Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

If Georgia’s indictment of Donald Trump and his associates achieves nothing else, it has reminded us of just how extensive the plot to reverse the election in the Peach State was, and how many people were involved in it. In some ways, the ninety-eight-page charging document reads like a yearbook for the graduates of Trump High, class of 2020. Nut cases, yes, many of them were (and still are), but they were determined and dangerous nuts. And the most determined of them all, of course, was Trump himself, who is facing thirteen charges, including violating Georgia’s racketeering law, soliciting a public official to violate their oath, conspiring to commit forgery in the first degree, and conspiring to file false documents.

Unlike in the federal election-interference case against Trump, where the former President stands alone, he is joined here by eighteen alleged co-conspirators, each of whom is facing felony charges. It’s a familiar cast of characters: Mark Meadows, Trump’s once voluble former chief of staff, who has mysteriously gone quiet in the past year; the “crackpot lawyers”—to quote Mike Pence—led by Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who acted as Trump’s chief enablers and cheerleaders after November 3, 2020; a number of lesser-known attorneys who originated and promoted the scheme to submit slates of fake electors in Georgia and other contested states; and even Ye’s former publicist, who stands accused of conspiring to pressure a local elections official to make false statements.

The indictment accuses Meadows of taking part in a series of meetings and phone calls with Trump and others between November 20, 2020, and January 2, 2021, including the notorious call to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger—in which Trump asked Raffensperger to find him the “uh, 11,780” votes he needed to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Of the hundred and sixty-one acts of conspiracy that the indictment outlines, Meadows allegedly took part in eight. He has been charged with violating Georgia’s racketeering law and soliciting a public official to violate their oath.

Befitting Giuliani’s role as the primus inter pares of the Trump crackpots, the former mayor’s name appears on dozens of pages of the indictment, in connection with thirty-four acts connected to the alleged conspiracy. The first one involves a voice message that Giuliani left for an unnamed co-conspirator on or about November 15, 2020, regarding “fraud in the November 3, 2020, election in Fulton County, Georgia.” Like Trump and Meadows, Giuliani stands accused of violating Georgia’s racketeering law, which was modelled on the federal racketeering law that Giuliani used to go after mobsters in the nineteen-eighties, back when he was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Powell, a former federal prosecutor turned conspiracy theorist, appears on more than a dozen pages of the indictment, principally in connection with efforts to obtain confidential data from Dominion Voting Systems computers in Coffee County, Georgia, as well as in Antrim County, Michigan. The indictment lists seven charges against Powell: two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to defraud the state of Georgia, and conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy. She is also charged under the racketeering statute.

Another conservative lawyer who frequently appeared as the public face of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results was Jenna Ellis. In addition to appearing on cable news, Ellis allegedly also played a role in trying to persuade Georgia officials not to certify the election. She faces two charges: violating the Georgia racketeering act and soliciting a public officer to violate their oath.

Other lawyers accused in the indictment include John Eastman and Ken Chesebro, two Trump supporters who allegedly took leading roles in concocting the scheme to halt the certification of the Electoral College by submitting slates of fake electors. The indictment says that, in December of 2020, Eastman, a former law professor, sent an e-mail to a co-conspirator telling him that the fake electors in Georgia needed to meet to sign six certificates confirming the fake slate. It also alleges that Eastman took part in a call that Trump made to Ronna McDaniel, the head of the Republican National Committee, to ask for help in finding fake electors, as well as in a January 4, 2021, meeting with Pence, in which Trump urged his Vice-President to reject the official slates of electors. Eastman is facing nine charges, including racketeering, solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, and filing false documents.

Chesebro, meanwhile, is the appellate lawyer and Harvard Law School graduate who wrote the original memos outlining the fake-electors scheme. The indictment cites numerous documents he circulated “in furtherance of a conspiracy,” including an e-mail to Giuliani in which he “outlined multiple strategies for disrupting and delaying the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.” Chesebro was charged with two counts of conspiring to commit false statements and writings, two counts of conspiring to commit forgeries, and one count each of conspiring to impersonate a public officer, racketeering, and conspiracy to file false documents.

Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official whom Trump wanted to appoint as Attorney General, also appears in the indictment. The document describes how Clark asked acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen for authorization to send Georgia officials a document telling them to delay certifying the election results while the Justice Department was investigating possible voting fraud, falsely telling the officials that the Department had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the State of Georgia.” Clark was charged with racketeering and conspiring to commit false statements and writings.

Among the non-lawyers charged in the indictment were current and former Republican officials in Georgia and people connected to the 2020 Trump campaign. One of them was David Shafer, a former chairman of the state G.O.P., who signed the documents certifying the slate of fake electors. He was charged with eight counts, including committing false statements, forgery, and impersonating a public officer. Michael Roman, a Trump campaign official, was charged with seven counts connected to his role in the fake-electors scheme. Harrison Floyd, a leader of Black Voices for Trump, was accused of trying to persuade a Georgia election worker to make false statements about what she witnessed on Election Day. Trevian Kutti, a former publicist for Ye, was also charged with pressuring that same election worker to make false statements.

By Tuesday afternoon, there was still no word from Meadows, but some of Trump’s other alleged co-conspirators had responded to the indictment. Giuliani didn’t appear to appreciate the irony of being charged under a state version of the federal racketeering laws that he used in his days of imitating Eliot Ness. “This is an affront to American Democracy and does permanent, irrevocable harm to our justice system,” he said in a statement. “The real criminals here are the people who have brought this case forward both directly and indirectly.” Jenna Ellis took to Twitter, or X, where she accused Democrats and Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, of “criminalizing the practice of law.” She went on: “I am resolved to trust the Lord and I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him.”

Some of the other defendants left their attorneys to speak for them. A lawyer for Chesebro described the charges against his client as “unfounded” and claimed that Chesebro merely provided the Trump campaign with “advice on issues related to constitutional and election law.” A lawyer for Shafer, the former chairman of the Georgia G.O.P., said that his client’s actions were “lawful, appropriate and specifically authorized by the U.S. Constitution.”

All the alleged co-conspirators have until noon on August 25th to voluntarily surrender to the Georgia legal authorities for booking and charging. If they all showed up at the same time—an unlikely occurrence—it would be quite a reunion. So far, it seems, none of them has expressed regret about participating in Trump’s nefarious and self-serving schemes, despite the fact that, since this is a state case, he couldn’t pardon them even if he were to be reëlected. It remains to be seen whether any of them will try to cut a plea deal. ♦

#Rudy #Giuliani #Mark #Meadows #Trumps #Partners #Alleged #Crime

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *