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Another jurisdiction, another Trump indictment. Following in the footsteps of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and federal special counsel Jack Smith, the DA of Fulton County, Ga., Fani Willis, has brought a series of potentially grave charges against the former president and his associates.
The long-anticipated indictment that Willis filed on Monday night charges Trump with a massive criminal enterprise centered on Georgia’s vote tallies in the 2020 presidential election.
Below, the key points of the Fulton County indictment.
Read more on Yahoo News: A look at the 19 people charged in the Georgia indictment connected to Trump election scheme, via Associated Press
A Mafia statute
Many of the charges are based on Georgia’s version of a racketeering statute known as RICO, an acronym for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was implemented to dismantle the Mafia and other organized-crime cartels.
Willis argues that, in essence, Trump’s efforts to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes were just that, a Mafia-style shakedown, (barely) disguised as a procedural maneuver.
Others charged include Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, both of whom served as Trump’s attorneys at the time, and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
“The enterprise constituted an ongoing organization whose members and associates functioned as a continuing unit for a common purpose of achieving the objectives of the enterprise,” the indictment alleges.
Read more on Yahoo News: Georgia court's apparent error in early publishing of charges gives Trump opening to attack case, via Associated Press
A national effort
In the days after the election, which Joe Biden won by about 7 million votes, Trump’s associates and attorneys worked furiously to persuade Republican state legislators not to certify the results in their respective jurisdictions.
Although the Fulton County indictment focuses on Georgia, Willis describes what she alleges was a conspiracy of national scope.
“Members of the enterprise also made false statements to state legislators during hearings and meetings in Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in November and December 2020,” the indictment says, “to persuade legislators in those states to unlawfully appoint their own presidential electors.”
In perhaps the most prolific of those efforts, Trump invited two Michigan lawmakers to the White House, hoping to pressure them into handing him that state’s Electoral College votes, but they refused to comply.
Read more on Yahoo News: Indictment lays out Mark Meadows's role in conspiracy to overturn 2020 election
Harassing election workers
In the summer of 2022, the mother-daughter duo of Ruby Freeman and Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, who were election workers in Georgia during the 2020 election, told the House Jan. 6 committee of the harassment they received after becoming the targets of a pro-Trump conspiracy theory.
“I've lost my reputation. I've lost my sense of security,” Freeman told the committee, in testimony that vividly reminded the American public that lies about the 2020 election had real-life costs.
Willis’s indictment alleges that Trump’s associates “traveled from out of state to harass Freeman, intimidate her, and solicit her to falsely confess to election crimes that she did not commit.”
Read more on Yahoo News: Georgia poll workers targeted by Trump are cleared of false election fraud claims, via NBC News
Tweets and more tweets
The internet is forever, as the saying goes, and though Trump is no longer on his once beloved platform of Twitter, his tweets live on. Willis cites a number of them as evidence that he plainly and publicly sought to press his case to millions of followers.
“People in Georgia got caught cold bringing in massive numbers of ballots and putting them in 'voting' machines,” one of the Trump messages included in the indictment reads in part. The allegation is untrue, but for many of the former president’s supporters, his pronouncements supersede facts.
Willis had used a similar strategy when indicting rapper Young Thug and his associates on drug and other charges, citing rap lyrics as evidence of real-world wrongdoing.
Read more on Yahoo News: Georgia prosecutors are using 12 tweets of Trump's as part of its RICO charge against Trump and associates, via Business Insider
A furious reaction
Republicans in Washington reacted swiftly, and angrily, at what they saw as the latest attempt to derail Trump’s bid for the White House. He is now the leading candidate to attain the Republican presidential nomination.
"Justice should be blind, but Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, in one of several messages of support from prominent Republicans and conservative media personalities blasted out on Tuesday morning by a political committee supporting Trump’s presidential run. “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."
Previous indictments from Bragg and Smith have done little to shake Trump’s support among the MAGA faithful; in fact, they have only solidified it. The newest indictments appear to be having a similar effect, at least thus far.
Read more on Yahoo News: Two Months in Georgia: How Trump Tried to Overturn the Vote, via New York Times