Trump About to be Indicted – Report; Two Possible U.S. Charges, But Georgia May Join
Donald Trump About to be Indicted
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 31, 2022) – “GOP Bracing For Trump Indictment Soon After Election Day,” says THE HILL.
It reports that “Republican aides and strategists privately expect Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue an indictment of former President Trump within 60 to 90 days after Election Day, predicting the window for prosecuting Trump will close once the 2024 presidential campaign gains momentum…
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A couple of weeks after the election, I assume that Garland will indict Trump,” said one veteran Republican aide, expressing a sentiment shared by several other GOP aides and strategists.”
As THE HILL notes, “There are actually two different investigatory probes that could lead to indictments of Trump. One is related to the documents taken from the White House and found at Mar-a-Lago, while the other concerns the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.”
But, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, the same pressures to indict, and the same pressures to wait until after the coming elections, also apply to Fulton County DA Fani Willis, So it is possible, if not likely, that she will be the first to indict the former president, predicts Banzhaf, whose formal legal complaint led to the current criminal investigation of Trump in Georgia.
It’s also possible, he notes, that indictments from both will occur at about the same time – providing double the trouble for Trump, and undercutting the arguments that the President is simply going after his most likely challenger.
“An Atlanta-area prosecutor’s investigation into former President Trump’s effort to overturn his 2020 electoral defeat in Georgia poses the most significant legal threat to the former president, legal experts say,” THE HILL reported earlier.
“The steps her office has taken, including empaneling a special grand jury and subpoenaing high-profile witnesses, are very likely not steps she would have taken if she did not feel there was at least a significant possibility that she will move forward with charges,” said one expert.
He added that “the stakes in holding Trump accountable for an attack on our democratic system of government couldn’t be higher, and the evidence is extremely compelling.”
Professor Banzhaf has also cited many additional reasons, including the predictions of many experts that Fulton County DC Fani Willis will be the first to indict Donald Trump.
As the law professor previously noted, the special grand jury investigating Trump and others regarding criminal interference in the 2020 elections has persuaded a judge to issue subpoenas to compel the testimony under oath of many close collaborators in the alleged criminal schemes, indicating that prosecutors are getting closer to Trump and to his own criminal involvement.
This is still another indication that Fulton County, Georgia DA Fani Willis may be the first prosecutor to indict Trump, suggests Banzhaf, whose criminal complaint triggered her investigation, and who also played a role in obtaining special prosecutors for former president Richard Nixon, and finally bringing former Vice President Spiro Agnew to justice.
Banzhaf notes that Willis has already officially reported that evidence gathered earlier, including that filed with her office by the law professor, indicated “a reasonable probability that the State of Georgia’s administration of elections in 2020, including the State’s election of the President of the United States, was subject to possible criminal disruptions.”
Previously Willis had promised that “anyone who violates the law will be prosecuted, no matter what their social status is. No matter what their economics are, no matter what their race or gender is.
We are not going to treat anyone differently.” She has also announced that the grant jury plans to issue additional subpoenas to people in Trump’s “inner circle,” and that she hasn’t ruled out even issuing one to Trump.
Banzhaf recently filed additional evidence and analysis with Willis which might help strengthen what appears to be an already strong criminal case against Trump.
Others agree. For example, Laurence Tribe, professor emeritus of constitutional law at Harvard University, wrote “It wouldn’t surprise me for Georgia to become the first jurisdiction to indict a former president on felony charges. , , , And I think the charges will stick.”
“The most serious prospect of prosecution” that Trump faces is in Fulton County, Georgia, reported the New York Times recently in an Op-Ed by two experienced prosecutors (one Democrat and one Republican); a conclusion reinforcing an earlier 100-page analysis by seven legal experts who concluded that the former president faces a “substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.”
As the two former prosecutors concluded, DA Fani “Willis’s work may present the most serious prospect of prosecution that Mr. Trump and his enablers are facing. . . . She has a demonstrated record of courage and of conviction.
She has taken on — and convicted — a politically powerful group, Atlanta’s teachers, as the lead prosecutor in the city’s teacher cheating scandal. And she is playing with a strong hand in this investigation. The evidentiary record of Mr. Trump’s post-election efforts in Georgia is compelling.”
The piece also noted that, important as congressional investigations are, Willis’s work may present the most serious prospect of prosecution that Trump and his enablers are facing.
After all, she has a statute at her disposal seemingly meant for this very purpose and fitting these very facts. As the New York Times piece explains:
“What’s more, Georgia criminal law is some of the most favorable in the country for getting at Mr. Trump’s alleged misconduct. For example, there is a Georgia law on the books expressly forbidding just what Mr. Trump apparently did in Ms. Willis’s jurisdiction: solicitation of election fraud.
Under this statute [ GA Code § 21-2-604], a person commits criminal solicitation of election fraud when he or she intentionally ‘solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause’ another person to engage in election fraud.”
Banzhaf’s complaint to Willis also charged Trump with violating two additional criminal statutes: GA Code § 21-2-603 – Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud, and also GA Code § 21-2-597 – Intentional Interference With Performance of Election Duties.
In addition, Willis plans to use Georgia’s RICO – its Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – in any prosecution of Trump.
Banzhaf, who is familiar with the federal RICO statute since he produced the memo which led to the federal government’s successful RICO prosecution against the major tobacco companies, points out that the Georgia RICO statute is even more powerful and far reaching than the federal one.
Among other things, it defines racketeering more broadly than the federal law does, takes less to prove a pattern of racketeering activity, and does not always require the existence of an “enterprise” – especially an illegal or criminal enterprise – to constitute racketeering. Indeed, Willis successfully used RICO to prosecute a teacher-cheating case at a school.
Also, notes Banzhaf, although RICO requires at least two independent illegal racketeering activities – “predicate acts” – to prove a pattern of corruption by Trump and his alleged co-conspirators, making false statements such as Trump and some of his allies are alleged to have made would more than satisfy Georgia’s RICO law.
Racketeering, which is a felony in Georgia, can carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison, a hefty fine, and disgorgements of ill-gotten gains. Most felons in Georgia convicted of racketeering offenses do serve time in prison.