Former President Donald Trump and 18 of his allies have been indicted by a grand jury in Georgia for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state. The indictment, which was announced on Monday, includes charges of racketeering, violating the oath of office, and election fraud.
Trump pressured Georgia officials to “find” votes
The indictment stems from a two-year investigation led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who launched the probe in February 2021 after a leaked phone call revealed that Trump had pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse his narrow loss to Joe Biden in the state.
According to the indictment, Trump and his co-defendants “conspired to commit a pattern of racketeering activity” by engaging in “multiple acts of solicitation, threats, intimidation, and coercion” against Georgia officials and employees to interfere with the election results. The indictment also alleges that Trump and his allies made false statements to the public and the courts about voter fraud and election irregularities in Georgia.
The indictment cites several instances of Trump’s alleged attempts to influence the election outcome, such as:
- Calling Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, and asking him to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn Biden’s victory.
- Calling Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on December 5, 2020, and urging him to call a special session of the legislature to appoint pro-Trump electors.
- Calling Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on December 8, 2020, and warning him not to interfere with his legal challenges to the election results.
- Sending a letter to Raffensperger on December 23, 2020, requesting him to decertify the election results and conduct an audit of absentee ballot signatures.
- Tweeting false and misleading claims about voter fraud and election rigging in Georgia.
Trump’s allies also face charges
The indictment also names 18 other defendants who allegedly assisted Trump in his scheme to overturn the election results. They include:
- Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff
- Rudy Giuliani, former personal lawyer for Trump
- Sidney Powell, former lawyer for Trump’s campaign
- John Eastman, former lawyer for Trump’s campaign
- Jeffrey Clark, former acting assistant attorney general
- Jenna Ellis, former senior legal adviser for Trump’s campaign
- Joseph diGenova, former lawyer for Trump’s campaign
- Victoria Toensing, former lawyer for Trump’s campaign
- Jason Miller, former senior adviser for Trump’s campaign
- Boris Epshteyn, former strategic adviser for Trump’s campaign
- Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner and associate of Giuliani
- Kurt Hilbert, lawyer who represented Trump in Georgia lawsuits
- Cleta Mitchell, lawyer who participated in Trump’s call with Raffensperger
- Ryan Germany, general counsel for Raffensperger’s office
- Frances Watson, chief investigator for Raffensperger’s office
- Jordan Fuchs, deputy secretary of state for Georgia
- Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer for Georgia’s voting system
- Richard Barron, elections director for Fulton County
The indictment accuses these defendants of various crimes related to their involvement in Trump’s efforts to subvert the election results. For example:
- Meadows is charged with violating the oath of office by failing to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
- Giuliani is charged with racketeering and making false statements under oath in his testimony before the Georgia Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on December 3, 2020.
- Powell is charged with racketeering and filing frivolous lawsuits that sought to invalidate millions of votes in Georgia.
- Eastman is charged with racketeering and drafting a memo that outlined a plan to have Vice President Mike Pence reject Georgia’s electoral votes on January 6, 2021.
- Clark is charged with racketeering and conspiring with Trump to pressure Kemp and Raffensperger to overturn the election results.
- Ellis is charged with racketeering and making false statements on social media and in media interviews about voter fraud and election irregularities in Georgia.
Trump denies wrongdoing and claims political persecution
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he is the victim of another political witch-hunt. In a statement issued on Monday, he said:
“The Witch Hunt continues! The corrupt and highly partisan Fulton County District Attorney has just announced that she will be indicting me on totally fabricated charges. This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. It began the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower. This is purely political prosecution that has no basis in fact or law. The people of Georgia know the truth about what happened on November 3rd. They voted for me by a landslide. I won Georgia by hundreds of thousands of votes. The Fake News Media knows this too. They are complicit in the crime. They are the enemy of the people. I will never stop fighting for the truth and for the future of our great country. We will Make America Great Again!”
Trump’s lawyers have vowed to fight the charges and seek to dismiss the indictment. They have argued that Trump’s actions were protected by the First Amendment and that he had a right to challenge the election results in court. They have also accused Willis of being biased and motivated by political animosity.
Willis, a Democrat who took office in January 2021, has denied any political motivation and said that she is following the law and the evidence. She has said that she is prepared to prosecute the case and seek justice for the people of Georgia.
Trump faces multiple legal troubles
The indictment in Georgia is not the only legal trouble that Trump faces. He is also facing two federal indictments and another state indictment for various crimes. They include:
- A federal indictment in Florida for allegedly disclosing classified information to two Russian agents in exchange for campaign assistance in 2020.
- A federal indictment in Washington, D.C., for allegedly inciting the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, that resulted in five deaths and hundreds of injuries.
- A state indictment in New York for allegedly paying hush money to two women who claimed to have had affairs with him before he became president.
If convicted on any of these charges, Trump could face prison time and fines. He could also lose his presidential benefits, such as his pension, his Secret Service protection, and his ability to run for office again.