Will Donald Trump be indicted for election fraud?


It appears there’s no legal respite for Donald Trump. The troubles keep mounting and on Thursday, the former United States president’s legal pains became more acute after Georgia Judge C I McBurney released five pages of the report from the investigation against Donald Trump’s alleged interference in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

Not too much was revealed in the five pages of the report that was released, but a former federal prosecutor, as per a report in Slate, said that the tea leaves are there to read, and they say that indictments are coming.

But what was this matter all about? Why was a grand jury called in for investigation? Who is being investigated and why? Confused all about it? We have the answers for you.

What did the Georgia grand jury find?

There was no widespread voter fraud in Georgia 2020 — the special grand jury unanimously agreed on in their report. This totally rejects Trump’s conspiracy theories that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and the election was stolen from him.

The grand jury, as per a CNN report, said, “The Grand Jury heard extensive testimony on the subject of alleged election fraud from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and State of Georgia employees and officials, as well as from persons still claiming that such fraud took place.

“We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.”

The grand jury has also said that it believes that several witnesses lied under oath during its investigation. In their report, they wrote, “A majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it. The Grand Jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”

The conclusions on the fraud matter is significant as it establishes that Trump was indeed trying to overturn the results of a legitimate election. Moreover, he fuelled conspiracy theories. This could factor into whether he along with his allies should be indicted with crimes related to the 2020 election.

How did Trump react?

Trump, who was not subpoenaed and didn’t testify before the Georgia Grand Jury, had a very different reaction to the released parts of the report.

On his Truth Social platform, the former US president said, “Thank you to the Special Grand Jury in the Great State of Georgia for your Patriotism & Courage. Total exoneration. The USA is very proud of you!”

His spokesperson in a statement further stated that Trump had committed no violation and that he “did no wrong”. “The president participated in two perfect phone calls regarding election integrity in Georgia, which he is entitled to do – in fact, as president, it was President Trump’s Constitutional duty to ensure election safety, security, and integrity,” the statement read.

The reference to the phone call is Trump’s infamous call on 2 January 2021 to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger. In the taped conversation, Trump said he needed Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” for him. This number was the exact amount of votes that Trump needed to win against Joe Biden.

Liz Harrington, a Trump spokesperson, also reacting to the findings, wrote on Twitter, “LOL”.

The decision to indict Donald Trump lies in the hands of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. AP

What does this mean for Trump?

The question everyone is now asking is what this means for Donald Trump. Is he facing indictments? The short-term answer is not necessarily. This is because the Special Grand Jury is not empowered to issue indictments, only make recommendations.

The decision now rests with Fani Willis, a Democrat, serving in her first term as the Fulton county district attorney.

Slate reports that indictments for Trump’s allies is likely. This is because if the grand jurors have said in their report that witnesses lied, they had a lot information about violations committed by their targets whom the lying witnesses were protecting. People generally lie to cover up misconduct and grand juries typically will not target the perjury without targeting the underlying misconduct as well.

Also read: Could probe against Donald Trump disqualify him from running for US president in 2024?

If Willis does go ahead, Trump appears to be at risk of prosecution for both election and non-election crimes. The Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, said that Trump could face charges including solicitation to commit election fraud, intentional interference with performance of election duties, interference with primaries and elections, and conspiracy to commit election fraud.

The think tank additionally said that Trump and his allies may be criminally liable for making false statements, improperly influencing government officials, forgery in the first degree, and criminal solicitation.

These charges or even the spectre of these charges hovering on Trump could hurt his chances for the 2024 presidential election. In fact, the matter could turn off some of Trump’s deep-pocketed donors, making his campaign more difficult.

Why was this special grand jury called?

In 2020 during the presidential election, Trump and his allies repeatedly called for an overturn of the results in Atlanta, which is in Fulton county.

This includes Trump’s call to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in which he said: “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”

In May of last year, Willis called for a special grand jury to investigate possible efforts to disrupt the 2020 elections in Georgia and to recommend whether anyone should be criminally prosecuted.

Twenty-six members, including three alternates — operated behind closed doors over the past several months — hearing testimonies on the matter from various people, including Trump’s attorney Rudolph Giuliani, Senator Lindsey Graham, former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and National Security advisor Michael Flynn.

They also reviewed physical and digital evidence, as well as the testimony from investigators and the input of team of assistant district attorneys who outlined for the grand jury the applicable statutes and procedures.

Now, all eyes turn to Fani Willis and what she does next. But, the road to 2024 for Trump seems rocky right now.

With inputs from agencies

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Will Donald Trump be indicted for election fraud?
Will Donald Trump be indicted for election fraud?
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