Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Monday charged political and legal aides to Donald Trump in the investigation into the former president’s alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state.
It’s first time, out of what are now four criminal indictments against Trump, that such senior aides have been roped into a case against him.
Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and top attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Kenneth Chesebro, Jeff Clark, John Eastman were charged out of the investigation.
Others indicted Monday include: Georgia lawyer Robert Cheeley, former campaign strategist Michael Roman, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party David Shafer, publicist Trevian Kutti, former Georgia elections supervisor Misty Hampton Hayes, the VP of Black Conservative Federation Harrison William Prescott Floyd, Stephen Lee, former Georgia GOP official Cathleen Alston Latham, Shawn Micah Tresher Still, Scott Graham Hall, and Ray Stallings Smith III.
FILE – Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. ((AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File))
Fulton County prosecutors charged former President Trump and all 18 others with at least one count of violating the Georgia RICO Act—the Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act.
Other charges Trump and defendants are facing include Solicitation of Violation of Oath by a 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; Filing False Documents; and Solicitation of Violation of Oath by a Public Officer.
“Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3, 2020. One of the states he lost was Georgia,” the indictment states. “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. That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.”
The 97-page indictment contains 41 felony counts against Trump and the 18 defendants and alleges they “unlawfully conspired and endeavored to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere.”
The indictment states that the defendants and unindicted coconspirators “constituted a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury.”
Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Oct. 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The indictment states that defendants appeared at hearings in Fulton County, Georgia before members of the Georgia General Assembly in December 2020 and “made false statements concerning fraud in the November 3, 2020 presidential election.”
“The purpose of these false statements was to persuade Georgia legislators to reject lawful electoral votes cast by the duly elected and qualified presidential electors from Georgia,” the indictment states. “Members of the enterprise corruptly solicited Georgia legislators instead to unlawfully appoint their own presidential electors for the purpose of casting electoral votes for Donald Trump.”
The indictment states that the “enterprise” made false statements in November 2020 in Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants “corruptly solicited Georgia officials, including the Secretary of State and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to violate their oaths to the Georgia Constitution and to the United States Constitution by unlawfully changing the outcome of the November 3, 2020, presidential election in Georgia in favor of Donald Trump.
UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 19 (FILE): Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, right, attorneys for President Donald Trump, conduct a news conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, November 19, 2020. Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani also attended. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
The indictment also said Trump and dependents “corruptly solicited” then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Next, it says that on Nov. 15, 2020, Giuliani placed a telephone call to another unindicted co-conspirator and “left an approximately 83-second-long voicemail message for unindicted co-conspirator Individual 2 making statements concerning fraud” in the election in Fulton County, Georgia.
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES – NOV 19: Attorney Sidney Powell speaks during a news conference on Thursday Nov. 19, 2020. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
“This telephone call was an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
The indictment says that on Nov. 19, 2020, Giuliani, Ellis, Powell and unindicted co-conspirators “appeared at a press conference at the Republican National Committee Headquarters on behalf of” Trump and his campaign and “made false statements concerning fraud” in the 2020 election.
The indictment lists other “overt acts” that furthered the alleged conspiracy by Trump and defendants.
Trump’s indictment in Georgia is his fourth indictment this year—the first in New York out of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe, and two out of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his alleged improper retention of classified records and alleged involvement in Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in all cases.
Smith charged Waltine Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira in the classified records probe—but neither of the two were involved in the former president’s political or legal operation, instead, serving as a Trump valet and a property manager at Mar-a-Lago, respectively.
FILE – In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for then-President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
In Smith’s last federal indictment, he names six “co-conspirators,” but those co-conspirators have not yet been charged and it is unclear if they will be. Giuliani, Powell, Clark, and Chesebro have been identified as co-conspirators; along with John Eastman. The sixth co-conspirator is unknown.
Meadows, Giuliani, Powell, Ellis, Chesebro, Eastman, and others were subpoenaed last year to testify before the grand jury.
The district attorney had been looking to see if Trump or his allies broke state laws to have the 2020 election results overturned in Georgia.
John Eastman, the University of Colorado Boulders visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy, speaks about his plans to sue the university at a news conference outside of CU Boulder on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images) (getty)
At the time of the 2020 election, Meadows was serving as White House chief of staff.
Giuliani, Ellis, Powell and Clark, and Chesebro all came on to serve as top attorneys to lead the 2020 election challenges for the Trump campaign in states across the nation.
The investigation in Georgia began after Trump reportedly insisted during a phone call with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that he had won the state of Georgia. Trump urged him to “find” enough votes to reverse the state’s results.
Trump also reportedly said: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
Georgia certified election results showing that Trump’s Democratic opponent Joe Biden won the state’s Nov. 3 election by 11,779 votes.
Georgia Fulton County Districrt Attorney Fani Willis gave Trump and the 18 other dependents until Aug. 25 to surrender. Willis, Monday night during a press conference, said she would like a trial to take place within six months.