On Monday, a Georgia grand jury indicted former US President Donald Trump on a fourth batch of felony charges, accusing him of attempting to rig the 2020 election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump, the front-runner for the Republican candidacy in the 2024 presidential election, now faces additional legal troubles as a result of the accusations, which were presented by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
The lawsuit, which relies on rules often used to convict mobsters, may result in history’s first televised trial of a former president.
11 charges, including forgery and racketeering, which are used to target members of organized crime groups, were brought by the prosecution against Trump and his associates.
In addition to Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff in the White House, was also charged by the prosecution along with 18 other individuals.
The lawsuit began with a phone contact Trump had with Georgia’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, on January 2, 2021, in which Trump pleaded with Raffensperger to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn his close loss in the state. Raffensperger turned down the offer.
Two weeks before Trump was scheduled to step down from office, on January 6, 2021, his supporters invaded the US Capitol for four days in an unsuccessful attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory.
Willis also looked into a possible Trump campaign plot to rig the presidential and vice presidential elections by submitting fictitious lists of electors, the members of the Electoral College. Willis, an elected Democrat, is accused of being politically motivated by Trump, who has denied any misconduct.
Earlier on Monday, the court temporarily uploaded a document on its internet stating a number of felony accusations against Trump, but it was soon and mysteriously taken down. When asked if there had been any charges brought, Willis’ office stated no and made no more comments.
In three criminal instances already, Trump has entered a not guilty plea.
He will stand trial in Florida starting on May 20 in a federal case involving confidential materials, and a New York state trial starting on March 25, 2024, concerning a hush money payment to an adult star. Trump entered a not guilty plea in both cases.
He is charged with illegally attempting to reverse his loss in the 2020 election in a third indictment filed in federal court in Washington. A trial date has not yet been scheduled, and Trump again denies any wrongdoing.
Georgia, which was formerly a solidly Republican state, has turned into one of a small number of states with a competitive presidential race.
Trump continues to assert falsely that he won the election in November 2020, despite the fact that numerous court proceedings and government investigations have found no proof to back up his claim.
According to strategists, while the indictments may increase Republican support for Trump, they could work against him in the general election of the following year, when he will need to win over more independent-minded voters.
According to Reuters/Ipsos polls, his lead over Republican presidential rivals has grown since the New York charges were brought in April. However, compared to 8% who said they were more likely to vote for him, 37% of independents said the criminal prosecutions made them less likely to do so in a July Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Willis’ inquiry relies on testimony from Trump advisers like Giuliani, who lobbied state lawmakers not to recognize the election in December 2020, and allies like Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, who requested that absentee votes be examined after Trump’s defeat.
Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have avoided Trump, gave testimony. Kemp and Raffensperger have declined to support Trump’s phony election claims, in contrast to other Republican officials. Trump’s arguments have no basis in reality, according to Raffensperger, and Kemp validated the election results under pressure from his own party.
Both handily won re-election in November 2022 after defeating rivals supported by Trump in the primary.
Since leaving office, Trump has been enmeshed in legal troubles.
A New York jury convicted him guilty of sexually assaulting and defaming the author E. Jean Carroll in May, in addition to the criminal trials, and gave Carroll $5 million in a civil judgment. A second defamation action seeking $10 million in damages has a trial set for January 15th. Trump rejects any wrongdoing.
In a legal case in New York, Trump and his family business are expected to go on trial in October on charges of engaging in fraud to secure better terms from lenders and insurers. In December, a New York court found Trump’s corporation guilty of tax evasion, and it was penalized $1.6 million.
SOURCE: KHALEEJ TIMES