Fulton County, the epicenter of 2020 voter fraud claims, is now poised to become a major player in rigging the 2024 election for Joe Biden.
Throughout the year, many in the political and legal communities have been anxiously waiting for Fani Willis, the District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, to bring criminal charges against Donald Trump.
This anticipation stems from an ongoing investigation into the attempts of Trump and his confidants to run for the 2020 election. Security was significantly increased at the Fulton County Courthouse on Monday, suggesting that Trump’s fourth impeachment of the year could be imminent.
Trump and his legal team seem convinced that he will be indicted by Fulton County prosecutors. Trump has been vocal in his criticism of Willis since the previous year, and his lawyers have made numerous attempts to thwart the potential indictment and investigation.
Donald Trump has even gone so far as to accuse Willis of having an affair with a band member who was involved in a legal case.
President Trump on Fani Willis:
“They say he went after a certain gang and ended up having an affair with the gang leader or a gang member. And this is the person who wants to accuse me? He’s got a lot of problems.”pic.twitter.com com/7pxq3fhqev
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 8, 2023
“They say he was going after a certain gang and ended up having an affair with the gang leader or a gang member,” Trump said. “And this is the person who wants to accuse me? He has a lot of problems.”
The Trump campaign appears to be accusing Willis of her relationship with Young Stoner Life (YSL) co-founder Mondo, aka Fremondo Crenshaw. Anecdotal evidence supporting this claim is inconclusive.
Mondo told Rolling Stone that the two had a “cool relationship.”
“She’s almost like, not really street, but she understands what’s going on, bro. She understands life to a certain extent. She’s not trying to tear all these little niggas down. She’s not that kind of woman, man. I’m telling you, she doesn’t,” he said.
Willis told Rolling Stone that he “liked” Mondo and hoped he would “be fine.”
“When I represented [him], got 110% effort from me. I defended him zealously. I tend to meet my clients where they are. I hope you understand what this means. I want to see him do amazing things with his life, and I hope that’s where he’s headed,” she said.
More controversial is Willis’ involvement in the prosecution of a racketeering case that may be similar to the one used to ensnare Donald Trump.
In 1980, Georgia enacted its RICO statute. Instead of primarily targeting the Mafia, he targeted black street gangs and “non-traditional conspiracies,” as described by Norman Eisen, a former trial attorney and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He mentioned that the Georgia Assembly saw the need to combat “the growing sophistication of various criminal elements.”
“Because of its breadth,” Eisen said, “Georgia prosecutors are more likely to use its criminal RICO provision as a vehicle for major cases.” It is one of the best places in the country to deploy this provision, he added.
Georgia’s racketeering statute is broader than its federal equivalent. Importantly, it allows attempts to solicit or coerce specific crimes to be included as foundational acts of exhibition, even if those acts are not independently imputable.
In 2013, Fani Willis assumed the role of lead prosecutor in Georgia’s longest criminal trial to date. The case centered on allegations of cheating on standardized tests by Atlanta Public Schools educators and administrators. A detailed investigation, launched by the state’s governor, found that since 2001, 178 educators, including numerous principals and a superintendent, had engaged in “organized and systematic misconduct.”
Reports surfaced of teachers providing answers to students, correcting incorrect answers, and administrators encouraging such cheating behaviors while penalizing noncompliance. One educator, who confessed to manipulating test answers, compared the Atlanta public school system to a mob operation, claiming, “APS is run like the mob.”
Echoing that sentiment, the Fulton County District Attorney’s office indicted thirty-five educators under the RICO Act, a law historically linked to mob prosecutions. Willis, during his opening remarks, clarified how the charges fit the context, saying RICO does not require a formal gathering akin to a mob dinner. Instead, he emphasized: “What is essential is a collective effort towards a shared illegal goal. Here, that goal was to artificially inflate test scores.”
Willis is likely to bring a similar case against Donald Trump, arguing that his attempts to legally contest the 2020 election, a constitutionally authorized action that is also protected by the Election Counting Act of 1887, somehow resembles the behavior of the criminal mob.
While the precise evidence remains ambiguous, sources hint that charges related to witness influence could encompass Trump’s discussions with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In those conversations, Trump allegedly urged Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, allegedly linking Trump to the misconduct.
