This week, all eyes will be on Georgia where a new indictment against former President Trump could occur at any time.
Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney (D), has been investigating Trump’s attempts to interfere with the closely contested 2020 election in Georgia for more than one year. It is widely expected that this month she will bring forth the fourth 2023 indictment against the former President.
Willis told Atlanta local media outlets recently that “the work is done.” We’ve worked for over two and a half years. “We’re ready to move.”
Willis had previously informed courthouse security that she would be bringing charges in this case during the second or third weeks of August.
Willis’ charges would follow a federal indictment that occurred last week, which was also related to the 2020 elections. In that case, the former president faced four charges for his involvement in trying to prevent the transfer of power.
Trump may not face charges for the Georgia investigation, but he has filed three separate lawsuits to stop Willis’s probe.
Georgia prosecutors also have several options if they choose to file a criminal case against Trump.
Experts say Willis could settle on Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) if he brings a case against Trump.
RICO laws are usually used to prosecute organized crime. However, the Georgia statute can be applied to any “enterprise” and is therefore more flexible.
This would allow for the tying together of different aspects of Trump’s campaign, thereby connecting a plot that was carried out by multiple actors. This would also allow for the possible indictment of many conspirators alongside the former President.
Noah Bookbinder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, Washington, said that a criminal enterprise involving a pattern or violations is inherently more serious and separate than a single criminal act. He also helped to draft a sample prosecution memo analyzing the case.
“Charging RICO crimes captures the fact that this is an elaborate, multi-faceted plan. It’s a part of the reason that statutes like this exist, and prosecutors can charge them. You can review a lot of different conduct. But you can also present a case, and present evidence, that this is not just a few disparate actions that you could dismiss as small, individual acts.”
RICO charges could allow prosecutors in Georgia to charge crimes that are not directly related to elections, such as false statements, official certificates, and computer trespass. These charges could also be used against broader Trump campaign attempts to access voter data in Coffee County.
RICO allows Willis, in her broader indictment to include conduct that is outside the jurisdiction of Fulton County. For example, the Coffee County Computer Probe and the phone calls made by Trump or those in his orbit to Georgia election officials in other counties.
Gwen Keyes Fleming is a former Georgia district attorney who now practices in private. She also contributed to the memo.
She could attach any predicate facts to the indictment in Fulton County if she believes that two or more other charges are committed in Fulton.
Georgia has a set of charges based on election results that could be used in response to Trump’s campaign of pressure against various officials within the state.
Trump’s famous call to Georgia Secretary Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find”, another 11,780 voters was only one example of outreach.
Trump made similar calls to Frances Watson in Raffensperger’s office, who was investigating possible signature mismatches.
He pressured Georgia Governor. He urged Brian Kemp (R), the governor of Georgia, to call for a special election and to convene a special session in the legislature to select electors that would support him.
The Trump campaign organized 16 residents who acted as fake electors on his behalf. They then submitted the false ballots and claimed that they were “duly qualified and elected.”
Willis sent letters to 16 electors last year informing them that they were targets of the probe. However, half of the group has since started cooperating, arranging immunity agreements.
The different pressure campaigns against state officials may each be a basis for charges of criminal solicitation, which is a law from 2011. They could also implicate statutes that prohibit interfering with an official performing their duties. This includes those who oversee an election.
The. supposed false elector scheme can also lead to other charges such as interference with elections, primaries, or voting fraud.
Keyes Fleming stated that election charges will address conduct that cannot be charged through RICO.
A RICO indictment may only include predicate crimes that are specifically listed within the RICO statute. “None of the Title 21 election crimes are RICO eligible,” she said.
Trump has been defending his election plots by claiming that they were protected under free speech. He is referring to the parts of the indictment which alleged that Trump knew his claims were false.
Experts believe that there is enough evidence in Georgia to prove Trump’s intention when he entered the pleas. However, the model prosecution memo stated that even Trump’s genuine belief that he had won the election was not a defense.
“Winners and losers alike can run afoul of the criminal statutes we discuss. A loser who believes he is a winner has no special license under Georgia law to solicit state officials to engage in conduct constituting a crime,” the memo reads.
Let’s all make sure we say a prayer for Trump. These charges are bogus.