Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty

Donald Trump, the first former President in US history to be indicted on felony criminal charges, is now the first ex-President to be indicted over four sets of felonies.

Late Monday night, Trump was indicted by a state grand jury on 13 felony counts of racketeering, organizing a criminal enterprise, and conspiracy over his attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia in the 2020 Presidential election.

Trump is also charged with soliciting a public officer to violate their oath; conspiring to impersonate a public officer; conspiring to commit forgery in the first degree; and conspiring to file false documents.

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The 41-count indictment cites 19 defendants. All are charged with racketeering: “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 other defendants are also charged with making false statements, filing false documents and forgeries, impersonating officials, breaching computers, and attempting to influence witnesses.

Read the Indictment

It sets out how Trump and his inner circle pushed fraudulent claims over the election; pressured Georgia officials including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State; obtained software in voting machines in a Georgia county; and created “fake electors” as they tried to seize the state’s 16 electoral votes. Election worker Ruby Freeman was harassed when she refused to switch votes to Trump or declare that there were fraudulent electors.

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The 18 other defendants include Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and his lawyers Rudy Giuliani — who alone faces 13 felony counts — Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, and Kenneth Chesebro. There are 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

Also charged are two Georgia-based lawyers, Ray S. Smith III and Robert Cheeley; senior campaign advisor Mike Roman, who helped plan the elector meeting; and three prominent Georgia Republicans who served as Trump’s “electors”: former GOP chairman David Shafer, former GOP finance chairman Shawn Still, and Cathy Latham of Coffee County.

The three other indictments — over Trump’s falsification of business records in a pay-off to porn star Stormy Daniels, interfering in the 2016 Presidential election; over his movement of classified documents from the White House to his Florida resort; and over his scheme to overturn the 2020 Presidential election — are at the Federal level.

Because the Georgia charges are at the State level, Trump cannot bury them through a self-pardon or appointment of a Trumpist Attorney General to head the Justice Department if he wins the 2024 Presidential election>

The office of Fulton County District Attorney has spent 2 1/2 years investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s margin of 11,779 votes. It impaneled a special grand jury to obtain evidence from hesitant witnesses.

Even before the investigation was convened, evidence was in the public domain of Trump’s efforts. Weeks of falsehoods about electoral fraud were followed by Trump’s phone calls to Governor Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and elections supervisor Gabe Sterling — all Republicans — demanding they “find 11,780 votes” for him.

The indictment adds the detail of Trump’s “fake elector” scheme, with a group of his loyalists convened in an effort to have the Georgia Legislature name them — rather than Biden’s legally-elected representatives — as the State’s 16 delegates to the Electoral College.

When the pressure on both the top officials and the Legislature failed, Trump and his confidantes — including his co-defendant Sidney Powell — met in the White House on December 18, 2020 to consider other measures. They included a proposal to seize voting machines in the “swing” states such as Georgia.

The indictment says that Trump personnel did obtain voting machines in Georgia’s Coffee County.

The charges are further supported by 161 allegd acts from other cases against Trump, notably the four felony counts in the indictment in a Washington federal court two weeks ago.

The acts include pressure by Trump and his advisors on state legislators in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona; the effort to organize fake electors in Wisconsin, Arizona, and other states; and
the plot for Vice President Mike Pence to block the Congressional certification of President-elect Biden on January 6, 2021.