Grand jurors in Georgia returned 13 indictments against Donald Trump on 14 August. They relate to allegations that the former US president pressured officials to overturn current president Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in the state. However, the decision led Trump supporters to make death threats against some of the jurors.
Trump faces four sets of charges
Following a two-year investigation, prosecutor Fani Willis filed 13 felony charges against Trump on 14 August. Felonies are the most serious type of crime in US law. The charges include those under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The RICO Act is usually levied against organised crime groups.
Willis also charged Trump with six conspiracy counts over alleged efforts to commit forgery, impersonate a public official, and submit false statements and documents.
Trump wasn’t the only person charged. Eighteen other people were named including his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who once presented himself as a champion of RICO.
Trump’s charges in Georgia join three other sets of charges filed against the former president. On 2 August, prosecutors filed federal charges against Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election results.
Earlier, in June, Trump was handed seven charges related to the mishandling of classified documents. And in March, a New York grand jury voted to indict Trump on 34 counts after allegations he paid ‘hush money’ to Stormy Daniels over an affair.
State prosecutors have asked for Trump’s case in Georgia to begin on 4 March 2024. This would place it a day before Super Tuesday, when over a dozen states vote in the Republican primaries. It’s also eight days before Georgia’s own primaries vote. The first hearing would take place on 5 September 2023.
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Meanwhile, the federal case against Trump is pencilled in to begin on 2 January 2024, though Trump’s lawyers are pushing for an April 2026 date. The Stormy Daniels case will begin in May 2024.
Georgia’s law system is less strict than the federal and New York systems. As a result, it’s possible news stations will televise Georgia’s case against the former president from the first hearing onwards.
Trump has used his Truth Social social media platform to argue against the slate of charges. Following Georgia’s indictment of him, Trump posted:
THOSE WHO RIGGED & STOLE THE ELECTION WERE THE ONES DOING THE TAMPERING, & THEY ARE THE SLIME THAT SHOULD BE PROSECUTED
Meanwhile, he responded to federal charges against him with a similarly worded post:
These Fake Indictments against me didn’t come down from heaven, they came from the most corrupt President in the history of the United States, Crooked Joe Biden, in order to Rig & Steal another Election
However, Trump’s supporters have taken more serious action against those involved in cases against him.
Texas police arrested Abigail Jo Shry on 16 August after she threatened the life of judge Tanya Chutkan, who will oversee the federal case against Trump. According to the charges against her, Shry is alleged to have left a voicemail at Chutkan’s offices with racially-charged insults. She also allegedly stated “You are in our sights, we want to kill you”.
Shry further threatened Chutkan’s family, as well as anyone involved in Trump’s prosecution, specifically naming Black lawmaker Sheila Jackson Lee.
People have also made similar threats against grand jurors in Georgia. Police said on 17 August that they are investigating after the personal details of 23 jurors and three alternates were published. The details included images and home addresses. In many US states such details are kept secret, but for Georgia such transparency is standard procedure.
2024 presidential bid
When prosecutors filed federal charges against Trump, they made him the first standing or former US president to face criminal charges. Despite this and the three other indictments against him, the real estate tycoon is continuing with his 2024 presidential election bid.
Trump claimed the charges against him were part of a plot by Biden to disrupt his election campaign. However, he has also attempted to use the legal cases against him to his advantage. He claimed the charges have increased his popularity, and used them to appeal for donations.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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