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Campaign collides with legal woes

BusinessCampaign collides with legal woes


Trump’s legal troubles loom over his campaign schedule

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. August 12, 2023. 

Scott Morgan | Reuters

With four active criminal cases now on his plate — not to mention multiple ongoing civil cases in New York — Donald Trump’s legal troubles are set to dominate his schedule in the coming weeks.

In 10 days, Trump and his co-defendants are due to surrender to Georgia authorities on the latest indictment filed against him.

Warrants have been issued for their arrest, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said Monday night. She added that she wants the case to go to trial within the next six months.

Four days before his deadline to surrender in Georgia, Trump said he plans to lead a news conference at his golf club in New Jersey to unveil a “report” containing allegations of election fraud. He has repeatedly made false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Meanwhile, in special counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case in Washington, D.C., federal court, Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors are set to appear on Aug. 28 for a hearing about how classified information will be handled in the case. That’s three days after the surrender deadline in Georgia.

The demands of his criminal cases could clash with his presidential campaign: Trump has yet to say whether or not he plans to attend the first Republican primary debate set for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. If he skips the event, as he has signaled he plans to do, Trump may counter-program it by holding a competing event, as he has done in past election cycles.

Kevin Breuninger

Chesebro attorney says charges are unfounded

The attorney representing Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer who advised Donald Trump, said the charges against his client are “unfounded.”

Chesebro is accused of helping Trump put together a slate of fake electors to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia.

“Each of the alleged ‘overt acts’ that are attributed to Mr. Chesebro relate to his work as an attorney,” said Chesebro’s lawyer Scott Grubman.

“Mr. Chesebro did not once step foot in the State of Georgia on behalf of the campaign, and was not privy to the private communications of other individuals that are cited in the indictment,” Grubman said. “Mr. Chesebro stands ready to defend himself against these unfounded charges.”

Chesebro is charged with seven counts:

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer
  • Two counts of conspiring to commit forgery in the first degree
  • Two counts of conspiring to commit false statements and writings
  • Conspiracy to commit filing false documents

— Spencer Kimball

Gov. Brian Kemp: ‘The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen’

U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp as he arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., July 15, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp took aim at former President Donald Trump’s claim that there was election fraud in the Peach State in 2020.

After Trump wrote on social media that he was going to release a report proving there was fraud in Georgia, Kemp responded in his own post.

“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen,” Kemp wrote. “For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor.”

The governor’s response comes after Trump was indicted in Georgia for trying to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. Kemp testified before the Fulton County grand jury last year, but only after initially trying to challenge a subpoena for his testimony.

– Brian Schwartz

Raffensperger: You either have the rule of law — or you don’t

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks at a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on November 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Elijah Nouvelage | Getty Images

The Georgia election official who refused to help Donald Trump said in response to the former president’s indictment that the rule of law is the most basic principle of democracy.

“The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law. You either have it, or you don’t,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement.

Trump pressured Raffensperger in a January 2021 phone call to “find” him enough votes to overturn President Joe Biden‘s victory in Georgia.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said during the now-infamous call.

Raffensperger, a Republican, resisted Trump’s pressure and stood by his November certification of Biden’s victory.

“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger said.

Spencer Kimball

The Georgia indictment names Trump 100 times in 98 pages. Read the whole document.

John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani speak in a combination of file photographs taken in 2020 and 2021.

Staff | Reuters

The indictment delivered by a grand jury in Atlanta against Donald Trump and 18 other defendants mentions the former president by name 100 times, more than once per page.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former lawyer and New York City mayor, is mentioned 56 separate times in the 98 page document. John Eastman and Sidney Powell, both Trump-allied lawyers, are called out 31 times and 28 times, respectively.

Mark Meadows, Trump’s White House chief of staff, is mentioned 14 times. This is notable because an federal indictment based on many of the same events and facts, but in which Meadows was not charged, barely mentions him at all.

Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark is named nine times, and Jenna Ellis, an attorney who worked with Giuliani, is mentioned 20 times.

Read the whole indictment below:

Indicted Trump attorney Jenna Ellis slams Willis, invokes God

A November 19, 2020 photo shows attorney Jenna Ellis speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC.

