On Monday morning, prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia presented evidence to a grand jury in what is now a multi-pronged, sprawling indictment.
By the evening, the Atlanta-area grand jury returned an indictment in the investigation into whether the former president or his associates broke the law when protesting the 2020 election. However, who had been indicted and the exact charges are unknown.
The investigation is widely expected to result in numerous charges for several defendants — including Trump and several close associates.
At least two witnesses expected to testify on Tuesday revealed they had been called to the Fulton County Courthouse Monday, sending a signal investigators were closer to unveiling their indictment. Several vital witnesses were also spotted Monday at the courthouse waiting in the same room as some who had already testified.
The case is the fourth brought against Trump this year and could lead to the first televised trial of a former president, featuring charges typically only used against mobsters.
“There will be multiple co-defendants, more likely than not, showing a pattern of unlawful conduct to overturn the election in Georgia: hacking, false statements, harassment, etc.,” said Anthony Kreis, Georgia State University political analyst, in a post on social media.
The investigation was led by Fani Willis, an Atlanta-area prosecutor who wrapped up the allegations against Trump and several co-defendants into one case under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law.
President Joe Biden won the state by less than 12,000 votes in 2020. The indictment presents what could be the most severe threat to Trump as he seeks the GOP nomination for his 2024 reelection bid.
If Trump returns to the White House, he wouldn’t have the powers in Georgia that presidents enjoy in the federal system, to have prosecutors drop cases or to self-pardon.
In response to the pending indictment, Trump posted several messages to his Truth Social platform, called the investigation “ridiculous,” and urged a state official he identified by name and called a “loser” to not testify before the grand jury.
THOSE WHO RIGGED & STOLE THE ELECTION WERE THE ONES DOING THE TAMPERING, & THEY ARE THE SLIME THAT SHOULD BE PROSECUTED,” wrote Trump.
RICO statutes are usually used to target organized crime, and others who could be connected to criminal “enterprise” can be convicted if there appears to be a pattern of crime committed through that enterprise.
However, the wide-reaching Georgia law allows prosecutors to string charges together committed by different defendants without proving the existence of a criminal organization.
An incident likely to be featured in the charges is now an infamous phone call the former president made to Georgia officials asking them to “find” the number of votes he required to win the state.
Trump continues to defend the call as “perfect”
Trump vigorously defends the call as “perfect” and denies any intention to break the law or try to get anyone else to.
The sweeping case could also bring in alleged harassment of poll workers in Fulton County and the accessing of sensitive data from an election office in a rural Georgia county one day following the Capitol riot.
According to the foreperson, another “special” grand jury heard from 75 witnesses last year and made a secret report in February that recommended several indictments.
The Georgia case is a narrower version of the Justice Department’s election interference case against the former president, focusing on several states. However, it differs in other critical aspects beyond the RICO element.
The federal case listed six co-conspirators but did not indict them, which sparked speculation that they might be dealt with separately, leaving Trump as the only defendant.
In Georgia, Willis sent target letters to Rudy Giuliani, former Trump attorney, who allegedly pressured local legislators at numerous committee hearings held after the election, and the 16 electors, half of who are said to have already received immunity deals.
CNN reported Willis is expected to seek charges against over a dozen people. These might include Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff, and other aides who weren’t a focus of Trump’s federal indictment.
The courts in Georgia are also more transparent than the federal system, which means there isn’t a bar to the case being televised from the first preliminary hearing onwards.
In Fulton County, the grand jury meets Mondays and Tuesdays, and local court watchers expect Willis to wrap up and bring approved indictments within two days, which is her standard timeline for racketeering cases.
The former president’s team issued a statement protesting the prosecutors’ lack of “respect for the integrity of the grand jury process” after U.S. media reported the court’s website had posted and then quickly deleted a document that listed charges against Trump.
The court released a statement later denying any papers had been filed Monday by the grand jury, labeling the filing “fictitious.”