More legal trouble for former President Donald Trump, this time in Georgia, where a prosecutor is expected to seek a grand jury indictment relating to Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
“Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began investigating more than two years ago,” The Associated Press reported. “Willis has strongly hinted that any indictment would come [before] Aug. 18.
Water in a bucket
Trump has a sprawling list of legal problems at the moment.
An indictment in Georgia would just be more of the same. In Manhattan, Trump has been indicted on charges relating to an alleged hush money payment of adult film star Stormy Daniels, which reportedly violated campaign finance laws.
The Manhattan indictment is far from Trump’s biggest problem, however, because the legal theory behind the charges would generously be described as “a stretch.” Meaning the likelihood of conviction in Manhattan is low.
Trump’s bigger existing problem stems from a federal indictment relating to Trump’s handling of classified documents.
The Department of Justice is pursuing Trump for handling classified documents, and also for allegedly refusing to return the documents (and tamper with evidence related to his possession of the documents). Is it politically motivated? Very possible. But that doesn’t mean the legal peril for the orange-tinted presidential candidate is not significant.
The DOJ also appears to be on the verge of indicting Trump for his role in the January 6th riots – which would mean Trump is facing two separate federal cases. So, the prospective Georgia indictment is probably going to rank low on Trump’s list of priorities. Still, it’s a criminal indictment.
The Georgia Case for Donald Trump
“Details of the Georgia investigation that have become public have fed speculation that Willis, a Democrat, is building a case under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which would allow her to charge numerous people in a potentially wide-ranging scheme,” The AP reported.
Willis is reportedly investigating multiple separate threads. The first is a January 2, 2021 phone call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump suggested to Raffensperger that he “find” the votes Trump needed to win the state.
“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump is heard saying on a leaked recording of the call in question.
The second investigative thread relates to an alleged Trump-associated plan to have Georgia Republicans sign a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the election and to declare themselves as the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.
Another thread holds that Republican lawmakers held hearings at the Georgia Capitol in December 2020 “to examine alleged problems with the November election,” at which Rudy Giuliani and other Trump associates “made unproven claims of widespread election fraud.” Examples? Some Trump allies said that thousands of people who were ineligible, including felons and minors, had voted in Georgia – a claim that has been disproven.
Now, the behavior being investigated is suspect. But does it relate back directly to Trump? Does it reflect criminal wrongdoing? Possibly. Who knows.
Prosecutors and lawmakers have been crafting creative and attenuated cases against Trump for years, all failing to pin criminal wrongdoing to the former president. Is this Georgia case somehow different? Donald Trump and the world will be watching to find out.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.