Georgia grand jury indicts Trump and associates in election probe | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Georgia grand jury indicts Trump and associates in election probe

The indictment in Georgia is Trump's fourth since March.

ATLANTA (CN) — A grand jury in Georgia indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 of his associates Monday night on charges related to interference in the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

In an indictment handed up by a Fulton County Grand jury shortly after 9 p.m., Trump is charged with racketeering and a dozen other felonies, including solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree and false statements and writings. 

Monday’s indictment is Trump’s fourth since March, when he became the first former or sitting U.S. president to be criminally charged.

The 98-page charging document contains 41 criminal counts against Trump, his former personal attorney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer. 

The indictment also brings charges against: former assistant U.S. attorney general Jeffrey Clark; attorneys John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Bob Cheeley, Ray Smith III and Kenneth Chesebro; GOP strategist Michael Roman; state Senator Shawn Still; former Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton; former Coffee County GOP chairwoman Cathy Latham; Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall; publicist Trevian Kutti; Illinois pastor Stephen Cliffguard Lee; and former Black Voices for Trump Director Harrison Floyd.

All 19 defendants are accused of racketeering. 

“Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3, 2020. One of the states he lost was Georgia,” the indictment states. 

“Trump and the other Defendants charged in this indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump," it continues. "That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.”

It adds that these “enterprise” members made false statements to state legislators during hearings and meetings in Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania after the 2020 election to “persuade legislators in those states to unlawfully appoint their own presidential electors.”

The grand jury returned their decisions to the Fulton County Superior Court Judge overseeing the case, Robert McBurney, shortly after 9 p.m. Monday.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, first launched the investigation into Trump over two years ago into possible “multistate, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.” The move came shortly after the Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which then-President Trump pressed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to overturn Joe Biden's victory in that state.

"The indictment alleges that rather than abide by Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result," Willis said during a press conference Monday night.

The grand jury issued arrest warrants, and the defendants have until noon on Friday, Aug. 25, to voluntarily surrender, Willis said. She said she’s aiming for a trial date to be within the next six months and intends to try all 19 defendants together. 

Willis noted that everyone charged is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In December 2020, Trump and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows requested that one of his former aides prepare a strategy for disrupting and delaying the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to the indictment. Meadows is also accused of arranging a phone call between Trump and a chief investigator in the Georgia secretary of state’s office in which Trump pressed her to act on his unsubstantiated claims of fraud in furtherance of the alleged criminal conspiracy. 


Giuliani faces felony false statement charges relating to comments he made about mail-in ballots and the Dominion Voting Systems equipment to members of the Georgia Senate.

The indictment also includes a statement Trump is said to have made in December 2020 to the then-Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: "Just say that the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

Several of the defendants are accused of casting false electoral college votes at the Georgia State Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in an attempt to change the outcome of the presidential election in favor of Trump. .

Local, state and federal law enforcement officials have been preparing enhanced security measures around Atlanta for months at Willis’ discretion in anticipation of the announcement.

At least 12 of the grand jurors in the Fulton County panel that heard the case had to have voted in favor of the suggested charges in order for an indictment to be brought. Jurors were selected for the panel on July 11 to hear hundreds of different felony cases from prosecutors over a two-month period. While the panel consisted of 23 total jurors, only 16 are required to be present to conduct business and to vote on whether to bring an indictment. The burden of proof is also much lower for a grand jury to indict someone than it is for a jury to convict someone.

Jurors began deliberating shortly after 8 p.m. on Monday after prosecutors spent the day presenting their case with testimony from witnesses that included former state Representative Bee Nguyen and former state Senator Jen Jordan. They and several other Democrats pushed back on false election fraud conspiracies promoted by Trump and his allies during state legislative hearings in December 2020.

Other witnesses included former Republican Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, who has openly contradicted false claims of election fraud in the 2020 election, and independent journalist George Chidi, who stumbled upon the meeting of “alternate” electors inside the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, an incident of major interest in the investigation.

“As Republicans, we need to take our medicine and realize the election wasn’t rigged, Donald Trump was the worst candidate ever, in the history of our party … and now we are going to have to pivot from there,” Duncan told reporters as he left the Fulton County Courthouse on Monday evening.

