Donald Trump has been criminally indicted for the fourth time in five months, adding another batch of charges to the unprecedented heap of legal jeopardy the former president faces as he vies to win back the White House and disappear his problems.
The latest indictment comes in Georgia, where Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has long been investigating efforts to meddle in the state’s 2020 election results. Willis on Monday presented her findings to a grand jury, which voted to indict the former president — along with multiple allies involved in the plot — on a series of charges including a violation of the Georgia Racketeer, Influenced, and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.
Trump was charged with 41 counts in total, with 18 others listed as defendants. Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Ken Chesebro, Jeffrey Clark, Jenna Ellis, Ray Stallings Smith III, Robert Cheeley, Mike Roman, David Shafer, Shawn Micah Tresher Still, Stephen Lee, Harrison Floyd, Trevian Kutti, Sidney Powell, Cathleen Latham, Scott Hall, and Misty Hampton have also been indicted on various charges.
Willis launched her investigation Feb. 2021, focusing on Trump’s alternate elector scheme, the harassment of Georgia election workers, and pressure the former president and others applied to state officials. The pressure included a now-infamous phone call between Trump and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump told Raffensperger he could be in legal trouble if he didn’t help overturn the election, while asking him to “find” the nearly 12,000 votes he needed to overtake President Biden in the state.
Trump was charged with solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer and false statements and writings in relation to the call with Raffesperger. The former president was also charged with conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit filing false documents, and filing false documents.
Willis empaneled a grand jury a year after launching her investigation, after she slapped a cadre of Trump allies with subpoenas. Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Ken Chesebro, Cleta Mitchell, and Jenna Ellis — all of whom were involved in the effort to overturn the election — were asked to testify, as was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). The investigation would later expand to include Trump’s efforts to subvert the election results in other states, with signs pointing to racketeering charges.
Willis signaled earlier this year that charges would be coming in August. “The work is accomplished. We’ve been working for two-and-a-half years. We’re ready to go,” she added in late July, noting that a decision would be made before Sept. 1. It certainly was.
Trump’s efforts to subvert the election results in Georgia are only part of the larger scheme to overturn President Biden’s win nationally. The Justice Department indicted the former president earlier this month over the plot to halt the certification of the Electoral College, charging him on four criminal counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States. The Justice Department separately indicted Trump on a slew of charges related to his handling of classified material after leaving the White House, alleging he stole off with highly sensitive military plans and conspired to obstruct authorities trying to retrieve them, among other accusations.
Trump responded to last month’s indictment over his push to stay in power by relentlessly attacking Special Counsel Jack Smith while bracing supporters for the indictment leveled Monday. “I should have four [indictments by sometime next week,” he said during a speech in New Hampshire last Tuesday.
Trump attacked Willis during the same speech, baselessly accusing her of sleeping with a gang member and labeling her a “racist” — a distinction he’s reserved for all of the people of color investigating him. These also include New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought a $250 million civil fraud case against Trump and his family, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who indicted Trump earlier this year on charges related to the former president’s effort to keep porn star Stormy Daniels quiet about their alleged affair ahead of the 2016 election. The latest indictment means Willis is sure to join Jack Smith as a main character on Trump’s Truth Social feed.
Trump’s portfolio of legal woes will be a central focus of the 2024 election. The Justice Department asked last week, for example, for Trump’s 2020 election subversion trial to commence on Jan. 2, right before the Iowa caucuses … which happen to take place on the same day, Jan. 15, as his civil trial stemming from E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit. Trump has alleged the inevitable conflicts are part of a corrupt conspiracy to foil his presidential bid. “ELECTION INTERFERENCE!” he railed last Thursday in response to the date request.
Trump instead wants all of his trials to start up after the 2024 election, of course, giving himself a chance to take back the White House and quash them all.
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