last.
Fenech knows too much. When the FBI traced the SMS that triggered the car bomb that killed Caruana Galizia, Fenech knew almost immediately and told Theuma.
He knew the police would raid the potato shed and told Theuma to warn the Degiorgios and Vince Muscat il-Koħħu.
Fenech said about Keith Schembri: “He would have wanted to burn her not once but a hundred times. They were all freaked out, including Joseph… She had broken them. She had ruined them”.
Trump’s senior lawyer now stands ready to nail him with her testimony, and the dominoes have started to fall.
It won’t be long before the same happens here because the ground beneath the former leaders’ feet is shaking.