The evidence presented to the grand jury by Willis and her prosecution team was formed in part by the findings of a 23-member special purpose grand jury that was impaneled by the court at her request in 2022.

For eight months, Willis and the special grand jurors heard testimony from 75 subpoenaed witnesses, including poll workers, investigators, technical experts, state employees, officials and "persons still claiming that such fraud took place."

While a special purpose grand jury does not hold the power to issue indictments under Georgia law, it was able to produce a final report of its investigative findings and recommendations for indictments. The report was partially unsealed by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney this past February, including a section where the jurors expressed concerns that some witnesses may have lied under oath.

Following the partial release, the grand jury's foreperson Emily Kohrs spoke to several media organizations about her experience and revealed that the jury's recommendations for indictments were "not a short list." 

At least 18 people were informed by prosecutors last year that they were targets of the investigation, including Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Trump’s personal attorney after the election, and several Georgia Republicans who served as alternate electors and falsely signed documents claiming Trump won Georgia. However, some have since been granted immunity deals from Willis' office.


A grand jury in Washington indicted Trump on Aug. 1 on a range of charges related to his efforts to reverse his defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The 45-page indictment consists of four criminal charges against the former president — and the GOP's leading 2024 candidate — accusing him of conspiring to defraud the U.S., conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiring against people's rights.

Georgia is mentioned roughly 48 times throughout the D.C. indictment, with prosecutors claiming Trump knowingly made false claims of election fraud and sought to “subvert the legitimate election results” in the state, even though he was told by state officials and even his own aides that there was no evidence to support those claims. Special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the probe, has interviewed many of the same witnesses essential to Willis' investigation.

Prosecutors say Trump enlisted six co-conspirators to “assist him in his criminal efforts to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election and retain power."

Trump has called Willis’ efforts in Georgia a “political witch hunt" and took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to criticize her on Monday as prosecutors began presenting their case to the grand jury.

"Would someone please tell the Fulton County Grand Jury that I did not tamper with the election," Trump posted on his Truth Social page.

"The people that tempered with it were the ones that rigged it, and sadly, phoney Fani Willis, who has shockingly allowed Atlanta to become one of the most dangerous cities anywhere in the world, has no interest in seeing the massive amount of evidence available, or finding out who these people that committed this crime are. She only wants to 'Get Trump.' I would be happy to show this info to the G.J."

On Monday evening, Trump said on Truth Social that Willis’s investigation was an attempt to interfere with the 2024 presidential race.

“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. Call it election interference or election manipulation — it is a dangerous effort by the ruling class to suppress the choice of the people, It is un-American and wrong,” Trump said in the statement.

Instead of letting the investigations detract from his bid for a third presidential nomination, Trump has attempted to use them as political assets to draw sympathy and boost a campaign built on frustration with what he claims to be a politically motivated justice system.

On Aug. 3, Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges at Washington's federal courthouse, where more than 1,000 of his supporters have been charged with federal crimes for their participation in the attack on the U.S. Capitol that halted the certification of Joe Biden's presidential win.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, a Barack Obama appointee who has been assigned to oversee the prosecution, has sentenced each one of the 31 defendants to come before her on charges related to Jan. 6 to serve at least some jail or prison time. The next hearing in the Trump case is set for Aug. 28, just five days after the first 2024 Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee.

Federal prosecutors also recently announced additional charges against Trump over the mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, accusing the former president and one of his aides of trying to shield security camera footage from investigators. Trump now faces a total of 40 federal charges in that case alone, to which he has pleaded not guilty

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, has set the trial to begin in May 2024, but that could be delayed by challenges and disputes. 

In New York, Trump faces criminal charges over business records to conceal hush money payments made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal during his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well and the case is set to go to trial in Manhattan Supreme Court on March 25, 2024, in the midst of primary season

Despite the mounting legal woes for the 77-year-old, his supporters continue to stand by him as GOP presidential nominee. A July 18 Morning Consult poll showed Trump leading at 55%, with the second closest contender, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, at 20%.

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