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ATLANTA, Ga. – In a significant development on Monday, former President Donald Trump and 18 of his associates were charged with a plot to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. The charges have been brought using a legal statute often used for organized crime cases, accusing the ex-president, his lawyers, and top aides of being involved in a broad criminal conspiracy to maintain his hold on power.

The indictment, a lengthy document spanning 97 pages, outlines numerous actions taken by Trump and his supporters to reverse his defeat in Georgia, a state crucial to the election. These actions include pressuring Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to find more votes in favor of Trump, making baseless claims of voter fraud, and trying to convince Georgia lawmakers to disregard the voters’ choice and select electors favorable to Trump. Additionally, the indictment details a plan to manipulate voting machines in one county and steal data.

According to a statement from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the document asserts that Trump and the co-accused in this indictment adamantly denied Trump’s defeat and intentionally and willingly participated in a plot to illegally alter the election’s result in Trump’s favor. This statement was released on Monday evening.

Trump and Allies Accused of Pressuring Officials and Spreading Baseless Claims

Willis has announced that the defendants will be given the chance to turn themselves in by August 25, and she intends to request a trial date within the next six months.

Among the other individuals facing charges are Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff; Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney; and Jeffrey Clark, a former official from the Trump administration’s Justice Department who played a role in efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia. Several lawyers who proposed legally questionable ideas to overturn the election, such as John Eastman, Sidney Powell, and Kenneth Chesebro, have also been indicted.

Scheme Involves Alleged Manipulation of Voting Machines and Data Theft

The indictment portrays Trump, his lawyers, and his associates as members of a “criminal organization” engaged in an “enterprise” operating in Georgia and other states. This language draws parallels to organized crime leaders and gangs.

This indictment marks the fourth legal case brought against Trump within five months, each in different cities. This legal pressure is a remarkable challenge for anyone, especially someone simultaneously running for president, as Trump is reportedly aiming to do in the 2024 election.

Indictment Follows Capitol Riot Investigations

Only two weeks ago, the Justice Department’s special counsel had charged Trump with participating in a widespread conspiracy to overturn the election results. This underscores how, after extensive investigations following the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, prosecutors are taking steps to hold Trump accountable for actions that threatened the core of American democracy.

Notably, the Georgia case stands apart from the more focused case led by special counsel Jack Smith, which currently only names Trump as a defendant. Unlike the federal charges, if Trump were to be elected president again, he would not have the ability to pardon himself or influence the outcome by appointing an attorney general who could potentially dismiss the case.

As these indictments pile up, Trump, the leading Republican contender for the 2024 presidential election, frequently highlights his status as the sole former president facing criminal charges. He uses these circumstances for his campaigning and fundraising, positioning himself as a victim of Democratic prosecutors aiming to undermine him.

Trump’s Republican supporters have quickly come to his defense. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy conveyed his skepticism, writing on social media, “Americans see through this desperate sham.”

The charges against Trump encompass violations of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act, as well as other crimes like conspiracy to commit forgery and conspiracy to commit false statements.

former president trump, Donald j trump
FILE – In this Thursday, June 18, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump looks at his phone during a roundtable with governors on the reopening of America’s small businesses, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, Facebook parent Meta said in a blog post it is reinstating former President Trump’s personal account after two-year suspension following the Jan. 6 insurrection. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The indictment refers to a specific event on January 2, 2021, in which Trump is accused of providing inaccurate information to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Secretary of State, and other officials involved in the state’s elections. These statements included claims of mysterious ballot drops, unauthorized voters, and allegations against an election worker.

The charge also mentions a widely recognized gathering in the Oval Office on December 18, 2020, where Trump’s supporters, Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn among them, deliberated on capturing voting machines and commencing an inquiry into claims of voter fraud. Prosecutors argue that this meeting was part of an effort to influence the election’s outcome.

Furthermore, the indictment asserts that Meadows attempted to observe a signature match audit in Cobb County, even though the process was not open to the public. State officials prevented his entry into the restricted area.

In conclusion, this indictment in Georgia adds to a growing list of legal challenges for former President Trump and his allies. The charges allege a complex conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results, shining a light on the ongoing legal battles surrounding Trump’s presidency and its aftermath.

Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times and a descendant of two families that survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Although his publication’s store and newsroom...

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