The Fulton County Jury could treat Trump and his allies as a criminal enterprise for their various efforts to pressure state officials, put forth fake electors, and try to influence the 2020 election.
How Could the Jury Charge the Entire Trump Network?
Racketeering charges, sometimes used in gang-related activity, allow prosecutors to bring charges against multiple defendants. In Georgia, this is known as the RICO law.
However, there are many safeguards before any charges can be brought.
First, the special grand jury must review evidence and make recommendations for indictments. In Trump’s case, the randomly selected jury met for roughly seven months in Atlanta and heard testimony from 75 witnesses, including some of Trump’s closest advisers from his final weeks in the White House. It recommended issuing multiple indictments in the final report.
After that, a regularly seated grand jury can make decisions on whether or not to use RICO (or any other law) to press charges against Trump and his network. This jury is not set to convene until May 2023.
Investigators have a large volume of substantial evidence related to a possible conspiracy from inside and outside the state, including recordings of phone calls, emails, text messages, documents, and testimony before a special grand jury.
Investigators have at least three recordings of Trump pressuring Georgia officials, including a phone call that he made to the Georgia House speaker to push for a special session to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.
There is also a recording of Trump’s call to a top investigator with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office in December 2020, while they were looking into quashed allegations of irregularities with signature-matching in Cobb County in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The investigation also included presentations that former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani made before state lawmakers that were riddled with election falsehoods; a phone call between South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Raffensperger; and the sudden departure of Byung “BJay” Pak, the US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
The Fulton County probe expanded beyond the Trump phone calls to include false claims of election fraud to state lawmakers, the fake elector scheme, efforts by unauthorized individuals to access voting machines in one Georgia county and threats and harassment against election workers.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the far-reaching investigation included potential “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”
Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan jury for falsifying business records in relation to his 2016 campaign will not affect the pace of the Georgia investigation.