(LifeSiteNews) — A Georgia grand jury formally indicted former U.S. President Donald Trump Monday night, just hours after the court sparked confusion and outrage after posting and then abruptly deleting a litany of charges apparently filed against him.
The Fulton County grand jury turned in its 98-page indictment late Monday night, charging Trump and 18 allies with 41 counts in connection with Trump’s alleged attempts to pressure Georgia officials into tilting the 2020 election results in his favor – a claim his supporters have argued is inaccurate, and that Trump simply sought to identify and toss out illegal ballots.
Prosecutors utilized a racketeering statute which the Associated Press noted is “normally associated with mobsters” to bring the charges.
In a news conference late Monday night, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the “indictment alleges that rather than abide by Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result.”
In addition to Trump, the other individuals charged in the indictment are: Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Ken Chesebro, Jeffrey Clark, Ray Stallings Smith III, Robert Cheeley, Mike Roman, David Shafer, Shawn Micah Tresher Still, Stephen Lee, Harrison Floyd, Trevian Kutti, Cathleen Latham, Scott Hall, and Misty Hampton.
Trump and his associates are reportedly expected to voluntarily surrender by noon on August 25.
Willis has said she intends to try the defendants as a group, and is looking to set a trial date in just six months – however, NBC pointed out that “other cases in the same jurisdiction that involved violations of the state’s racketeering law have taken much longer to go [to] trial.”
The move to indict Trump and his allies came just hours after a widely-publicized snafu in which the Fulton County Court published and quickly retracted a document seemingly listing myriad charges against Trump, LifeSiteNews previously reported. Dated August 14, the document included a case number and listed 12 felony charges, including “solicitation of violation of oath by public officer,” “conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree,” and racketeering.
In a scathing statement, Trump’s legal team argued the publication of the document “was not a simple administrative mistake” but was, in actuality, “emblematic of the pervasive and glaring constitutional violations which have plagued this case from its very inception.”
The Monday night indictment marks the fourth for the embattled former president, who remains the chief frontrunner in the Republican contest for the presidency in 2024.
While supporters of the former president largely view the indictments against him as politically motivated prosecutions – and Trump’s commanding lead over other Republican hopefuls has not been shaken – it remains to be seen whether the criminal charges could significantly weaken his bid to regain office.
Political analysts have previously suggested that Trump could theoretically pardon himself if he is convicted of crimes and then re-elected in 2024, however the particular charges in Georgia would seem to preclude a presidential pardon in the event of a conviction.
Axios pointed out that, “[i]n Georgia, the power to pardon is vested under the state constitution to a Board of Pardons and Paroles, which requires that a sentence be completed at least five years prior to applying for a pardon.”
In an official statement released late August 14, Trump’s campaign said the fourth and latest indictment is “un-American and wrong,” presenting “a grave threat to American democracy.”
Statement from the Trump Campaign pic.twitter.com/etg0I5T1zv
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) August 15, 2023
“They are taking away President Trump’s First Amendment right to free speech, and the right to challenge a rigged and stolen election that the Democrats do all the time,” the statement read. “The ones who should be prosecuted are the ones who created the corruption. President Trump will never give up and will never stop fighting for you, as we all work to Make America Great Again in 2024.”