Reports indicate Georgia prosecutor pursuing racketeering conspiracy charges against Trump over 2020 election disputes

July 23, 2023
Ben Marquis

There has been growing speculation that former President Donald Trump will soon be criminally indicted by Georgia's Democratic Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for alleged crimes that occurred in the aftermath of the disputed 2020 presidential election.

Reports indicate that Willis, who has been investigating Trump since early 2021, intends to charge Trump under Georgia's racketeering statutes for his role in an alleged vast criminal conspiracy, according to the Conservative Brief.

If the reports are accurate, the Democratic district attorney could unveil a sweeping criminal indictment against the former Republican president as soon as late July or early August.

DA pursuing racketeering charges against Trump

The Guardian reported this week that DA Willis intends to use Georgia's anti-racketeering laws to go after former President Trump and his associates over their efforts to dispute and purportedly overturn the 2020 election results in that state and elsewhere, per unnamed sources.

Under the state's racketeering statutes, Willis must prove the existence of a criminal "enterprise" by way of establishing a "pattern" of racketeering activity based on two or more "qualifying" crimes which, in this case, could include improperly influencing witnesses and computer trespass.

The influencing witnesses charge would likely be in relation to Trump's infamous Jan. 2, 2021 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump asserted widespread ballot fraud and expressed his desire to "find" the exact number of ballots necessary to overcome the reported margin of victory by President Joe Biden that he wholeheartedly disputed.

As for the computer trespass charge, that is likely in relation to allegations that operatives working on behalf of Trump improperly accessed and obtained data from voting machines in Coffee County as part of their search for evidence of alleged election fraud.

Nationwide search for evidence to support charges

The Guardian noted that Coffee County is obviously outside the normal jurisdiction of the Fulton County DA, but the state's racketeering laws allow prosecutors to go outside of their normal jurisdiction in order to establish the aforementioned "pattern" of alleged criminal activity that is necessary to build a racketeering case.

Indeed, The Washington Post reported in June that Georgia's racketeering law even allows prosecutors to venture outside of the state in search of evidence to fit the pattern, and that is exactly what DA Willis has been doing over the past few months.

Willis is reportedly probing activities and incidents that occurred in Washington D.C. and several other states, particularly those where former President Trump and his associates mounted concerted challenges against the reported election results, for evidence of any crimes that might fit her case, and while she will most likely not be able to actually charge anybody for those alleged crimes she will be able to cite them as part of the pattern of criminal behavior.

An "ambitious" prosecution that is not guaranteed to succeed

John Malcolm, a former federal prosecutor in Atlanta who now works for the conservative Heritage Foundation, told The Post at that time, "Georgia’s RICO statute is basically two specified criminal acts that have to be part of a pattern of behavior done with the same intent or to achieve a common result or that have distinguishing characteristics."

"That’s it. It’s very broad. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to charge a former president, but that also doesn’t mean she can’t do it or won’t do it," he added in reference to DA Willis.

However, just because the county prosecutor apparently has free reign to conduct a nationwide investigation to support the racketeering case she has been building, that by no means suggests that this is a slam-dunk case against the former president, as even the Trump-hating Post acknowledged that Willis was leading an "ambitious" prosecutorial effort that is far from guaranteed to succeed.

The major problem here is that many of the activities and behaviors by Trump and his associates that Willis is scrutinizing as potential crimes are in fact perfectly lawful activities and behaviors following a disputed election or are protected free speech under the First Amendment -- all of which she is seeking to dangerously criminalize as part of a politically motivated effort to criminally prosecute a former president that she disagrees with.

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