A Georgia grand jury indicted 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump and several allies Monday on conspiracy charges of trying to steal Georgia’s electoral votes from President Joe Biden after the 2020 election.
The Trump campaign condemned the charges as politically motivated. “Call it election interference or election manipulation,” said a campaign statement.
The indictment accuses Trump and confederates of a coordinated plan to have state officials essentially spike Biden’s victory and award the state to Trump. His strategy included the recruitment of fake presidential electors for Congress to count and an extraordinary phone call urging state election officials to “find” him more votes, according to a House investigation.
It is similar to the federal case in which Trump was indicted last week, one that involved multiple states.
Others indicted included former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
A President Trump probably couldn’t do much about a Georgia prosecution
Even if Donald Trump is elected president again, there wouldn’t be much he could do about a case against him in Georgia.
It would be a state case and the federal government has no authority over state prosecutions. That is also the situation with the hush money case out of New York.
The two other cases against the former president are federal: one involving classified information and the other an attempt to overturn the 2020 election. If elected, Trump could theoretically pardon himself, or otherwise make those cases go away.
− David Jackson
The indictments came at the end of a chaotic day at the Fulton County courthouse.
Reuters reported Monday that a court document listed charges against him appeared briefly on the court’s website before disappearing. But the Fulton County District Attorney’s office said no indictment had yet been returned.
Witnesses such as former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan were seen entering and exiting the courthouse, despite the custom of keeping grand jury deliberations secret.
Reporters waited anxiously in the courtroom until the indictments were handed to the judge in early evening.
− Bart Jansen
Though Trump has been indicted in other federal and state investigations, he can still run for president in the 2024 election.
Barbara McQuade, a criminal law expert at the University of Michigan, previously told USA TODAY that even if Trump were charged, convicted and sentenced to prison, he would still be able to run for president.
The three exclusive requirements to run for president are to be a natural-born citizen, to be at least 35 years old and to have been a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years, according to the U.S. Constitution.
Trump told reporters in March that he “won’t even think about leaving” the 2024 race, despite his legal troubles.− Sudiksha Kochi
As the political world waited for the unsealing of Atlanta indictments, Republicans paired off into two groups. Trump allies said they would attack the prosecution, while others said the party should consider another standard-bearer.
“Are we going to let county prosecutors start prosecuting the President of the United States?” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Fox News. “The former President of the United States. To my Democratic friends, be careful what you wish for.”
Others said the issue is Trump himself.
Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican congressman from New York state who faces a tough re-election battle, told CNN that “I think Donald Trump’s conduct post-election was wrong … I want the party to move in a different direction.”
Lawler also said that, if Trump is convicted, “he should not be running for public office.”
− David Jackson
Trump’s presidential campaign issued a statement Monday evening blasting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as a “rabid partisan” and accusing her of interfering with the 2024 presidential campaign.
The campaign predicted Willis’ investigation would fail along with the charges filed against Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, federal charges filed by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith and a civil lawsuit against his company by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“These activities by Democrat leaders constitute a grave threat to American democracy and are direct attempts to deprive the American people of their rightful choice to cast their vote for President,” the statement said. “It is un-American and wrong.”
– Bart Jansen
Donald Trump’s allies aren’t waiting for indictments to be unsealed. They’re already on the attack.
“Prosecutorial misconduct like this is what a RIGGED SYSTEM looks like,” said Donald Trump, Jr., on the social media website X, formerly known as Twitter.
In the angry missive re-posted by a number of supporters, the younger Trump added: “How is the AG of Georgia not stepping in to stop this travesty of justice, after the Fulton County DA violated my father’s Constitutional Rights and tainted the Grand Jury? Going full Banana Republic!!!”
− David Jackson
An indictment is a formal document that contains allegations that someone committed a crime. It includes the charges laid out against a person and is filed before a case can move forward in court, David Weinstein, a former federal and state prosecutor, previously told USA TODAY.
Weinstein said that an indictment means a grand jury decided that there’s “more likely than not” enough evidence – based on testimony – to move forward with charging a person. At least twelve jurors must be in agreement that a defendant allegedly committed a crime to issue an indictment.
After a person is indicted, they must go to trial where a jury will reach an unanimous decision on whether to pursue conviction.
− USA TODAY staff
One of last grand jury witnesses, former Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, did not provide reporters a legal analysis of the case after his testimony, but did offer political reaction: His party needs to turn away from Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump was the worst candidate ever in the history of the party, even worse than Herschel Walker, and now we’re going to have to pivot from there,” Duncan told reporters after his testimony and before the indictment was announced; Walker is the Republican candidate who lost last year’s Senate race in Georgia.
Duncan added: “We want to win an election in 2024, it’s going to have to be somebody other than Donald Trump if we do it. As long as we make this about the three-ring circus called Donald Trump, we’re going to lose every time. And you don’t have to go any further than Georgia to see that play out.”
Other Republicans said Duncan is kidding himself, and that Trump owns a big part of the GOP that will simply rally around him, just as they did after the first three indicted cases.
− David Jackson
http://rssfeeds.floridatoday.com/~/778776701/0/brevard/news~Live-updates-Georgia-grand-jury-hands-up-indictments-in-election-case/ Trump indicted in Georgia for alleged election fraud