Mandel Ngan | Afp | Getty Images

Jenna Ellis, one of the 19 people named in the Georgia indictment, responded to her criminal charges by accusing Democrats and District Attorney Fani Willis of “criminalizing the practice of law.”

“I am resolved to trust the Lord and I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him,” Ellis tweeted Tuesday morning. “I deeply appreciate all of my friends who have reached out offering encouragement and support.”

Ellis’ tweet included a screenshot of cursive text, which read, “Even so it is well with my soul.”

Ellis is an attorney who was part of a group with Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell who worked to challenge the election results. She described that group as an “elite strike force” in a bizarre news conference in November 2020 that was filled with false claims of election fraud.

She is charged in Willis’ indictment with one count of violating Georgia’s RICO act and one count of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer. She is accused of working to get pro-Trump electors appointed in key states including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan.

Kevin Breuninger

Overturning his Georgia loss would still not have delivered Trump the presidency

Former US President Donald Trump points at the crowd as he attends Round 3 of the LIV Golf-Bedminster 2023 at the Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey on August 13, 2023.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

While Trump’s latest charges come from Georgia, one thing the indictment makes clear is that the former president’s plot to reverse his 2020 loss was not confined to the Peach State.

Trump was previously charged by Special Counsel Jack Smith with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by organizing fraudulent electors in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in addition to Georgia.

Biden won the presidency with a secure margin of 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Had Trump successfully overturned the results in Georgia, he still would have fallen 22 electoral votes shy of the 270 needed to take the White House.

Trump would have had to overturn the results in at least two other states in addition to Georgia to pull off his plot.

— Spencer Kimball

Trump asks for donations for his 2024 campaign and legal fees following Georgia indictment

Former U.S. President and Republican candidate Donald Trump makes a keynote speech at a Republican fundraising dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. August 5, 2023. 

Sam Wolfe | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump used his indictment in Georgia for trying to overturn the 2020 election as a jumping off point to raise money for his 2024 campaign.

In an overnight fundraising email, Trump blasted the indictment and bemoaned how “Our once free Republic where citizens were presumed innocent until proven guilty is gone.”

The fundraising email includes a link to a donation page that says contributions will go to the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee. While 90% of a contribution goes to the Trump 2024 campaign for president, 10% will go to Save America, a Trump PAC helping the former president pay for his legal fees.

Save America spent over $20 million on legal fees in the first half of the year and came into July with just over $3 million in cash on hand.

It’s unclear how Trump will fund his legal defense going forward.

– Brian Schwartz

Trump to unveil a ‘report’ on Georgia election at news conference next week

Former US president and 2024 Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa’s 2023 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023. 

Rachel Mummey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump will hold a news conference next week to unveil a “report” that he says will contain allegations of election fraud in Georgia.

The move appears to be an attempt to counter his criminal indictment — which accuses him of spreading false claims of widespread fraud in furtherance of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election — by doubling down on those false claims.

The former president said on Truth Social that a “Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT” on the subject is “almost complete.”

He said he will present the results of the report Monday Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. ET from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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“Based on the results of this CONCLUSIVE Report, all charges should be dropped against me & others – There will be a complete EXONERATION!” Trump claimed.

Kevin Breuninger

Rudy Giuliani claims Trump was framed, dismisses indictment as “book of lies”

Rudy Giuliani, former lawyer to Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media as he leaves federal court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, May 19, 2023.

Eric Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani lashed after he and former President Donald Trump were indicted on racketeering and numerous other charges in Georgia over their attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.

Giuliani claimed Trump was framed and decried the indictment as “an affront to American democracy” that “does permanent, irrevocable harm to our justice system.”

The former New York City Mayor and lawyer to Trump dismissed the indictment as a “book of lies” and railed against an unnamed “they” who he accused of lying about “Russian collusion” and Hunter Biden’s laptop.

 “The real criminals here are the people who have brought this case forward both directly and indirectly,” Giuliani said in a statement to NBC News early Tuesday morning.

The indictment alleges that Trump, Giuliani and 17 other defendants constituted a criminal organization that engaged in a wide range of illegal activities.

Giuliani was charged with 13 crimes:

  • Violation of the Georgia Rico Act
  • Three counts of soliciting a public officer to violate their oath
  • Conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer
  • Three counts of false statements and writings
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings
  • Conspiracy to commit filing false documents
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree

— Spencer Kimball

Who’s left out of the indictment?

