As everyone knows, former President Donald Trump is expected to be indicted this week on charges related to his alleged payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. If the arrest happens as expected, Trump will become the first-ever former president of the United States to face criminal charges.
His legal troubles may not end there. Trump may be facing even greater jeopardy from one of the other grand juries currently investigating him.
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According to a CNN report Monday, prosecutors in the Atlanta area are “considering bringing racketeering and conspiracy charges” in connection with Trump’s alleged attempts to overturn Georgia’s results in the 2020 election.
Those investigating the Georgia case “have a large volume of substantial evidence related to a possible conspiracy from inside and outside the state, including recordings of phone calls, emails, text messages, documents, and testimony before a special grand jury,” according to CNN.
In this case, a special grand jury was empaneled that met throughout 2022. It heard from 75 different witnesses over the course of seven months.
A final charging decision is expected to be made by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who would bring charges to a regular grand jury. The special grand jury is used only to recommend charges.
According to CNN, investigators in Georgia have “at least three recordings of Trump pressuring Georgia officials, including a phone call that he made to the Georgia House speaker to push for a special session to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.” In addition, Trump is being investigated over an alleged “fake electors” scheme in that state.
At the outset of the investigation, Willis said she was looking into such possible crimes as “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”
The case in New York is not expected to affect the timing of the resolution of the Georgia probe.
The CNN story added that a lawyer with expertise in racketeering cases is assisting Willis with the case, and that Willis once said, of an unrelated case, that she is “a fan of RICO,” in reference to the racketeering statutes.
“A lot’s gonna come out sooner or later,” a member of the special grand jury told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week. “And it’s gonna be massive. It’s gonna be massive.”
Also this week, the New York Times reported that Trump’s lawyers in Georgia are trying to “quash” the final report by the special grand jury, while also calling for Willis’ office to be removed from the case. The case in Georgia, per the attorneys, has been “confusing, flawed and, at times, blatantly unconstitutional… The results of the investigation cannot be relied upon and, therefore, must be suppressed given the constitutional violations,” the lawyers said.
The Times quoted legal experts who doubted that the filing would be successful. One expert said that the time to make such a complaint would be after an indictment is actually handed down.
Norman Eisen, who served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s impeachment, told the Times that the filing was of a piece with Trump’s “half-century history of taking a spaghetti-at-the-wall approach to litigating. He throws everything out there to see what sticks. In this case, I don’t think that it will stick.”
Emily Kohrs, the foreperson of the special grand jury, went on a media blitz last month, which Trump’s lawyers said at the time had “poisoned” the case, but the Times’ legal experts doubted Kohrs’s interviews would actually hurt the case.
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.