Former President Donald Trump indicted for fourth time

Former President Donald Trump was indicted for a fourth time Monday as a grand jury investigating whether he and 18 other defendants named in the 98-page indictment illegally interfered in the 2020 election in Georgia. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | Former President Donald Trump was indicted for a fourth time Monday as a grand jury investigating whether he and 18 other defendants named in the 98-page indictment illegally interfered in the 2020 election in Georgia. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Former President Donald Trump was indicted for a fourth time Monday by a grand jury investigating whether he and 18 other defendants named in the 98-page indictment, illegally interfered in the 2020 election in Georgia.

The indictment names a total of 19 defendants, including Trump, his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump's lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.


"Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held Nov. 3, 2020," the indictment reads. "One of the states he lost was Georgia. Trump and the other defendants charged in this indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump. That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Ga., elsewhere in the state of Georgia and in other states."


The charges were unsealed just before 11p.m. EDT Monday about two hours after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said, "That's it," as he signed off on the documents.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told reporters shortly afterward that the defendants will have until noon Aug. 25 to voluntarily surrender or face arrest.

"As is the normal process in Georgia law, the grand jury issued arrest warrants for those who are charged," she said, reminding reporters that the indictment is only a "series of allegations based on a grand jury's determination of probable cause to support the charges."

The others charged are: 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, Cathy Latham, Scott Hall and Misty Hampton.

"Each individual charged in the indictment is charged with one count of violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization's Act through participation in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Ga., and elsewhere to accomplish the illegal goal of allowing Donald J. Trump to seize the presidential term of office beginning on Jan. 20, 2021," Willis said.


"All elections in our nation are administered by the states, which are given the responsibility of ensuring a fair process and an accurate counting of the votes," Willis added. "The states' role in this process is essential to the functioning of our democracy."

"The indictment alleges that rather than abide by Georgia's legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia's presidential election result," she said.

Trump, who is the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2024, has been indicted in three other cases this year.

In Monday's indictment, Trump is facing a total 13 counts out of the 41 against the defendants. The filing also notes there are 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

The indictment charges Trump with violating the Georgia RICO Act; three counts of solicitation of violation of oath by public officer; conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer; conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree; conspiracy to commit false statements and writings; two counts of conspiracy to commit filing false documents; conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree; two counts of false statements and writings; and filing false documents.

The Trump campaign released a statement Monday night shortly before the latest indictment was unsealed, accusing prosecutors of election interference.


"These activities by Democrat leaders constitute a grave threat to American democracy and are direct attempts to deprive the American people of their rightful choice to cast their vote for president," Trump's campaign wrote. "Call it election interference or election manipulation -- it is a dangerous effort by the ruling class to suppress the choice of the people. It is un-American and wrong."

The charges brought by Willis come after an investigation that started in 2021. At the center of the probe is a recorded phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump asked Raffensperger to "find" votes to swing the election results in his favor.

A Fulton County grand jury has since probed Trump's alleged attempt to undermine or overturn the results of the election. This effort included calling certified electors into question and applying pressure on election officials, including Raffensperger.

Several Trump loyalists testified to the grand jury, including Meadows, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Giuliani, who on Monday called the indictment "unjust."

Last month, a court filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia revealed that Giuliani admitted to lying about two election workers in Atlanta: Ruby Freeman and Wandrea Moss. Giuliani had claimed that the two had manipulated ballots to swing the results of the election in favor of President Joe Biden.


Former state Rep. Bee Nguyen confirmed her grand jury appearance in a statement released Monday.

"We all have a duty to preserve our democracy," she wrote. "We owe this duty to the great individuals that fought and sacrificed to create and pass down this democracy to us, and we owe this duty to future generations that cannot pick up the mantle yet."

In the meantime, Trump blasted the proceedings in a series of social media posts Monday.

"No, I didn't tamper with the election! Those who rigged & stole the election were the ones doing the tampering, & they are the slime that should be prosecuted," Trump wrote in a post in all caps on Truth Social.

"I made a perfect phone call of protest. Why wasn't this fake case brought 2.5 years ago? Election interference!" Trump added.

The state case has proceeded alongside a federal one, headed by special counsel Jack Smith. On Aug. 1, Trump was indicted in Washington on charges related to his efforts to subvert the election results, culminating in the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He pleaded not guilty to the four counts in that case: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.


Trump also dispatched his own electors to states where he challenged the results of the election. The uncertified electors meant to disregard legitimate electoral votes for Biden and deliver their own votes to Congress.

The "fake" electors in Georgia have since reached a plea agreement to avoid state charges.

While Willis assembled her case against Trump, the former president mounted an attempt to block the investigation. On July 17, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected Trump's latest attempt to halt the investigation, deciding that he has not shown the type of extraordinary circumstances that would warrant the court stepping in.

In May, Trump tried to have Willis dismissed from the investigation, arguing that his due process rights had been violated by a "tainted grand jury process." The maneuver also failed to yield the result Trump was seeking.

Willis in April asked the Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat to coordinate an increased security presence ahead of the indictment.

"Open-source intelligence has indicated the announcement of decisions in this case may provoke a significant public reaction," Willis wrote. "We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will endanger the safety of our community."


Trump's growing legal crises include a New York indictment on charges related to the payment of hush money to adult film start Stormy Daniels and another federal case in Florida alleging he mishandled classified documents at his Palm Beach estate after leaving office.

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