Trump indicted by Georgia grand jury in 2020 election interference case

Former President Trump and a suite of 18 co-conspirators were indicted by a Georgia grand jury Monday on charges tied to efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The charges follow a more than two-year investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials to intervene to reverse his loss while also organizing a group of 16 Georgians to serve as fake electors and claim the former president had won the state. 

The indictment also targets several Trump allies accused of aiding in the scheme, naming Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Ken Chesebro and Jeffrey Clark as co-conspirators. Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows also faces charges.

In total, the indictment lists charges on 41 counts, making it the fourth criminal case brought against Trump this year.

The indictment brings sweeping Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charges to weave together actions taken by numerous people involved in the plots, relying on a law crafted to address any criminal “enterprise.” It outlines 161 acts prosecutors allege furthered the conspiracy.

It also alleges that Trump’s conduct violated a number of other criminal statutes in Georgia, including solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer as well as several conspiracy charges relating to filing fraudulent documents, including forgery and making false statements.

The indictment also includes two counts of violations of a Georgia election law: conspiracy to commit election fraud.

“Defendant Donald John Trump lost the presidential election held on Nov. 3, 2020,” prosecutors write as their very first statement in it.

“Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” the 98-page indictment reads. “That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.”

Though Trump sought to pressure election officials in a number of states to intervene in the election, his recorded January 2020 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “find 11,780 votes” has become one of the best known examples of the former president’s campaign to recruit state-level actors. He would reiterate that request still months later in a September letter asking him to begin “decertifying” the state’s results.

He would make similar calls to then-Georgia House Speaker David Ralston to call a special session of the legislature to reverse his loss, something the indictment deems as a solicitation to violate his oath of office.

Trump’s narrow margin of loss in the state combined with a Senate race recount made it a chief focal point for his campaign, rolling out a series of false claims about mishandled ballots and other faulty allegations of fraud – many of which were repeated in a Dec. 31 lawsuit.

And the campaign relied heavily on a memo crafted by attorney Chesebro pushing them to assemble false slates of electors, despite the admission that a move to have the vice president certify them would “likely” be rejected by the Supreme Court. Chesebro faces seven charges.

Those events and others serve as the basis for the sprawling indictment.

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