ATLANTA — In an unprecedented move, a Fulton County grand jury voted Monday night to indict former President Donald Trump for allegedly interfering with the 2020 election here in Georgia.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne learned these details after seeing the indictment moments before it was made public.
Those indicted include former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Kenneth Cheseboro, Jenna Ellis, Ray Smith, David Shafer, Sidney Powell, Cathy Latham and more.
The former president is being charged with violation of the Georgia RICO Act, solicitation of violation of oath by public officer, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, conspiracy to commit filing false documents, conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, filing false documents, solicitation of violation of oath by public officer, false statements and writings, solicitation of violation of oath by public officer and two more counts of false statements and writings.
“Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said during a Monday night news conference following the release of the indictment.
The Trump campaign released a statement Monday night, saying:
“Like Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Deranged Jack Smith, and New York AG Letitia James, Fulton County, GA’s radical Democrat District Attorney Fani Willis is a rabid partisan who is campaigning and fundraising on a platform of prosecuting President Trump through these bogus indictments. Ripping a page from Crooked Joe Biden’s playbook, Willis has strategically stalled her investigation to try and maximally interfere with the 2024 presidential race and damage the dominant Trump campaign. All of these corrupt Democrat attempts will fail.
“Combined with the intentionally slow-walked investigations by the Biden-Smith goon squads and the false charges in New York, the timing of this latest coordinated strike by a biased prosecutor in an overwhelmingly Democrat jurisdiction not only betrays the trust of the American people, but also exposes true motivation driving their fabricated accusations.
“They could have brought this two and half years ago, yet they chose to do this for election interference reasons in the middle of President Trump’s successful campaign. He is not only leading all Republicans by a lot but he is leading against Joe Biden in almost every poll. President Trump represents the greatest threat to these Democrats’ political futures (and the greatest hope for America).
“The legal double-standard set against President Trump must end. Under the Crooked Biden Cartel, there are no rules for Democrats, while Republicans face criminal charges for exercising their First Amendment rights.
“These activities by Democrat leaders constitute a grave threat to American democracy and are direct attempts to deprive the American people of their rightful choice to cast their vote for President. Call it election interference or election manipulation—it is a dangerous effort by the ruling class to suppress the choice of the people. It is un-American and wrong.
“They are taking away President Trump’s First Amendment right to free speech, and the right to challenge a rigged and stolen election that the Democrats do all the time. The ones who should be prosecuted are the ones who created the corruption.
“President Trump will never give up and will never stop fighting for you, as we all work to Make America Great Again in 2024.”
The charges in this case date back to the Nov. 2020 presidential election after Trump lost to now-President Joe Biden here in Georgia.
The election was held on Nov. 3, 2020, and after several vote recounts, Biden was officially declared the winner in Georgia on Nov. 13, 2020.
Once that happened, Trump continued to make public statements saying the election was rigged in Georgia and mounted a pressure campaign on state and local officials to overturn the election.
What unfolded after his loss led then-newly elected Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to impanel a special purpose grand jury to look into possible criminal interference in the election.
Throughout the eight months that the grand jury met, we know that 26 Fulton County residents heard evidence from 75 witnesses.
The grand jurors investigated several events surrounding the election, including the now-infamous phone call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During the January 2020 call, Trump seemed to pressure Raffensperger to overturn the election.
“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump told Raffensperger during the call. “Because we won the state.”
The call lasted more than an hour between Trump, Raffensperger, his attorney Ryan Germany and White House senior staff members.
During the first 12 minutes of the call, Trump talked without interruption, going through debunked conspiracy theories about what he repeatedly called “certified numbers” showing that he won Georgia, not Biden.
“President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. We don’t agree that you have won,” Raffensperger told Trump during the call.
Another aspect of the case the grand jury looked into was the false allegations of voter fraud made by Trump’s attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a hearing in front of a state Senate subcommittee.
During the Dec. 2020 hearing, Giuliani, attorney John Eastman and other Trump allies testified and showed video from State Farm Arena claiming what they said was massive voter fraud in Fulton County.
Giuliani called it “the smoking gun” showing Democrats stole the election. Giuliani also made claims of thousands of convicted felons, dead people and people out of state voting in Georgia.
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The video and all of the claims were quickly investigated and debunked by federal and state investigators.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray watched the video with state election officials, who walked him through it frame-by-frame.
“(There were) no magically-appearing ballots,” Gabriel Sterling with the Secretary of State’s office said. “These were ballots that were processed in front of the monitors, processed in front of the monitors and placed there in front of the monitors.”
“These are just typical everyday election workers are just doing their jobs. This is not some Ocean’s 11-level scheme being put together in the middle of the night,” Sterling continued.
A third part of the investigation centered around the meeting of false electors inside the state capitol.
On the day when members of the Electoral College were casting their votes at the State Capitol for Biden, another group of “alternate electors” met in another room to cast votes for Trump.
Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was allowed into the room and witnessed the vote. Among those alternate electors was now-Lt. Gov. Burt Jones.
Sources at that meeting told Elliot at the time that the Trump campaign sent out an email asking attendees to keep the meeting quiet and to say instead they were meeting with Jones and state Sen. Brandon Beach.
Following the meeting, Elliot asked David Shafer, who was head of the Georgia GOP at the time, why they met.
“The president’s lawsuit contesting the Georgia election has not been decided or even heard, we held this meeting to preserve his rights. Had we not held this meeting, then his lawsuit would effectively be mooted,” Schafer said at the time.
The grand jury lasted for eight months and was dissolved after sending its final report to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney in January 2023.
After several court hearings, only small parts of the report were allowed to be released.
According to the released parts of the report, a majority of the jurors believed perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses and recommended Willis seek appropriate indictments.
“We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 election that could result in overturning that election,” the report said.
The Georgia indictment is just the latest legal action taken against Trump. Many of the charges laid out in this indictment mirror much of what was brought up in the federal indictment handed up by a federal grand jury on Aug. 1 alleging Trump’s involvement in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election on a nationwide scale.
Those charges include:
- A conspiracy to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud and deceit to obstruct the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election (Count 1, in violation of 18 USC 371).
- A conspiracy to impede the Jan. 6 congressional proceeding at which the collected results of the presidential election are counted and certified (Count 2, in violation of 18 USC 1512).
- The indictment also alleges that Trump attempted to, and did, corruptly obstruct and impede the certification of the electoral vote (Count 3, in violation of 18 USC 1512).
- A conspiracy against the right to vote and to have that vote counted (Count 4, in violation of 18 USC 241).
Trump pleaded not guilty to those charges.
In March, Trump was indicted in a case in New York City making him the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. He was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.
In May, a jury ordered former President Donald Trump to pay about $5 million in damages after finding him liable of battery and defamation in a civil lawsuit brought by longtime magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.
Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room at a luxury department store in New York in the 1990s and said he defamed her after he called her a liar when she later went public with the allegations.
Trump said he will appeal the jury’s verdict, calling it “a disgrace.”
In June, a federal grand jury handed up a 37-count indictment against Trump alleging that he kept classified documents in the bathroom and shower at his Florida estate, as well as various other locations that included a ballroom, storeroom, office, and bedroom.
He pleaded not guilty.
There are other civil cases in New York against Trump as well.
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