A new report published on Tuesday suggests that former President Donald Trump could face additional federal charges as special counsel Jack Smith continues to widen his probe into post-2020 election fundraising efforts.
According to CNN, Smith is said to be focusing on millions of dollars raised by Trump and his surrogates to investigate allegations of vote and ballot fraud.
“Questions asked of two recent witnesses indicate Smith is focusing on how money raised off baseless claims of voter fraud was used to fund attempts to breach voting equipment in several states won by Joe Biden, according to multiple sources familiar with the ongoing investigation,” the outlet reported. “In both interviews, prosecutors have focused their questions on the role of former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell.”
Invoices reviewed by CNN note that Defending the Republic, a non-profit group founded by Powell, who is a former federal prosecutor, “hired forensics firms that ultimately accessed voting equipment in four swing states won by Biden: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona.” It’s not clear from the report if Powell’s organization illegally accessed the machines or if the machines were voluntarily made available to her group for inspection.
But Powell is one of 19 people indicted by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, “who alleges that Powell helped coordinate and fund a multi-state plot to illegally access voting systems after the 2020 election,” CNN noted, adding:
New details about Smith’s ongoing investigation indicate federal prosecutors are scrutinizing a series of voting breaches following the 2020 election that state investigators have been probing for more than a year.
Exactly how this recent line of inquiry fits into Smith’s ongoing criminal investigation remains unclear. Smith’s grand jury in Washington, DC, is set to expire on Sept. 15 but it can be extended beyond then.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment.
Should Smith come to the conclusion that he has enough evidence, he could lodge new charges against the former president, Powell, and other surrogates who had a hand in attempting to root out alleged ballot fraud during the 2020 election.
A growing number of legal experts on the left and right. meanwhile, are coming to Trump’s defense after Smith filed felony charges against the former president over alleged actions stemming from the Capitol riot.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Georgetown Law School professor Jonathan Turley suggested that the Biden administration’s ongoing persecution of Trump is wearing thin with a sizeable portion of the American public that increasingly sees the cases as entirely political.
“This is a free speech-killing indictment. There’s no way around it. I write a great deal in academia in the free-speech area, and I have rarely seen a more chilling filing by the Department of Justice,” Turley said.
“The question that people have to ask themselves is, when is the price too high? People are enraged, but what is the price too high to bag Donald Trump? This indictment is a prohibitive cost. Meaning what they are attempting to do is criminalize what they consider to be disinformation,” he added. “This is a speaking indictment but it doesn’t say very much. It just says that we think Trump is lying and that he didn’t believe this. I can’t tell you how faciously ridiculous this claim is.”
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz also dropped a bombshell during an interview earlier this month, telling Fox Business Network host and former Trump administration economic adviser Larry Kudlow that Smith is leaving himself open to prosecution.
“You know the worst thing about this indictment, under the terms of this indictment, Jack Smith can be indicted. Let me explain to you why,” Dershowitz said. “The statute says the following, two or more persons conspire to injure and deny somebody the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured him by the Constitution.
“What if a court ultimately ruled that Donald Trump had a right under the First Amendment to make his Jan. 6 speech and to do what he did? Then Jack Smith will have conspired to deny him of that right. That’s how serious this is,” Dershowitz said.