Based on the allegations by Fani Willis, District Attorney for Fulton County, Ga., a Grand Jury has indicted former president Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants for “a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”
This 98-page booklet reprints the charging document. With a table of contents to help navigate, it’s still a dense read. In a nutshell, it sets forth how this sprawling criminal conspiracy tried to return Trump to the White House illegally, and makes Watergate look like a nursery school tantrum.
The indictment’s three components are:
- Section 1: Administrative information.
- Section 2: Count No. 1, including 161 Acts.
- Section 3: Counts Nos. 2 through 41.
SECTION 1 (pages 1-12) names the 19 defendants, itemizes the Counts for each, gives the title and legal reference for each of the 41 Counts, names the members of the Grand Jury, and includes a Table of Contents.
SECTION 2 (pages 13-71) is focused solely on Count No. 1, charging Trump and 18 co-defendants with a conspiracy to violate the State of Georgia’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law. It includes a one-paragraph description of the conspiracy (aka “The Enterprise”); eight paragraphs outlining “the manner and methods of The Enterprise”; and the 161 “Acts of Racketeering Activity and Overt Acts in Furtherance of the Conspiracy.”
Count No. 1 — violating Georgia’s RICO law — applies to Trump, his closest associates, and all the other defendants. Each of the accompanying 161 Acts describes how the 19 defendants participated in “The Enterprise.” (Note: although an overt Act may not itself be criminal, it is considered as being “in furtherance of the conspiracy.”)
SECTION 3 (pages 72-98) contains Counts 2-41, the remainder of the indictment. Along with his alleged RICO violation, Trump is charged with 12 more Counts, as is his attorney, William Rudolph Louis Giuliani. In contrast, Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, and attorney Jenna Ellis are charged with two Counts. The 15 other co-defendants are charged with varying numbers of Counts.
As alleged in the indictment, the conspiracy commenced on Nov. 4, 2020, when “Donald John Trump made a nationally televised speech falsely declaring victory in the 2020 presidential election” (overt Act No. 1) and concluded on Sept. 15, 2022 — almost two years later! — when Georgia lawyer Robert Cheeley “committed the felony offense of perjury” (overt Act No. 161). The 22 months in between witnessed an astonishing number of meetings, phone calls, emails, texts, voicemails, memorandums, statements, letters, presentations, conversations, assemblies, solicitations, falsehoods, threats, and that Capitol insurrection.
The 161 Acts describe exactly how Trump and 18 associates turned into conspirators under Georgia’s RICO statute. Highlights — lowlights if you will — include:
- ACT No. 56: On Dec. 10, 2020, Giuliani made six false statements to “members of the Georgia House of Representatives present at a House Governmental Affairs Committee meeting,” including this: “Between 12,000 and 24,000 ballots were illegally counted by Fulton County election workers at State Farm Arena on November 3, 2020.”
- ACT No. 90: On Dec. 18, 2020, Trump, Giuliani, attorney Sidney Powell, “unindicted co-conspirator Individual 20, and others” met at the White House to discuss “certain strategies and theories intended to influence the outcome of the Nov. 3, 2020, election,” including “seizing voting machines and appointing Powell as special counsel with broad powers to investigate allegations of voter fraud in Georgia and elsewhere.”
- ACT No. 97: On Dec. 27, 2020, Trump asked Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue “to make a false statement by stating, ‘Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.’”
- ACT No. 111: On Jan. 2, 2021, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark asked Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue to sign a document that “falsely stated the U.S. Department of Justice had ‘identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.’” This falsehood was to be sent to Georgia’s governor, speaker of the House, and president pro tem of the Senate, but Rosen and Donoghue refused.
- ACT No. 112: By telephone on Jan. 2, 2021, Trump and Meadows tried to pressure Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger into agreeing to “find 11,780 votes,” but he refused. (Note: millions subsequently listened to this recorded call.)
- ACT No. 130: On Jan. 5, 2021, Trump told Vice President Mike Pence that “Pence had the power to decertify the Nov. 3, 2020, election.” When Pence disagreed, Trump called him “naive, implied he lacked courage, and stated that Pence was doing ‘a great disservice.’”
These are only six of the overt Acts; there are 155 more.
It would be negligent not to mention two shabby incidents covered in the indictment. First was the pressure put on Atlanta election worker Ruby Freeman to alter her testimony to prove she corrupted the vote count at State Farm Arena. This failed and resulted in indictments for Stephen Lee (Lutheran pastor from Illinois and former cop), Harrison Floyd (former martial arts fighter), Trevian Kutti (former publicist for rapper Kanye West), and Robert Cheeley (Georgia lawyer).
Second was the foray into the Coffee County, Ga., election office to engage in an “unlawful breach of election equipment” and to “tamper with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines,” constituting computer trespass and computer theft. This caper involved attorney Powell, Cathleen Latham (former GOP chair for Coffee County), Scott Hall (Atlanta bail bondsman), and Misty Hampton (former election director in Coffee County), plus several unindicted co-conspirators.
The United States will be forced to deal for years with the residual consequences of electing Donald Trump to the White House. It’s our nation’s grave, self-inflicted wound. The federal and state trials pending in Georgia, Washington D.C., New York, and Florida will be part of this reckoning.
With Meadows and other defendants presently trying to have their cases transferred to a federal court, the cast of characters in this indictment is likely to change. No matter. In whatever ways this complicated legal and political situation morphs and is rejiggered from now on, Fani Willis’s historic indictment will forever serve to describe the full scope of Trump’s depravity.
Gren Whitman has been a leader in neighborhood, umbrella, public interest, and political groups and committees, and worked for civil rights and anti-war organizations. He is now retired and lives in Rock Hall, MD.