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Georgia Grand Jury Indicts Trump, 18 Others in Election Probe


Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, center, speaks at the Fulton County Government Center during a news conference, in Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 14, 2023.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, center, speaks at the Fulton County Government Center during a news conference, in Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 14, 2023.

A grand jury in the southern U.S. state of Georgia has indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 others in connection with efforts to overturn his narrow 2020 election loss in the pivotal political battleground state.

The 13 charges unsealed against Trump late Monday include racketeering, violating his oath of office, conspiracies to commit forgery and file false documents, and other offenses.

The indictment alleged that Trump and the other defendants “refused to accept that Trump had lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis alleged in the indictment that the 19 defendants and 30 unnamed co-conspirators “constituted a criminal organization” and took 161 overt acts to upend the election result.

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Racketeering Charges Increase Risks to Trump in Elections Interference Case
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Trump is the first U.S. president, in office or after his term ended, ever formally accused of criminal offenses in the country’s 247-year history. But now, even as national polls show him with a commanding lead for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, he has been indicted four times in the last four months and faces several trials in the coming months.

He derided the Georgia indictment, saying Tuesday on his Truth Social account that he would release an “irrefutable report” next Monday showing that the election outcome in Georgia was rigged against him and claiming that his evidence would lead to “complete EXONERATION” of himself and his 18 co-defendants.

Judges have dismissed dozens of Trump’s election fraud claim lawsuits, including in Georgia.

Georgia governor: 2020 election not stolen

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said on the X social media site, “The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen. For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward - under oath - and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor.”

The racketeering charge in the new indictment means that Georgia prosecutors must prove that the former president broke two or more of the state’s laws as part of a scheme to overturn the election results.

Among those charged along with Trump were former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York mayor; and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, whom Trump considered naming attorney general in the waning days of his administration in early 2021.

Willis told reporters at a news conference late Monday that the defendants were part of a criminal enterprise in Fulton County and elsewhere to “accomplish the illegal goal of allowing Donald J. Trump to seize the presidential term of office” that began on January 20, 2021.

The indictment details numerous allegations as part of that alleged effort, including making repeated claims of voter fraud to Georgia officials, attempting to persuade Georgia lawmakers to go against election results and appoint a slate of electoral college voters favorable to Trump, and stealing voting data.

A portion of the indictment in Georgia against former President Donald Trump is photographed Aug. 14, 2023.
A portion of the indictment in Georgia against former President Donald Trump is photographed Aug. 14, 2023.

“All elections in our nation are administered by the states, which are given the responsibility of ensuring a fair process and an accurate counting of the votes,” Willis said. “The states’ role in this process is essential to the functioning of our democracy.”

U.S. presidents are not chosen by the national popular vote, although Democrat Joe Biden won seven million more votes than Trump in 2020. Rather, the national presidential outcome is decided in 50 state-by-state elections, with the largest states holding the most votes in the Electoral College that determines the presidential winner.

Biden in 2020 was the first Democrat to win in Georgia since 1992. Trump contested the outcome in several states he narrowly lost to Biden, but even if he had flipped the outcome in Georgia, its 16 electoral votes that went to Biden would not have been enough to overturn the national result.

Willis said the timing of the trial in the case is up to the discretion of the assigned judge, but that her office would propose the trial take place in the next six months, a fast timetable that may not be possible with 19 defendants.

She also said that while the grand jury issued arrest warrants for those charged, her office was allowing them to voluntarily surrender themselves by noon on August 25.

The former president’s campaign did not wait for the charges to be unsealed before issuing a statement accusing Willis of being a “rabid partisan” and timing the investigation of Trump’s actions “to try and maximally interfere with the 2024 presidential race and damage the dominant Trump campaign.”

Willis told reporters her decisions are based on the facts and that the law is “completely non-partisan.”

“We look at the facts, we look at the law, and we bring charges,” Willis said.

Trump said on his Truth Social site Monday that he “did not tamper with the election,” and in a post early Tuesday he called Willis “out of control and very corrupt.”

“Why didn’t they Indict 2.5 years ago? Because they wanted to do it right in the middle of my political campaign,” Trump said. “Witch Hunt!”

The indictment follows a 2½-year investigation that stemmed broadly from Trump’s taped phone call in early 2021 to Georgia election officials soliciting them to “find” him 11,780 votes, one more than Biden’s margin of victory in the pivotal battleground state.

To this day, Trump falsely contends that election irregularities cost him another term in the White House. Trump has also been indicted in two federal cases and one in New York state.

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith accused Trump in a four-count indictment in Washington of scheming with six unnamed co-conspirators to illegally upend his national reelection loss.

Smith also accused Trump in Florida of illegally hoarding highly classified national security documents as he left the White House in early 2021 and conspiring to keep from turning them over to federal investigators.

A New York state prosecutor indicted Trump on charges of altering business records at his Trump Organization real estate conglomerate to hide a hush money payment to a porn film star ahead of his successful 2016 run for the presidency to keep her from talking about her claim of a one-night tryst with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all the cases.