DemDaily: Georgia Charges Trump +18 in Criminal Enterprise

August 15, 2023

Last night Fulton County US Attorney Fani Willis announced the indictment of former President Donald Trump and 18 co-conspirators for "criminal enterprise" in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

It is the fourth time the twice-impeached former president has been indicted this year, bringing the total to 91 felony counts against him in four jurisdictions.

The sweeping 98-page, 41-count indictment chronicles in painstaking sequential detail the alleged web of crimes committed by Trump and his associates from the period leading up to the November 3, 2020 election through September 2022.

Willis used Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law, normally associated with organized crime, to charge the defendants.

"Rather than abide by Georgia's legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal, racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia's presidential election result." -- Fulton County DA Fani Willis

Willis' two-and-a-half year probe was initiated after the release of a January 2021 phone call in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican and the state’s top elections official, to “find” the 11,780 votes needed to overturn his narrow loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the state.

The 13 counts against Trump include conspiracy under RICO, soliciting a public official to violate their oath, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, conspiracy to commit forgery, filing of false documents and charges related to false statements and writings.

All 18 co-conspirators were also charged in the RICO conspiracy, which requires a gulilty verdict of only two predicated acts or underlying crimes for conviction.

Other charges leveled against the defendants include conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, impersonating a public officer, influencing witnesses and conspiracy to commit false statements and writings.

Among those charged are three of Georgia's 16 "fake electors" who "unlawfully falsely held themselves out as the duly elected and qualified presidential electors from the State of Georgia" in order to ultimately block the Electoral College vote to undo the election results. At least eight of Georgia's fake electors were granted immunity earlier in the probe and agreed to interviews with prosecutors, according to a May court filing.

Four defendants were also charged with election interference in Coffee County where they illegally accessed election data in an attempt to defraud the election and publicly boost conspiracy theories.

All told, 19 defendants were charged under 41 indictments, with some incurring multiple charges under the same category for a total of 131 charges.

Willis' announcement also mentions 30 unindicted co-conspirators, though they were not named or charged -- leading to speculation that some were "flipped" as witnesses.

The 19 defendants, who Willis said will be tried together in the next six months, have until noon on August 25 to surrender voluntarily or face arrest.

As with other indictments, Trump is expected to be free to continue his bid for a second term in office and is already actively fundraising off the charges.

In a fundraising email from his campaign, sent out shortly after the indictment Monday night, Trump called the Georgia case “the FOURTH ACT of Election Interference on behalf of the Democrats in an attempt to keep the White House under Crooked Joe’s control and JAIL his single greatest opponent of the 2024 election.”

In an August 11-13, 2023 Morning Consult poll of likely Republican presidential primary voters, Trump led the field with 57% to Ron DeSantis' 16%, followed by Vivek Ramaswamy (9%), Mike Pence (7%), Nikki Haley (3%), Chris Christie (3%), and the rest of the field at 1% or below (MOE:+/-2%).

DemList will keep you informed.

Related
DemDaily: The United States v. Trump 8/2/23
DemDaily: The Trials of Trump. Where They Stand 7/31/23
DemDaily: Arrested and Arraigned 6/14/23
DemDaily: 37 Counts 6/12/23
DemDaily: Liable 5/10/23
DemDaily: With Intent to Defraud and Conceal 4/4/23
DemDaily: Indicted 3/31/23

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Sources: NBC, AP, CNN, New York Times, Reuters, PBS, 538, CBS

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