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn exits a vehicle as he arrives for his sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2018.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

With 41 counts against 19 people, Willis’ 98-page indictment is expansive. But not every person involved in efforts to challenge Trump’s 2020 loss is charged in the latest charging document.

This raises questions about whether the conspicuously absent characters agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, in exchange for not being charged themselves.

The indictment, for instance, does not mention Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, who reportedly suggested that Trump could invoke martial law to seize voting machines.

Nor does the indictment reference Lin Wood, the pro-Trump former lawyer and conspiracy theorist who led a failed lawsuit to overturn Biden’s win in Georgia.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was questioned in Willis’ election probe, also is not named in the indictment.

Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who spoke on Trump’s infamous Jan. 2, 2021, call urging Georgia officials to find votes for him, is also absent.

The indictment mentions 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

Kevin Breuninger

Georgia case will be first where Trump doesn’t pay for his co-defendants’ legal counsel

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a ‘Save America’ rally in support of Arizona GOP candidates on July 22, 2022 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

The criminal case in Georgia against former President Donald Trump will be different from his other cases in one significant way: It will be the first case in which Trump and his political groups won’t be paying for the lawyers for his co-defendants.

Unlike the classified documents case in Florida, or a case against Trump’s company in Manhattan, where Trump controlled entities are paying the lawyers bills, Trump’s political action committee is in no position to fund the costly defenses of the 18 other people charged in the sprawling Georgia racketeering indictment.

Trump’s PAC Save America burned through over $20 million in legal fees in the first half of this year alone, paying for lawyers to represent the former president and his co-defendants in three other cases. That left the PAC with just over $3 million on hand at the end of June.

The fact that Trump is paying the lawyers’ bills for his co-defendants in the Florida case has raised questions about whether they are truly free to give testimony that would incriminate Trump, if it means losing their legal representation.

– Brian Schwartz

Trump primary challenger Will Hurd urges GOP to drop ex-president’s ‘baggage’

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, speaks during a news conference on the use of the “queen-of-the-hill” rule for DACA legislation in the House on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican presidential candidate, urged his party to get rid of Trump and find itself a new leader.

“Another day, another indictment, and another example of how the former president’s baggage will hand Joe Biden reelection if Trump is the Republican nominee,” Hurd said in a statement from his campaign.

“This is further evidence that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and was ready to do anything it took to cling to power. He will use this latest indictment as another opportunity to manipulate Americans into paying his legal bills,” Hurd said of the GOP frontrunner.

“It’s time we move beyond dealing with the former president’s baggage,” Hurd said, arguing that the Republican Party “needs a leader who isn’t afraid of bullies like Trump.”

“These complicated times demand common sense leadership — and America deserves a leader who knows we are better together rather than someone who is interested in tearing us apart,” he said.

Hurd, a longshot candidate for the GOP nomination, told NBC News on Monday that he has still not met the donor requirement for participating in the first primary debate next week, though he said he is “really close.”

Kevin Breuninger

Trump now faces a total of 91 criminal counts

Former US President Donald Trump looks on during Round 3 at the LIV Golf-Bedminster 2023 at the Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey on August 13, 2023.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

It’s a record unlikely to be broken anytime soon.

The latest indictment against Trump charges him with 13 criminal counts, including a violation of Georgia’s RICO Act, which carries a penalty of between five and 20 years in prison.

These are on top of the 78 criminal counts Trump already faces in the three other active criminal cases, bringing his grand, grim total to 91 counts.

When it comes to racking up criminal counts, Trump is a pioneer in his field: No other U.S. president has ever been charged with crimes, let alone more than seven dozen of them at once. And no former president has run for another term in office while fending off potentially hundreds of years of prison time.

Kevin Breuninger

Trump responds to latest charges: ‘The Witch Hunt continues!’

Former US president and 2024 Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa’s 2023 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023. 

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Trump’s first social media reaction to his latest batch of criminal charges struck a familiar chord, using some of the same language he has deployed for years against his investigators.

“So, the Witch Hunt continues!” he said in a Truth Social post at 1:28 a.m. ET.

