An Atlanta-based grand jury has indicted Donald Trump and 18 others on state charges stemming from their efforts to overturn the former president’s 2020 electoral defeat.
The historic indictment is the fourth criminal case that Trump is facing.
Trump and others “joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome” of the election, according to the indictment.
The charges, brought in a sweeping investigation led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, cover some of the most egregious efforts by the former president’s allies to meddle in the 2020 presidential election. Unlike the election subversion charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith, Willis’ case will be insulated from any Trump meddling if he is reelected in 2024; he will not be able to pardon himself or his allies of any state law convictions, nor will he be able to dismiss the Fulton County prosecutors bringing the charges.
Many of the efforts that Trump and his allies spearheaded in Georgia resembled plots in other battleground states President Joe Biden won, but the Georgia-focused effort featured some of the most audacious gambits by the former president and his supporters.
“Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3, 2020,” the indictment states. “One of the states he lost was Georgia. 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. 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.”
A January 2021 phone call where Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the nearly 12,000 votes that would put his vote margin ahead of Biden’s showed just the lengths Trump would go to overturn his loss in the Peach State.
Republican control of the state legislature and executive branch made it a particularly ripe target for Trump’s pressure campaigns. His attorneys appeared before Georgia lawmakers on three occasions to push bogus claims of election fraud and the state was targeted with lawsuits making unfounded allegations of voter irregularities.
Willis, a Democrat, will undoubtedly face intense criticism from Trump and his allies, who have frequently sought to discredit officials investigating him by casting them as rogue political actors. Trump had already unsuccessfully sought to disqualify her, citing public comments she has made about the case.
This story is breaking and will be updated.