A look at the charges in Trump’s Georgia indictment


Former President Trump is facing 13 new charges in Georgia stemming from his efforts to remain in power following the 2020 election.


A 98-page indictment outlines Trump’s pressure campaign against election officials, a plot to submit false slates of electors and a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results in the state. Trump is also charged alongside 18 co-defendants.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s (D) prosecution has only added to Trump’s three existing criminal indictments, with the former president now facing a combined 91 counts across the cases.

Here are the new charges Trump faces.

Racketeering

Trump is charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, Act for allegedly partaking in a wide-reaching plot to subvert the state’s 2020 election results and stay in power. 

All 19 defendants in the case are charged with violating RICO, and prosecutors outlined 161 alleged acts they claim were part of a conspiracy to overturn the election results in the state

The federal RICO Act was created in 1970 to combat organized crime, but Georgia’s version of the law is broader; the state law can be aimed at any “enterprise,” meaning prosecutors can use it for a broader array of conduct. 

Designed to help prosecutors take on criminal leaders — not just low-level henchmen doing their dirty work — RICO laws let prosecutors paint a bigger picture by weaving together multiple crimes by different actors. 

The alleged acts span a wide variety of conduct beginning the day after the election and extending as far as September 2021, months after Trump’s tenure in the White House ended.

Prosecutors accused Trump and his allies of attempting to overturn the election results by, among other things, encouraging state officials to violate their oaths of office, devising a plan to submit a false slate of pro-Trump electors, intimidating an election worker and unlawfully breaching voting equipment.

The charge is designated a “serious felony” by the state, a status determined by sentence length, putting it on par with other serious felonies such as robbery, kidnapping and murder.

Fake electors plot

Several of the charges relate to a plot among Trump and his allies to submit false slates of pro-Trump electors to Congress in key swing states, including Georgia.

In connection with the scheme, Trump is charged with conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings and conspiracy to commit filing false documents.

An array of Trump’s lawyers and affiliates also face a mix of those charges, including longtime ally Rudy Giuliani and lawyer John Eastman.

Kenneth Chesebro, a Trump-allied attorney who wrote multiple memos laying out the plan, faces several charges in connection with the plot.

Ray Smith and Robert Cheeley, both lawyers, and Michael Roman — a Trump staffer — also face related charges.

The memos ultimately set the stage for a Dec. 14 meeting inside the state capitol, where 16 pro-Trump electors signed documents casting purported Electoral College votes for Trump.

Trump-Raffensperger call 

The former president is also charged with false statements and writings, and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer — both charges linked to a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call Trump made to Raffensperger.

In the call, Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” another 11,780 votes in the state that favored him. A recording of their conversation, first published by the Washington Post, has long been considered one of the most incriminating pieces of evidence against the former president. 

Raffensperger testified before the House Jan. 6 committee in June 2022 that his office “didn’t have any votes to find.”

“We just followed the law and we followed the Constitution,” Raffensperger said at the time. “And at the end of the day, President Trump came up short.”

John Lauro, one of Trump’s attorneys, characterized Trump’s comments as “political speech” and said the former president was asking Raffensperger to “get to the truth.”

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was on the call, was also charged with soliciting a violation of oath by a public officer.

Soliciting Georgia House Speaker

Willis charged Trump with soliciting a public officer to violate their oath of office by pressuring Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) to call a special session of the Legislature.

The Dec. 7, 2020, conversation occurred the same day that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) recertified Joe Biden’s victory in the state after counting the ballots a third time.

Prosecutors will need to prove Trump attempted to cause Ralston, who has since died, to commit conduct that would constitute a felony. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

Trump New Year’s Eve lawsuit 

Trump’s campaign filed multiple post-election legal challenges in Georgia seeking to throw out ballots or overturn the results.

The indictment takes aim at one of those suits, which was filed on New Year’s Eve 2020 and falsely alleged mass fraud that was enough to change the outcome of the election in Georgia.

The suit demanded the court direct Kemp and Raffensperger to decertify the election results, making unfounded claims about dead people voting and other illegal votes.

Willis’s office charged Trump with one count of filing false documents, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. 

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by Eastman, an attorney who pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence into overturning the results, and Kurt Hilbert, a Georgia-based attorney who represented Trump. Eastman was also charged with filing false documents, although Hilbert’s name does not appear in the indictment.

Trump had signed a document, which was filed with the court, verifying the facts contained within the Dec. 31 complaint as true to the best of his knowledge. 

September 2021 letter to Raffensperger 

The final two charges against Trump relate to a letter he sent to Raffensperger nearly a year after the election. 

On Sept. 17, 2021, Trump alleged that 43,000 absentee ballots in DeKalb County violated chain of custody procedures.

“I would respectfully request that your department check this and, if true, along with many other claims of voter fraud and voter irregularities, start the process of decertifying the Election, or whatever the correct legal remedy is, and announce the true winner. As stated to you previously, the number of false and/or irregular votes is far greater than needed to change the Georgia election result,” Trump wrote.

Willis charged the former president with another count of soliciting a public officer to violate their oath of office and making a false statement. He is the only defendant to face those charges.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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