Facing 13 felony counts, Trump railed against Fani Willis, the Atlanta prosecutor who led the state probe, as “an out of control and very corrupt District Attorney who campaigned and raised money on, ‘I will get Trump.'”

He also seized on a moment of confusion from the court Monday — where a docket report showing charges against Trump was filed online, then quickly deleted — as he asserted that the case “sounds Rigged to me!”

And he once again claimed without evidence that the criminal charges against him are part of a conspiracy to undermine his presidential campaign.

“Witch Hunt!” he exclaimed.

Kevin Breuninger

GOP candidates Hutchinson and Ramaswamy respond to indictment

Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson delivers remarks at the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference at the Washington Hilton on June 23, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson reiterated his previous comments saying Trump has “disqualified himself from ever holding our nation’s highest office again.”

“Those words are more true today than ever before,” he said in a statement. The former federal prosecutor said he would make further comments after reviewing the details of the indictment.

Hutchinson is among the many candidates competing alongside Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy delivers remarks at the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference at the Washington Hilton on June 23, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Fellow candidate Vivek Ramaswamy criticized the indictment shortly after its release, but noted he had not yet had a chance to read the documents. On News Nation, the businessman said that these charges along with the previous three indictments amount to “politicized persecutions through prosecution.”

Christine Wang

Trump lawyers criticize indictment

Trump’s lawyers condemned the indictment, calling Monday’s events “shocking and absurd.” In a statement to NBC News, Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg criticized a disputed report on a charging document that circulated ahead of the indictment.

“We look forward to a detailed review of this indictment which is undoubtedly just as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been,” Trump’s lawyers said in the statement.

Ahead of the indictment, Reuters had published a number of headlines that Georgia had filed charges against Trump. But soon after a spokeswoman for Fulton County courts told CNBC that the reporting was “inaccurate” without clarifying how or why.

— Christine Wang

McCarthy slams Biden and ‘radical’ DA Willis following indictment

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, speaks to the press, as he meets with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2023. listens to

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wrote in a social media post that the Biden administration “has weaponized government” against Trump ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

“Justice should be blind, but Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election,” McCarthy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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“Now a radical DA in Georgia is following Biden’s lead by attacking President Trump and using it to fundraise her political career. Americans see through this desperate sham,” he said, referencing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

— Amanda Macias

Top Democrats in Congress: Trump pushed ‘Big Lie to steal an election’

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference after the senate luncheons in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The two top Democrats in Congress blasted Trump after the new indictment, which they said underscores the fact that no American, not even a president, “is above the law.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in a statement, said, The fourth indictment of Donald Trump, just like the three which came before it, portrays a repeated pattern of criminal activity by the former president.”

“This latest indictment details how Mr. Trump led a months-long plot pushing the Big Lie to steal an election, undermine our democracy, and overturn the will of the people of Georgia,” the statement said.

 “The actions taken by the Fulton County District Attorney, along with other state and federal prosecutors, reaffirms the shared belief that in America no one, not even the president, is above the law,” the Democrats said.

 “As a nation built on the rule of law, we urge Mr. Trump, his supporters, and his critics to allow the legal process to proceed without outside interference.” 

Dan Mangan 

Warrants issued for Trump and his co-conspirators, who have until Friday Aug. 25 to surrender

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis gave former President Donald Trump and his co-conspirators until noon Friday Aug. 25 to surrender to Georgia authorities.

Warrants have been issued for their arrest, Willis added.

“I want to try him and be respectful for our sovereign states,” Willis continued, “with a trial date within six months.”

Rohan Goswami

Conspirators ‘refused to accept that Trump lost’

US President Donald Trump looks on after speaking during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4, 2020.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The indictment against Trump and his co-defendants opens by noting that the conspiracy outlined in the document was set in motion after the alleged conspirators “refused to accept that Trump lost” to President Joe Biden in Georgia in 2020.

“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 says.

“Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” the indictment said.

“That conspiracy contained 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.”

Dan Mangan

Who is Mark Meadows?

Former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., speaks during a forum on House and GOP Conference rules for the 118th Congress, at the FreedomWorks office in Washington, D.C., on Monday, November 14, 2022. 

Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Meadows is a former U.S. congressman from North Carolina who stepped down from that role to become Trump’s White House chief of staff for his final year in office.

Meadows participated in the now-infamous Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump pressed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn his loss to Biden in the state.

