Trump federal indictment gives some insight into Georgia election probe

The indictment of former President Donald Trump on Tuesday for his efforts to overturn his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat may give some insight into the Georgia Election Probe.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began investigating more than two years ago, shortly after a recording was released of a January 2021 phone call Trump made to Georgia’s secretary of state.

Willis has strongly hinted that any indictment would come between July 31 and August 18. One of two grand juries seated July 11 is expected to hear the case.

If Trump is indicted by a Georgia grand jury, it would add to a growing list of legal troubles as he campaigns for president.

Details of the Georgia investigation that have become public have fed speculation that Willis is building a case under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which would allow her to charge numerous people in a potentially wide-ranging scheme.


Former U.S. President Donald Trump enters Erie Insurance Arena for a political rally while campaigning for the GOP nomination in the 2024 election on July 29, 2023 in Erie, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The investigation has focused on Trump’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s so-called fake electors, false claims of election fraud, allegations election workers were pressured, election equipment being accessed, and the former U.S. Attorney’s resignation.

Georgia is featured prominently in Tuesday’s indictment. There are 48 mentions of the state in the document that prosecutors say contributed to Trump's alleged conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

The federal indictment of Donald Trump on Tuesday marks the first time that the former president has been formally held accountable for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat. And it adds new details to what was already known about his actions, and those of his key allies, in the weeks leading up to the violent Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

The newest charges — Trump’s third criminal indictment this year — include conspiracy to defraud the United States government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, the congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. It describes how Trump repeatedly told supporters and others that he had won the election, despite knowing that was false, and how he tried to persuade state officials, his own vice president and finally Congress to overturn the legitimate results.

Due to the "dishonesty, fraud and deceit" by Trump and some of his closest allies, the indictment says, his supporters "violently attacked the Capitol and halted the proceeding." In the attack, his supporters beat and injured police officers and broke through windows and doors, sending lawmakers running for their lives.


As Trump schemed to overturn the 2020 election, many of his aides and allies were under no illusion that Trump — a longtime provocateur — had actually won.

Some aides directly refuted conspiracy theories stirred by Trump and his lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Others told him point blank he had lost.

But Trump continued to tell "prolific lies," the indictment says, about the outcome of the election, even after being warned of his false statements by top government officials — citing thousands of dead voters in Georgia, an overcount in Pennsylvania and tens of thousands of noncitizen voters in Arizona. Those theories had been disputed by state and federal officials and even his own staff.

At the same time, Trump privately acknowledged his loss. After the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged Trump to not take action on a national security issue, Trump agreed, according to the indictment.

All the while, he repeatedly tweeted and encouraged his supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6.

Early on, Trump’s team orchestrated a scheme to enlist officials in seven states he had lost — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin — to have them submit alternate election certificates saying he had actually won when Congress met to certify the vote Jan. 6.

The conspirators told most of the local officials that the certificates they were signing saying Trump won the election in their states would only be used if the court cases being waged over the election results showed that outcome.

But prosecutors allege that’s not true.

What started as a legal strategy quickly "evolved" into "a corrupt plan" to stop Biden’s count on Jan. 6, the indictment said.

Told by a colleague what was going on, Trump’s deputy campaign manager called it a "crazy play." They refused to put their names on a statement about it, because none of them could "stand by it."

The indictment alleges Trump enlisted six people to help him try to overturn the 2020 election. The six people are not explicitly named, but the indictment includes details that make it possible to identify some of them.

As "Co-Conspirator 1" and "Co-Conspirator 2," lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman are quoted from their remarks at the "Stop the Steal" rally prior to the riot urging Pence to throw out the votes of valid electors.


A third lawyer, Sidney Powell, named as "Co-Conspirator 3," filed a lawsuit in Georgia that amplified false or unsupported claims of election fraud. The indictment quotes Trump as privately conceding Powell’s claims sounded "crazy."

Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official who championed Trump’s false claims of election fraud, is described as "Co-Conspirator 4."

"Co-Conspirator 5" is lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, who the indictment says "assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding."

"Co-Conspirator 6" is an unknown political consultant who also assisted with the fake electors plan.

There are no known charges against the listed co-conspirators.

Giuliani aide Ted Goodman said in a statement that "every fact" the former New York City mayor had "establishes the good faith basis President Donald Trump had for the actions he took during the two-month period charged in the indictment." Eastman lawyer Harvey Silverglate said his client denied any wrongdoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report