Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walking through the Georgia Capitol in December 2020. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis says she’s aiming to start a trial against Donald Trump and his allies within six months of a grand jury’s Monday indictment on charges of a multi-state criminal conspiracy to overturn the former president’s narrow defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump, several members of legal and political advisors, and state and local political allies are accused of spreading unfounded allegations of massive voting fraud, which led to incidents such as the breach of the state’s voting system in Coffee County in January 2021, and a slate of Georgia Republicans filing false electoral votes declaring Trump the winner.
The 19 defendants face multiple felony counts including racketeering and conspiracy, making false statements, filing false documents, impersonating a public officer, computer theft and trespass and conspiracy to defraud the state and other offenses.
Willis said that she wanted to resolve the election interference case before the 2024 presidential election, in which Republican nominee Trump could possibly face Biden in a rematch. The defendants will have until noon on Friday, Aug. 25 to turn themselves in, Willis said.
Read the 98-page indictment here.
Willis’ investigation gained momentum after a recording of a phone call was made public in which Trump asked Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough Georgia votes to sway the election in his favor.
“Fani Willis has brought a case that is as large and as comprehensive as the attempted coup itself; looking at that nationally but also through the lens of Georgia,” said Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at public policy think-tank The Brookings Institution and CNN legal analyst. “It’s one of the most important cases that has been brought in the history of our country.”
Below is a list of some of the allegations listed in the indictment that led the grand jury to find probable cause against the former president and 18 others.
Trump’s attorneys, advisors
Rudy Giuliani, former Trump attorney and ex-New York City mayor: At Georgia Legislative hearings following the 2020 election, the ex-U.S. attorney promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud while advocating for lawmakers to intervene on Trump’s behalf. Among Giuliani’s recommendations was that an alternate slate of GOP electors should cast votes for Trump despite state election officials confirming Biden the winner.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows: Alleged to have set up a Jan. 2, 2021, phone conversation in which Trump asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to tilt Georgia’s election in the outgoing president’s favor. The conversation took place a few days prior to the Jan. 6th U.S. Capitol attack as Congress was set to certify Biden’s election. The indictment also alleges Meadows texted a Georgia Secretary of State investigator in December asking if Fulton County’s ballot signature verification could be sped up if Trump’s campaign provided financial assistance.
Ex-Trump attorney John Eastman: He promoted a dubious legal argument that he claimed could lead to Vice President Mike Pence overriding the 2020 presidential election results.
Sidney Powell, attorney: Indicted on charges of tampering with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines in Coffee County voting systems breach. Powell contacted a computer forensics company to help recover data from voting equipment.
Jenna Ellis, attorney: Accused of making false statements about election fraud to state officials in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona in an attempt to have illegitimate electors appointed in those states, the indictment says.
Lawyer Kenneth Chesebro: Provided the documents signed by Georgia’s Republican electors in an attempt to have Congress consider them as legitimate electoral votes for Trump, according to the indictment.
Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Trump’s top environmental lawyer: Alleged to have conspired in election interference by attempting to solicit the U.S. attorney general and deputy attorney general in December 2020 to provide false statements to high-ranking elected officials in Georgia and several other states that the U.S. Department of Justice had identified significant concerns that might have changed the outcome of the election.
2021 Georgia GOP false electors
One of the focal points of the election interference probe are the events that led up to and followed the Dec. 14, 2020, meeting where sixteen Georgia Republican electors, who signed false election certificates that were sent to the vice president and other government officials to be counted by Congress.
The bogus Republican electors met at the state Capitol on the same day as legitimate state Democratic electors selected Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
The indictments do not cover the entire slate of Georgians who signed the fraudulent electoral certificates. At least eight of the electors have accepted plea deals, agreeing to cooperate with Fulton prosecutors, according to court filings.
Former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer: The staunch Trump supporter helped coordinate and served as a Republican fake elector as they cast their ballots in favor of Trump while meeting inside the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020.
Cathleen Latham: Latham is ex-chair of the Coffee County GOP Party who played a role in the voting systems breach at Coffee County’s election office in 2021. Surveillance footage, uncovered by plaintiffs embroiled in a voting system security lawsuit, shows Latham leading forensics experts for Trump-allied lawyers into the Coffee County election offices in order to gain unfettered access to the Dominion Voting Systems used statewide for elections. Latham was also indicted for serving as a Republican false elector.
State Sen. Shawn Still: The Norcross Republican is serving his first term in the state Legislature and has previously served in leadership positions with the Georgia Republican Party.
Other Fulton County election interference indictments
Former Coffee County Elections Director Misty Hampton and bail bondsman Scott Hall: Both were indicted on charges of tampering with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines related to the Coffee County voting breach.
Stephen Cliffgard Lee, Harrison W.P. Floyd and Trevian Kutti: Indicted on charges related to making numerous calls and sending text messages to Fulton County poll worker Ruby Freeman, who in 2020 became a prime target of Trump and other conspiracy theorists pushing unfounded ballot stuffing allegations when they served as poll workers at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. According to the indictment, Lee, Kutti and Floyd falsely offered Freeman protection in order to influence her testimony before government officials.
This article was first published by the Georgia Recorder, a sister publication of Kentucky Lantern in the States Newsroom network.
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