He was also involved in other efforts to try to keep Trump in office after his defeat. His actions on the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — as Trump’s allies flooded him with frantic texts — played a large role in a House select committee’s investigation about the disruption of the transfer of presidential power.

Kevin Breuninger

30 unindicted co-conspirators in the Georgia case, including 13 apparent false electors

The 90-page indictment details over 160 acts in aid of the alleged conspiracy, and identifies 30 unindicted co-conspirators who worked with the defendants to perpetrate the alleged crimes.

Among the unindicted co-conspirators are 13 apparent false electors, who allegedly conspired on Dec. 14, 2020, to submit a false and fraudulent voter certification to a federal judge, the indictment said.

“On or about the 14th day of December 2020, DAVID JAMES SHAFER, SHAWN MICAH TRESHER STILL, CATHLEEN ALSTON LATHAM, and unindicted coconspirators Individual 2, Individual 8, Individual 9, Individual 10, Individual 11, Individual 12, Individual 13, Individual 14, Individual 15, Individual 16, Individual 17, Individual 18, and Individual 19, whose identities are known to the Grand Jury, attempted to commit the felony offense of FILING FALSE DOCUMENTS, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20.1(b)(1), in Fulton County, Georgia, by placing in the United States mail a document titled ‘CERTIFICATE OF THE VOTES OF THE 2020 ELECTORS FROM GEORGIA,'” the indictment said.

Rohan Goswami

Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham says Trump is spending a ton of campaign cash on legal fees

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gestures, while standing next to former U.S. President Donald Trump, during Donald Trump’s campaign stop to unveil his leadership team, at the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., January 28, 2023.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Sen. Lindsey Graham. R-S.C., said in an interview on Fox News on Monday that former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign for the White House is spending more money on legal fees than actual campaign-related items.

Graham’s comments came ahead of the indictment of Trump in Georgia.

“He’s spending more money on lawyer fees than he is running for office. January the sixth, I was there, I saw it, he was impeached over it,” Graham said. “The American people can decide whether they want him to be president or not. This should be decided at the ballot box, not a bunch of liberal jurisdictions trying to put the man in jail.”

Trump’s political action committee, Save America, has spent over $20 million on legal fees since the start of the year. That committee has over $3 million on hand going into the second half of the year.

Brian Schwartz

Journalist George Chidi, who walked in on secret Trump operatives meeting, did not testify before grand jury

Independent journalist George Chidi arrives at the Lewis R. Slaton Courthouse after being subpoenaed ahead of an expected indictment of former US President Donald Trump on August 14, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Christian Monterrosa | AFP | Getty Images

Independent journalist George Chidi said on social media that his testimony was not needed ahead of a grand jury vote empaneled in Fulton County in Georgia.

Chidi said last month that he met with a representative from the Fulton County District Attorney’s office and was handed two subpoenas to testify before a grand jury considering charges in the 2020 election interference case.

His testimony was slated to detail how he accidentally stumbled into a secret meeting of Republican “alternate” electors inside the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020. At the time he was told that it was an education meeting and was asked to leave.

Chidi wrote on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, around 2 p.m. ET that he was notified that the grand jury may hear his testimony a day early.

He arrived at the courthouse at 4 p.m. ET and gave sporadic updates of who he saw and what he ate while he waited.

— Amanda Macias

18 co-defendants indicted with Trump

A view of the indictment, after a Georgia grand jury voted to indict former president Donald Trump with several felonies late Monday night in the case investigating attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, is pictured at the Reuters Washington office, D.C., U.S. August 15, 2023.

Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

The indictment names 18 other people besides Trump as co-defendants.

They are Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Kenneth Chesebro, Jeffrey Clark, Jenna Ellis, Ray Smith III, Robert Cheeley, Michael Roman, David Shafer, Shawn Still, Stephen Lee, Harrison Floyd, Trevian Kutti, Sidney Powell, Cathleen Latham, Scott Hall, and Misty Hampton, who also is known as Emily Misty Hayes.

Dan Mangan

Rudy Giuliani says he ‘didn’t do anything wrong’ ahead of indictment

Former New York City Mayor and former personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani talks to members of the press before he leaves the U.S. District Court on May 19, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

“I assure you if it covers more defendants… ain’t gonna leave me out,” Rudy Giuliani, the former Trump lawyer and mayor of New York, said ahead of the unsealing of the indictment.

