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Georgia grand jury indicts Trump over state’s 2020 election results

Prosecutors laid out under state laws a criminal conspiracy, with 18 co-defendants, about the push to overturn the count

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney receives documents Monday from County Court Clerk Che Alexander in Atlanta, Ga. District Attorney Fani Willis brought evidence before a grand jury, which indicted former President Donald Trump and others.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney receives documents Monday from County Court Clerk Che Alexander in Atlanta, Ga. District Attorney Fani Willis brought evidence before a grand jury, which indicted former President Donald Trump and others. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

A Georgia grand jury signed off on a sweeping 41-count indictment Monday that accuses Donald Trump and 18 others of operating as a “criminal organization” as they sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in one of the nation’s top battleground states.

The case led, by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, focuses on the former president’s efforts to overturn election results in Georgia, with the indictment centered on the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, known as RICO.

“The indictment alleges that rather than by abide by Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result,” Willis said at a press conference following the unveiling of the indictment.

Willis said Trump and the other defendants had the right to challenge the 2020 election results but went beyond the law. Willis also said the defendants would be allowed to surrender voluntarily by Aug. 25, and she would push for a trial within six months.

The charges tee up yet another high-stakes legal battle that could play out well into the heated 2024 Republican primary race, where the 77-year-old politician continues his grip on front-runner status for the party’s nomination.

The indictment is the fourth criminal case against Trump, and the second connected to his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

It alleges that Trump and a cohort of allies, including lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, and his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, operated as an organization that engaged in “various related criminal activities.” Those activities include false statements, forgery and influencing witnesses.

“Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” the indictment states.

Meadows, a former Republican House member from North Carolina who became Trump’s top aide, was indicted on two charges: on the broader conspiracy and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.

The indictment relates the second charge to a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to violate his oath “by unlawfully altering, unlawfully adjusting, and otherwise unlawfully influencing the certified returns for presidential electors for the November 3, 2020, presidential election in Georgia.”

The indictment included details of communications between Trump allies such as Kenneth Chesebro and Giuliani, discussing plans to disrupt or delay Congress’ counting of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

The indictment also alleged Trump called Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6, asking him to reject Electoral College votes from Georgia and other states. When Pence refused, Trump said the vice president would “go down as a wimp” and was not protecting the United States, the indictment alleged.

Before the charges were announced, Trump sent an email to supporters seeking to fundraise off of the latest indictment Monday. The former president cited an alleged draft set of charges posted online Monday as proof prosecutors had already decided how the case would end up.

In release Monday night, Trump criticized the indictment, claiming the criminal cases against him in Georgia and elsewhere are meant to interfere in his 2024 bid for the presidency.

“Justice and the rule of law are officially DEAD in America,” the release said.

Prior to the indictment, Trump posted on his social media website Truth Social about the investigation, the grand jury and Willis. Trump also posted several false claims about the 2020 election in all caps.

Trump argued that he didn’t tamper with the election and said in the all-caps post that Willis “wants desperately to indict me on the ridiculous grounds of tampering with the 2020 presidential election.”

“Why wasn’t this fake case brought 2.5 years ago? Election interference!” Trump wrote in an all-caps post on Monday.

Trump is leading the polls to win the Republican presidential nomination and has incorporated his criticism of allegedly political prosecutions into his campaign.

The former president is already fighting criminal charges in two cases brought by special counsel John L. “Jack” Smith — one in Florida tied to Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents after his presidency and another in Washington, D.C., connected to his efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat.

Trump is also expected to face a trial next year in New York on state-level charges of falsifying business records connected to a hush money payment made to a porn star related to his 2016 run for the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said in a release Monday that the Georgia indictment “portrays a repeated pattern of criminal activity by the former president.”

“This latest indictment details how Mr. Trump led a months-long plot pushing the Big Lie to steal an election, undermine our democracy, and overturn the will of the people of Georgia,” the release said.

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