#donaldtrump | Florida’s top Democrat files complaint against former Trump attorney’s charity


Sidney Powell is a former attorney for former President Donald Trump. | Ben Margot/AP Photo

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said Friday she is going after a charity run by Sidney Powell, a former attorney for former President Donald Trump who amplified conspiracy theories in the wake of the 2020 election cycle.

Fried’s office alleges that the Powell-run charity, known as Defending the Democracy, did not properly register with the state and has been deceptively soliciting donations on its website, which lists a West Palm Beach address. Fried is currently running for governor in Florida.

The organization was set up under the guise of raising money to fund legal challenges to the results of the 2020 election, which saw a Trump loss spin off a host of conspiracy theories about voter fraud, many of which were started by Powell. She became known for saying she would “release the Kraken” before filing a failed lawsuit to overturn Georgia’s election results.

“Defending the Republican is an affiliate with Sidney Powell, former attorney for former President Donald Trump, and established as a legal front involved in conspiracies in the so-called rigged presidential election,” Fried said during a press conference.

“If you take advantage of Floridians, if you think the rules do not apply to you, we will release a Kraken of our own,” Fried added.

The group, which did not return a request seeking comment through its website, is continuing to push the idea the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, a sentiment now informally dubbed the “Big Lie.” The site includes links to lawsuits filed by the group and a section where people can submit what they think is evidence of voter fraud.

“Our organization is developing daily, increasing our planned cases and our other efforts to defend the Republic,” reads the site. “Please sign up for our updates below.”

The group now has 21 days to respond to the administrative complaint filed by Fried’s office, which is the state’s top charity regulator. If it does not, the office will push for default judgment and a fine that could be up to $15,000. If the group does not pay, Fried said her office could take the matter to court.

Fried is challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis, a top Trump ally who helped amplify some of the election disinformation that spread in the wake of the election. When asked by reporters, Fried brushed aside the perception that the complaint was filed to target a high profile Republican tied to Trump’s orbit.

“I have an obligation to defend the people of our state, regardless of the political organization, regardless of their mission,” Fried said.

Fried initially sent a November complaint to the group, which responded by saying that they were the wrong group, and that it should have been sent to a similarly-named — but separate — organization. Fried’s office then subpoenaed the website’s domain host.

“The response from the subpoena indicated Sidney Powell … was in control of that website,” said Rick Kimsey, the department’s head of consumer services.

Fried said because the charity is not registered with the state, they do not have any financial records.

“For all we know, Sidney could be pocketing all the money,” she said. “We just don’t know.”


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