In terms of unauthorized computer access, prosecutors must prove that the defendant unlawfully used a computer system to disrupt its operation or data. That could be related to unauthorized access to voting machines in Coffee County, experts say.
This unauthorized access was reportedly orchestrated by Trump affiliates, compensated by then-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell. They allegedly accessed and duplicated crucial data from the county’s voting machines.
Data extracted from Dominion Voting Systems machines, operating throughout Georgia, was posted on a secure website. Skeptics of the election results could then access this information, apparently in a flawed attempt to contest the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
Although Coffee County is not normally within the Fulton County district attorney’s jurisdiction, Georgia’s racketeering law could allow charges against the Trump team for its actions there if prosecutors argue that Trump he somehow tried to retain the presidency illegally.
Interestingly, electoral problems in Coffee County persisted through the January primary, general election and senate runoff. The Coffee County BOE wrote to the House Governmental Affairs Committee on December 10, 2020 with concerns about the certification of the November 3 results:
“As you know, the certification process requires the Supervisor of Elections to swear under oath and under penalty of perjury that the certified votes are a true and accurate reflection of the tally or tally… Coffee County could not honestly make that certification given the inherent inconsistencies within the electronic summary report generated by the domain voting systems.
“The decision not to certify … was the result of a unanimous vote by the Coffee County BOE. However, that decision was not made until the Board was able to review and explain the data through its domain representative. .. He had NO explanation for the inaccuracies. He could not reconcile the data from the electronic count report or explain how it differed so dramatically from the previous two counts.”
“No one could explain what was wrong or what to do. No one from the Secretary of State’s office came to help the Board determine if it made a mistake or if the inaccuracies are related to the Dominion software.”
“…a video created at a Coffee County BOE meeting that is now widely distributed across the Internet. This video demonstrates how the Dominion system can be manipulated to alter the results of existing ballots or create ballots from the air This safety issue was first discovered by the Coffee County BOE supervisor in June 2020…findings were reported to our state representative Dominic LaRiccia on or about June 10, 2020 , hoping that someone not associated with Dominion would look into this problem.The board never heard a word from Mr. LaRiccia or anyone from the Secretary of State’s office or state government.
“Coffee Co’s BOE has reported various aspects of these issues to the Secretary of State for many months without receiving any assistance in correcting these issues. As for the investigation, the Secretary of State chose not to assist- did not help us assess the root cause of the refusal to certify the election count, but certified the statewide election results despite our findings.”
However, Georgia prosecutors, like special counsel Jack Smith in the classified documents case, will certainly seek a gag order.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Newsweek that Trump’s comments about the case could lead to the imposition of a protective or gag order.
“The judge in the Atlanta case, if and when Trump is indicted, can issue both a protective order and a gag order. The protective order covers documents produced in discovery and is pretty standard. A gag order is less common, and has not been issued so far in any of the former president’s other criminal cases,” he said in a statement.
While Rahmani hypothetically acknowledged Trump’s First Amendment rights to discuss the case, he stressed that those rights do not give him the freedom to disparage the judge, prosecutors or the witnesses involved.
“The problem with a gag order is that it’s toothless unless the judge is willing to hold Trump in contempt if he violates it,” he said. “That would be extraordinary, but this is not a common case. So far, no judge has been willing to hold Trump in contempt and imprison him, but that may change if Trump continues to ignore the judges’ orders.”
Trump’s legal team recently approached the Georgia Supreme Court, alleging that Willis’ office is seeking to inflict “irreparable injury” on Trump and that he is the target of the special grand jury. Both the state’s highest court and the supervising judge of the special grand jury quickly dismissed those claims.
These denials were not unexpected. Legally, it is unheard of to dismiss criminal charges even before they are formally filed. The actions of Trump’s legal representatives align with his history of impeachment, including his public criticism of the special grand jury foreman earlier this year for simply responding to media inquiries.
Having four concurrent criminal proceedings in different jurisdictions is unprecedented for anyone, let alone a former President of the United States. This leads to increased legal costs, busy court schedules and an increased chance of unfavorable verdicts. These criminal proceedings were timed for the 2024 presidential election campaign and appear designed specifically to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president again.
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OPINION: This article contains comments that reflect the opinion of the author.