A report published on Friday spells a new round of legal trouble for former President Donald Trump. According to The Guardian, prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., are preparing to charge Trump under racketeering statutes.
“The Fulton county district attorney investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state of Georgia has developed evidence to charge a sprawling racketeering indictment next month, according to two people briefed on the matter,” the outlet reported.
“The racketeering statute in Georgia requires prosecutors to show the existence of an ‘enterprise’ – and a pattern of racketeering activity that is predicated on at least two ‘qualifying’ crimes,” the report continued.
“In the Trump investigation, the Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, has evidence to pursue a racketeering indictment predicated on statutes related to influencing witnesses and computer trespass, the people said,” the outlet noted further.
Earlier, Willis had mentioned that she was considering racketeering charges in her ongoing criminal investigation. Fresh information has now emerged, the report said, shedding light on the specific direction and extent of the case.
The development comes as prosecutors gear up to pursue other indictments during the first two weeks in August.
The report noted further:
The racketeering statute in Georgia is more expansive than its federal counterpart, notably because any attempts to solicit or coerce the qualifying crimes can be included as predicate acts of racketeering activity, even when those crimes cannot be indicted separately.
The specific evidence was not clear, though the charge regarding influencing witnesses could include Trump’s conversations with Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, in which he asked Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, the people said – and thereby implicate Trump.
According to two individuals familiar with the matter, for the computer trespass charge to be established, prosecutors will need to demonstrate that the defendants illicitly accessed a computer or network without proper authorization to disrupt a program or manipulate data. In this context, the charge would encompass the breach of voting machines in Coffee County, the people said.
A group of Trump operatives, allegedly compensated by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, was implicated in the breach of voting machines at the county’s election office. They accessed the machines and duplicated sensitive voting system data during the incident, the report added.
The data copied from the Dominion Voting Systems machines, which are utilized throughout Georgia, was subsequently uploaded to a password-protected website. From there, election deniers could access and download the materials as part of their misguided endeavor to substantiate claims that the 2020 election had been rigged, The Guardian reported.
“Though Coffee County is outside the usual jurisdiction of the Fulton County district attorney’s office, the racketeering statute would allow prosecutors to also charge what the Trump operatives did there by showing it was all aimed towards the goal of corruptly keeping Trump in office,” said the outlet.
Earlier this week, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected an effort from Trump to stop a criminal investigation into allegations that he tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the Peach State.
Trump’s legal team attempted to bar Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the investigation and to “quash the Special Purpose Grand Jury’s report and to bar the use of its contents in any future proceedings, whether civil or criminal,” said the high court.
“And, with regard to Petitioner’s request to disqualify Willis from representing any party in any and all proceedings involving him, we note only that Petitioner has not presented in his original petition either the facts or the law necessary to mandate Willis’s disqualification by this Court at this time on this record,” the justices said. “For these additional reasons, Petitioner has not shown that this case presents one of those extremely rare circumstances in which this Court’s original jurisdiction should be invoked, and therefore, the petition is dismissed.”