Trump is indicted in Georgia over 2020 election meddling, the 4th criminal case against him
Category: News & PoliticsVia: tig • one month ago • 310 comments
By: KATE BRUMBACK and ERIC TUCKER (AP News)
The content of the indictment is of course what matters:
From the Indictment:
Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3, 2020. One of the states he lost was Georgia. Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump. That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.
ATLANTA (AP) — Donald Trump and several allies were indicted in Georgia on Monday, accused of scheming to illegally overturn his 2020 election loss in the state. It's the fourth criminal case to be brought against the former president and the second to allege that he tried to subvert the results of the vote.
The Fulton County grand jury indictment of Trump follows a two-year investigation ignited by a January 2021 phone call in which the then-president suggested that Georgia's Republican secretary of state could help him "find 11,780 votes" needed to reverse his narrow loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Other defendants included former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and a Trump administration Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, who advanced his efforts to undo his election loss in Georgia.
Trump was previously indicted in early August by a federal grand jury for conspiring to undermine the 2020 vote and prevent the peaceful transfer of power through a series of lies and unlawful actions taken after the general election and leading up to the violent riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He pleaded not guilty in that case.
As indictments mount, Trump — the leading Republican candidate for president in 2024 — often invokes his distinction as the only former president to face criminal charges. He is campaigning and fundraising around these themes, portraying himself as the victim of Democratic prosecutors out to get him.
ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia grand jury that has been investigating former President Donald Trump over his efforts to undo that state's 2020 election results arrived at a frenzied conclusion late Monday, returning indictments even as prosecutors offered no clarity about who had been charged and for what.
The existence of indictments became apparent around 9 p.m., when the Fulton County judge who for months has been presiding over the grand jury investigation was presented by courthouse officials with a set of papers in a courtroom packed with reporters anticipating news.
But neither the judge nor county officials revealed any details about the documents — though at least some of the indictments appeared to be for cases other than Trump. Even so, all signs pointed toward the grand jury moving toward an indictment in the Trump investigation: The panel worked late, some witnesses scheduled to appear Tuesday testified instead on Monday and the judge who's been handling the matter, Robert McBurney, encouraged reporters to stay late. Adding to the scene were live cameras following county officials inside the courthouse, hoping to glimpse signs of action.
If Trump is indicted in Georgia, it would mark the fourth time this year he's faced criminal charges. He's also been indicted by federal officials for allegedly hoarding classified documents and conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. But the Georgia case is unique for its sprawling nature and the potential that Trump could be charged alongside multiple associates and aides.
The Georgia prosecution is also notable for its chaotic conclusion. Even as prosecutors summoned as witnesses multiple former state officials, including the ex-lieutenant governor, the process hit an unexpected snag in the middle of the day, when Reuters reported on a document listing criminal charges to be brought against Trump. Those included state racketeering counts, conspiracy to commit false statements and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.
Reuters, which later published a copy of the document, said the filing was taken down quickly. A spokesperson for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the report of charges being filed was "inaccurate," but declined to comment further on a kerfuffle that the Trump legal team rapidly jumped on to attack the integrity of the investigation.
The office of the courts clerk later released a statement that seemed to only raise more questions, calling the posted document "fictitious," but failing to explain how it got on the court's website. The clerk's office said documents without official case numbers "are not considered official filings and should not be treated as such." But the document that appeared online did have a case number on it.
Asked about the "fictitious" document Monday evening, the courts clerk, Che Alexander, said: "I mean, I don't know what else to say, like, grace. … I don't know, I haven't seen an indictment, right, so I don't have anything." On the question of whether the website had been hacked, she said, "I can't speak to that."
Trump and his allies, who have characterized the investigation as politically motivated, immediately seized on the apparent error to claim the process was rigged. Trump's campaign aimed to fundraise off it, sending out an email with the since-deleted document embedded.
"The Grand Jury testimony has not even FINISHED - but it's clear the District Attorney has already decided how this case will end," Trump wrote in the email, which included links to give money to his campaign. "This is an absolute DISGRACE."
Trump's legal team said it was not a "simple administrative mistake." Rather it was "emblematic of the pervasive and glaring constitutional violations which have plagued this case from its very inception," the lawyers said.
Legal experts said it was likely a clerical error listing charges prosecutors were planning to ask the grand jury to vote on. Prosecutors draft indictments and present them to the grand jury, which ultimately decides whether to hand charges down.
"I think this tells us what they are planning to present to the grand jury, and the grand jury could say no," said Clark Cunningham, a Georgia State University law professor. He said while the error will give Trump's legal team fodder to complain, "it will not scuttle the case."
The posting may have prompted prosecutors to move more quickly to reach a conclusion Monday. Former lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan, who over the weekend said he'd also been asked to testify Tuesday, instead appeared before the grand jury Monday. He told reporters outside the courthouse that the 2020 election had been "fair and legal" and said now was the "opportunity to get the real story out."
The document listing criminal charges filed midday Monday listed more than a dozen felony counts, including Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO. Willis has long been expected to levy that charge against Trump and his associates, accusing them of participating in a wide-ranging conspiracy to overturn the state's 2020 election results.
Two counts — including solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer — listed the date of offense as Jan. 2, 2021, which was when Trump during a phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he wanted to "find" enough votes to overturn his loss in the state. Other counts listed the date of offense as Sept. 17, 2021, which is the same day Trump sent Raffensperger a message urging him to investigate "large scale voter fraud," decertify the election and "announce the true winner" if the investigation found the fraud.
Raffensperger and Gabriel Sterling, a fellow Republican who is also a top official in the secretary of state's office, forcefully pushed back against allegations of widespread problems with Georgia's election.
Associated Press journalists Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston and Brynn Anderson, Jeff Martin, Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.
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