Trump has already claimed the Georgia indictment is “politically inspired.”
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you — Donald Trump has been indicted for a fourth time. He and 18 others are named in the 41-count indictment related to the alleged attempt to overthrow the 2020 election in Georgia. Here’s what we know.
The Georgia indictment
Prosecutors say Trump and allies including his lawyers, John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, plus former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows “joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome” of the election. “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,” the indictment says.
The indictment claims that Trump “unlawfully solicited” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him falsify the state’s election result.
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” he told Raffensperger during the now-infamous January 2, 2021 call.
According to the indictment, Trump “knowingly, willfully and unlawfully” made 13 false statements during that conversation, including “that close to 5,000 dead people voted in the November 3, 2020, presidential election in Georgia.” For Trump’s part, he’s described the phone conversation as “perfect.”
The charges Trump faces in Georgia
All the defendants are charged with violating Georgia’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) act. Racketeering carries a potential five to 20-year sentence, while conspiracy carries a minimum one-year sentence and a variable maximum term.
Trump was personally charged with 13 counts in the 41-count indictment. Here’s a full list of the charges he’s facing:
Count 1: Violation of the Georgia RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act
Count 5: Solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer
Count 9: Conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer
Count 11: Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree
Count 13: Conspiracy to commit false statements and writings
Count 15: Conspiracy to commit filing false documents
Count 17: Conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree
Count 19: Conspiracy to commit false statements and writings
Count 27: Filing false documents
Count 28: Solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer
Count 29: False statements and writings
Count 38: Solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer
Count 39: False statements and writings
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has told the 19 defendants that they have until noon ET on August 25 to “voluntarily surrender.”
How has Trump responded?
True to form, the former president’s not taken the news lying down. He told Fox News Digital late Monday: “Nineteen people were indicted, and the whole world is laughing at the United States as they see how corrupt and horrible a place it has turned out to be under the leadership of Crooked Joe Biden.”
Turning his attention to Willis, he added: “The racist and corrupt district attorney of Fulton County, which has turned out to be a murder capital of the world with among the highest violent crime levels anywhere in our country, just opened a fundraising site in order to benefit off the things she most campaigned on, ‘I will get Donald Trump’”.
“This politically-inspired indictment, which could have been brought close to three years ago, was tailored for placement right smack in the middle of my political campaign.”
Trump has also taken to Truth Social to vent his feelings on the matter, calling the process a rigged “witch hunt.”
“What about those indictment documents put out today, long before the grand jury even voted, and then quickly withdrawn?” he posted, referring to a document that was apparently published on the Fulton County court’s website before the charges were formally announced. “Sounds rigged to me!”
Could Trump still run for president?
Apparently, yes. “The Constitution has very few requirements to serve as President, such as being at least 35 years of age. It does not bar anyone indicted, or convicted, or even serving jail time, from running as president and winning the presidency,” University of California, Los Angeles law professor Richard L. Hasen told CNN earlier this month.
That said, the case is still distinct from the federal one brought by special counsel Jack Smith. Even if he’s reelected, he won’t be able to pardon himself. That power belongs to an independent board, and Trump would have to serve five years in prison before he could even ask for a pardon.
How have lawmakers responded?
Several Republicans have already leaped to Trump’s defense.
“Justice should be blind, but Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election. Now a radical DA in Georgia is following Biden’s lead by attacking President Trump and using it to fundraise her political career. Americans see through this desperate sham,” Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted late last night.
Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, who serves as the House Judiciary Committee chairman, posted: “Today’s indictment is just the latest political attack in the Democrats’ WITCH HUNT against President Trump. He did nothing wrong!”
Sen. Lindsey Graham drew some mockery for his remarks on Jesse Watters’ Fox News show, which have been derided as entirely missing the point.
“The American people can decide whether they want him to be president or not,” said Graham, who was once a sharp Trump criticm, but has become a staunch ally since his 2016 election win. “This should be decided at the ballot box, not a bunch of liberal jurisdictions trying to put the man in jail.”
X (formerly known as Twitter) users have been swift to point out that making the decision at the ballot box is the principle being defended by the indictment.