Trump Indicted in Georgia Prosecutors Charge Trump with ‘Criminal Enterprise’ to Unset Election

The former president and 18 allies, including Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mark Meadows, were charged by a grand jury with a number of offenses relating to a plot to thwart the will of the people.

FILE – Former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association Convention in Indianapolis, on April 14, 2023.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

An Atlanta grand jury has charged former president Donald J. Trump and 18 others in a significant racketeering case, charging Mr. Trump and some of his former top advisers with directing a “criminal enterprise” to rig the Georgia 2020 election.

Charges are leveled against some of his most well-known aides in the indictment, including Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff at the time of the election, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, his longtime personal attorney. This is an unprecedented challenge of presidential malfeasance by a local prosecutor.

“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,” the prosecution stated in the indictment.

Since April, Mr. Trump, who is currently running for president and is the early favorite to win the Republican nomination, has been indicted in four different criminal investigations, including one that was brought by the federal government earlier this month for Mr. Trump’s attempts to retain power after the 2020 election.

Even though the Georgia case and the one in that case deal with some of the same issues, there are important distinctions between state and federal charges: Even if Mr. Trump were to win the presidency again, the Georgia prosecutors would not answer to him, and he would not have the authority to seek his own pardon if found guilty.

Additionally, the most thorough set of charges against the former president are leveled in the most recent indictment, which alleges a broad conspiracy involving everyone from the White House to the Georgia Republican Party to a local election official in a rural county.

What you should know is as follows:

  • The indictment listed eight ways in which the defendants were alleged to have interfered with the election: by lying to the Georgia state legislature, to state officials, by fabricating phony supporters of Donald Trump, by intimidating election workers, by soliciting Justice Department officials, by soliciting Vice President Mike Pence, by hacking voting machines, and by covering up their actions. It outlines 161 distinct actions that, according to the prosecution, were taken to advance the alleged criminal conspiracy. These actions include things like Rudy Giuliani’s alleged election fraud testimony to Georgia lawmakers in early December and Donald Trump’s phone call to the state’s secretary of state in early January pleading with him to “find” 12,000 votes.
  • The state racketeering statute, which was initially intended to break up organized crime groups, permits prosecutors to combine together offenses committed by various individuals if they are thought to be supporting a single cause. Acts committed in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia were mentioned in the indictment.
  • Fulton County district attorney Fani T. Willis was in charge of the investigation. In a news conference, she stated, “I make decisions in this office based on the facts and the law,” adding that “the law is completely nonpartisan.” She stated that she was looking for a trial date in the following six months.
  • The Trump team said in a statement that Ms. Willis was a “rabid partisan” and that her inquiry into election meddling was founded on “fabricated accusations.” Despite the fact that the inquiry was conducted by a state prosecutor, the Biden campaign was linked to it by the campaign.
  • Kenneth Chesebro and John Eastman were two of the attorneys that assisted Mr. Trump who were indicted. They were the planners of the scheme to deploy phony Trump electors to defeat the results of the popular vote in several battleground states. Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign employee who assisted in organizing the elector operation, was also.
  • The Department of Justice’s Jeffrey Clark, a former senior official who promoted bogus election claims and attempted to involve the agency in a challenge to the Georgia result, was also charged. Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis are two more attorneys who supported Mr. Trump’s campaign and were charged.
  • A number of Georgia Republicans, including Shawn Still, a state legislator, and David Shafer, the former chairman of the party, were also charged. One of the phony Trump electors, Cathy Latham, a party chief in a small-town county, was also charged.
  • The racketeering law in Georgia is being used to prosecute all 19 defendants, and each of them is facing at least one extra charge. Racketeering laws are frequently used to prosecute individuals involved in patterns of illicit conduct and can be effective in pursuing both members of a corrupt organization’s lower levels of management and its top brass.
  • The lengthy indictment’s list of lesser-known defendants completes the picture of the varied and even odd activities pro-Trump forces carried out in Georgia. Three of them are allegedly linked to a scheme to get a Fulton County election worker to falsely admit that she committed fraud on Election Day in 2020. Trevian Kutti, a Chicago-based celebrity stylist and Trump supporter who convinced the employee, Ruby Freeman, to meet with her in early January 2021, is credited with being at the center of that endeavor, according to the prosecution.
  • The former president has refuted all of the accusations against him, alleging they are the result of a “witch hunt” with political overtones to prevent him from winning reelection the next year. Because he might conceivably pardon himself for federal offenses if re-elected, his chances of avoiding criminal convictions in the federal cases may be largely dependent on his presidential campaign.

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