Earlier, he insisted in an NBC News interview that he “didn’t do anything wrong.”

“It’s really a desecration of calling it a racketeering case,” Giuliani added.

NBC News asked him earlier if he was concerned about a possible indictment. “I shouldn’t be. I didn’t do anything wrong,” Giuliani said.

— Rohan Goswami

Read the Trump indictment from Georgia grand jury

Read the entire 92-page indictment against Trump and his co-defendants here.

Trump could not pardon himself if he wins presidency and is convicted in Georgia

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks on as he attends the ALGOP Summer Meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. August 4, 2023.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump would have to wait at least five years after being released from court-ordered supervision before applying for a pardon, according to state law.

Following a possible conviction in Georgia, Trump could be issued a pardon from the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles but only after fulfilling the sentence, any probation or parole time and five years have elapsed.

The Constitution does not grant the president the ability to exonerate themselves from offenses against individual states.

— Amanda Macias

Clinton says judicial system is working as grand jury returns indictments in election probe

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reacts near Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump after their third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who ran against former President Donald Trump in 2016, said she felt “profound sadness” as the grand jury in Georgia returned 10 indictments related to the 2020 election interference.

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“This is a terrible moment for our country,” Clinton told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in an exclusive interview.

Clinton, who at the time did not know Trump was named in the latest round of indictments, said that what is known is that the former president “set out to defraud the United States of America.”

“I feel great profound sadness that we have a former president who has been indicted for so many charges that went right to the heart of whether or not our democracy would survive,” Clinton said, referencing Trump’s three previous indictments.

Clinton said that her only satisfaction in the wake of Trump’s indictments is that the judicial system is working.

— Amanda Macias

Trump hit with 13 criminal counts in indictment

Trump was hit with 13 separate criminal counts in the new indictment.

A view of the indictment, after a Georgia grand jury voted to indict former president Donald Trump with several felonies late Monday night in the case investigating attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, is pictured at the Reuters Washington office, D.C., U.S. August 15, 2023. 

Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

The top count was a violation of Georgia’s RICO, or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, Act.

Trump also was charged with 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, and conspiracy to commit filing false documents.

Other charges he faces are conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, filing false documents, and false statements and writings.

Dan Mangan

Trump campaign rails against DA Willis before indictments made public

Former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump leaves after speaking at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 12, 2023.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Ahead of the public disclosure of the Georgia indictments, the Trump campaign released a statement assailing Fani Willis, the Atlanta prosecutor who brought the case, as a “rabid partisan.”

The statement, which also attacked the other prosecutors who have filed cases against Trump, accused Willis of “campaigning and fundraising on a platform of prosecuting President Trump through these bogus indictments.”

The campaign also added Willis to Trump’s frequent claim that the criminal charges against him are part of a conspiracy to derail his 2024 presidential campaign. “Call it election interference or election manipulation — it is a dangerous effort by the ruling class to suppress the choice of the people,” the statement read.

Trump himself has already been accused in a separate federal criminal case of attempting to interfere in the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to President Joe Biden.

Willis has been tight-lipped about her probe of Trump, but in recent interviews she has defended the work of her office.

“I refuse to fail,” she told The Wall Street Journal last month.

Kevin Breuninger

Trump’s court proceedings in Georgia could be televised

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits next to his attorney Todd Blanche as he faces charges before Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya that he orchestrated a plot to try to overturn his 2020 election loss, at federal court in Washington, U.S. August 3, 2023 in a courtroom sketch. At far left is U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith. 

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

While Federal courts largely prohibit the photographing and broadcasting of judicial proceedings, the court in Fulton County regularly broadcasts judicial proceedings, which could mean that former President Donald Trump’s case may be televised.

The broadcasting of Trump’s proceedings would give the public unprecedented access to what will be one of the most high-profile trials in American history.

Earlier this month, congressional Democrats, led by California Rep. Adam Schiff called for Trump’s federal criminal trials to be televised.

