Skip to content

Trump and 18 others indicted in Georgia on 41 criminal charges

Former President Donald Trump was hit with a fourth set of criminal charges when a Georgia grand jury issued a sweeping indictment accusing him of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

The charges, filed late Monday by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and which Trump called a “witch hunt,” add to the legal woes facing the former president, the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination for the 2024 election.

The lengthy 98-page indictment listed 19 defendants and 41 criminal charges in total. All the defendants were charged with extortion, which is used to attack members of organized crime groups and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, and lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman were among the defendants.

“Instead of complying with Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal and racketeering enterprise to overturn the outcome of Georgia’s presidential election,” Willis said at a news conference.

Trump and the other defendants have until noon EDT on Friday, Aug. 25, to voluntarily turn themselves in instead of being arrested, Willis said. He said he intends to try the 19 defendants together.

“This one-sided grand jury presentation was based on testimony that harbors their own personal and political interests,” Trump’s attorneys Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg said in a statement.

“We look forward to a detailed review of this impeachment, which is undoubtedly as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been,” Trump’s lawyers added.

Trump, in a social media post overnight, repeated his verbal attacks on Willis and called the impeachment a “witch hunt” as he sought the White House for a third time: “Why didn’t they impeach 2 .5 years? Because they wanted to do it. in the middle of my political campaign.”

The 13 felony charges against Trump match those listed in a document that was briefly posted on the court’s website earlier in the day and reported by Reuters before it disappeared.

Attorneys for the appointees declined to comment or did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a January 2, 2021 phone call, Trump urged Georgia’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to reverse his narrow loss in the state. Raffensperger refused to do so.

Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol four days later in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory.

The indictment cites a series of crimes allegedly committed by Trump or his associates from before the Nov. 3, 2020, election through September 2022, including falsely testifying to lawmakers that election fraud had occurred and urging state officials to alter the results.

He says the defendants tried to subvert the US electoral process by submitting false lists of electors, people who make up the Electoral College that elects the president and vice president.

Break the voting machines, harass the election workers

It alleges that the defendants breached voting equipment in a rural Georgia county, including voter personal information and ballot images.

Prosecutors also said the defendants harassed a poll worker who became the focus of conspiracy theories.

The indictment reaches beyond state lines, saying Giuliani, Meadows and others called officials in Arizona, Pennsylvania and elsewhere to urge them to change the outcome in those states.

The indictment names 30 other co-conspirators, although they were not named or charged.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty in three other criminal cases.

He faces a New York state trial in March 2024 involving the payment of money to a porn star and a federal trial starting in May in Florida for allegedly mishandling classified federal documents. In both cases, Trump pleaded not guilty.

A third indictment, in federal court in Washington, accuses him of illegally trying to overturn his 2020 election loss. Trump also denies wrongdoing in that case, and a date has yet to be set of the trial

Georgia, once reliably Republican, has become one of the few politically competitive states that can determine the outcome of a presidential election.

Trump persists in falsely claiming that he won the November 2020 election, even though dozens of court cases and state investigations have found no evidence to support his claim.

Don’t hurt your campaign

Strategists said that while the indictments could bolster Trump’s Republican support, they could hurt him in the November 2024 general election, when he will need to win over more independent voters.

In a July Reuters/Ipsos poll, 37 percent of independents said the criminal cases made them less likely to vote for him.

Willis’ investigation was based on testimony from Trump advisers, including Giuliani, who urged state lawmakers in December 2020 not to certify the election, and Republican state officials such as Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, who refuse to echo Trump’s false election claims.

While many Republican officials have echoed Trump’s false election claims, Kemp and Raffensperger have declined to do so.

Raffensperger has said there was no real basis for Trump’s objections, while Kemp certified the election results despite pressure from his party.

Trump has been mired in legal trouble since leaving office.

Aside from the criminal cases, a New York jury in May found him responsible for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll and awarded him $5 million in a civil case. A second defamation suit scheduled for January seeks $10 million in damages. Trump denies wrongdoing.

Trump is set to go on trial in October in a civil case in New York that accuses him and his family company of defrauding lenders and insurers for better terms.

Trump’s company was fined $1.6 million after being convicted of tax fraud in a New York court in December.

(Additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, Rami Ayyub, Jack Queen, Tim Ahmann, Andrew Goudsward, Kanishka Singh, Nilutpal Timsina and Susan Heavey; Writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *