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Updated Aug 15, 2023, 4:56pm EDT
politicsNorth America

Donald Trump indicted in Georgia over 2020 election interference

Trump at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 12
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
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The News

A grand jury in Georgia indicted former U.S. President Donald Trump Monday on charges related to his efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state in 2020.

This marks the fourth time Trump has faced criminal charges in less than five months.

According to a filing in Fulton County, Trump faces 13 criminal charges, including racketeering under Georgia’s RICO law, which has been used to charge members of criminal organizations. He also faces charges including conspiring to commit forgery, making false statements, and filing false documents.

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Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of counts and charges Trump faces in the case. It is 13 charges.

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Know More

Eighteen other people, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, were indicted alongside Trump. That list also includes ex-Trump lawyers John Eastman and Sidney Powell as well as former Georgia GOP chair David Shafer. They were all charged under the racketeering statute. The defendants have until the noon of Aug. 25 to voluntarily surrender.

The former president and the others charged “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 said.

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Prosecutors described the defendants as constituting “a criminal organization” whose members “engaged in various related criminal activities” including impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, and computer theft, among others.

The allegations surround Trump’s efforts to interfere with Georgia’s 2020 election results, including a call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump asked Georgia officials to “find 11,780 votes,” just enough to reverse his loss.

Prosecutors also looked into a plan that involved convening a slate of “fake” Republican electors who signed certificates declaring Trump had won Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes.

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Willis said she will ask for a trial to be held within the next six months and intends to try all 19 defendants together.

Trump is also awaiting trial on federal charges related to the 2020 election as well as his handling of classified documents, along with New York state charges in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

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Step Back

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis — a veteran prosecutor who has been known to take on high-profile defendants — convened a “special grand jury” in 2022 to help investigate whether a crime was committed in the weeks after the 2020 election. The special grand jury itself could not issue indictments, but had the power to subpoena witnesses.

A total of 75 people were interviewed — including Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. The grand jury ultimately made recommendations on whether prosecutors should pursue charges. The decision to seek the indictments rested with Willis, who presented the charges to a traditional grand jury that was convened starting in July.

Throughout the investigation, Trump attacked Willis as a “young, ambitious, Radical Left Democrat ‘Prosecutor,’” while his legal team sought to disqualify her. In the days before he was indicted, Trump baselessly accused Willis of having an affair with a gang member, a charge Willis denied as “derogatory and false.”

In a statement Monday night, Trump’s campaign called the indictment “bogus” and accused Willis of trying to “maximally interfere with the 2024 presidential race and damage the dominant Trump campaign.”

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