“If the public is to fully accept the outcome, it will be vitally important for it to witness, as directly as possible, how the trials are conducted, the strength of the evidence adduced and the credibility of witnesses,” wrote Schiff and 37 lawmakers in a letter to Judge Roslynn Mauskopf, who leads the administrative office of U.S. Courts.

— Amanda Macias

Trump, other defendants ‘constituted a criminal organization’

A view of the indictment, after a Georgia grand jury voted to indict former president Donald Trump with several felonies late Monday night in the case investigating attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, is pictured at the Reuters Washington office, D.C., U.S. August 15, 2023. 

Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

The indictment says that Trump and other defendants “constituted a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in various related criminal activities.”

Those activities included “false statements and writings, impersonating 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.”

Dan Mangan

Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Trump ally lawyers indicted

A view of the indictment, after a Georgia grand jury voted to indict former president Donald Trump with several felonies late Monday night in the case investigating attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, is pictured at the Reuters Washington office, D.C., U.S. August 15, 2023. 

Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

Trump’s 2020 campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were indicted with the former president.

So was former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, and the Trump-allied lawyers John Eastman and Sidney Powell, and other Trump campaign officials. Jenna Ellis, an attorney who worked with Giuliani, also was charged.

Dan Mangan

Trump fundraises for 2024 campaign ahead of indictment

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. August 12, 2023. 

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump continued fundraising in the leadup to the Georgia indictment.

Trump’s 2024 campaign sent out a fundraising email as the Georgia grand jury was weighing charges.

“But make no mistake, as long as we keep our foot on the gas, we will only continue to SURGE in every critical battleground state across the country.  With your support, we will not only maintain our massive leads in the most important battleground states, we will surge even higher,” Trump’s team said in a fundraising email earlier on Monday.

This is the latest effort by the Trump campaign to fundraise off of the former president’s legal challenges.

Brian Schwartz

Trump now faces criminal charges in 4 separate cases

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Steer N’ Stein bar at the Iowa State Fair on August 12, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

With charges returned in Georgia, Trump is now grappling with a staggering — and completely unprecedented — four simultaneous criminal cases.

Two federal cases against Trump stem from investigations led by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November to oversee ongoing Trump-related investigations.

The first of Smith’s cases to yield criminal charges centers on Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021. The other federal case is related to Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both of those cases, claiming he is the victim of a conspiracy by the Biden administration.

Trump has also previously pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in Manhattan, where he is accused of falsifying business records related to hush money payments to women who say they had extramarital affairs with him.

While the charges pertain to separate investigations that have been conducted over the course of many years, all of the cases were filed in the months since Trump launched his 2024 presidential campaign.

No other U.S. president, current or former, has ever been criminally charged.

Kevin Breuninger

What is RICO, the felony Trump is charged with?

A document briefly posted on and then taken down from the official Fulton County, Georgia court website shows a list of potential felony charges against former President Donald Trump, after being downloaded by Reuters shortly before the court took the document back down without explanation, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 14, 2023. 

Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

RICO is short for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, which stems from an act of the same name that dates back to the 1970s, when gang and organized crime violence was at the forefront of the public eye.

Today, at both the federal and state level, prosecutors use RICO acts to enhance the severity of charges against defendants. It allows prosecutors to charge individuals for crimes committed by or on behalf of a criminal organization.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that a formal criminal organization has to exist, however. Federal law merely requires that a crime be committed within an “enterprise,” or a group of individuals working towards a common goal.

In Georgia, where Trump was indicted, lawmakers passed a statewide RICO Act in 1980 that classifies those enhancements, or predicates, as a serious felony. Fani Willis has deployed RICO Act enhancements in a prosecution against affiliates of the rap group and label known as Young Stoner Life, or YSL, which was founded by Young Thug.

Under Georgia law, unlawful conduct can include any behavior “through a pattern of racketeering activity” that an accused uses to acquire or maintain “interest in or control of any enterprise, real property, or personal property of any nature, including money.”

— Rohan Goswami

Georgia grand jury indicts Trump

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump is directed to his vehicle after speaking at the Steer N’ Stein bar at the Iowa State Fair on August 12, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

A grand jury in Atlanta indicted Trump on charges related to his bid to overturn the result of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

The Fulton County Superior Court grand jury heard testimony all day from witnesses in the case.

The indictment is the fourth time since March that Trump has been indicted on criminal charges.

— Dan Mangan


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