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One of the most telling and damning allegations in the Fulton County indictment goes to the shocking sweep of the Trump plan to steal an election he knew he would lose. Act 1 of the indictment recounts how Trump discussed with an unindicted co-conspirator, four days before the election, the content of a speech “that falsely declared victory and falsely claimed voter fraud.”
This revelation not only punctures Trump’s defence that he believed he won the election and that it was stolen from him, but also displays the criminal intent with chilling premeditation. If he ever testifies in court, Trump will have to argue he firmly believed he was robbed of his victory by fraud before it happened.
The indictment’s charges against Trump go full circle, concluding with a reprise of his run at Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State. Trump again claimed he won and should be declared the victor in a letter to Raffensperger dated September 2021, almost a year after the election – perhaps as a proffer of evidence that he still believed his own misrepresentations.
As predicted in advance by Byline Times, the lion’s share of the indictment was based on broad Georgia statutes criminalizing false statements and filings. 22 of the 41 felony counts involved false statements and documents. Many other overt acts listed in furtherance of the conspiracy consisted of misrepresentations which could have been charged as additional Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization or RICO counts.
The King of Falsehoods
Of 19 alleged RICO conspirators indicted, 14 were charged with knowing misrepresentations to state authorities. Strangely, two of the most outlandish proponents of the Big Lie, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis, were not charged with making false statements — perhaps because they did not do the speaking to state authorities, but were usually only backup singers to Rudy Giuliani on television — though that could be charged under the Georgia criminal statutes.
Their false statements may have also been omitted from the charges because even Donald Trump said their conspiracy theories sounded “crazy,” though he went along with their tales that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, dead since 2013, rigged the voting machines (one of the lies that cost Fox News $787 million, so far, in cases brought by voting machine companies).
One of the elements of the Georgia false statement criminal statute is that the misrepresentation is knowing.
Powell and Ellis’s state of mind could prove an evidentiary problem. But Trump’s declaration that they were off their rockers is excellent evidence that he knew his co-conspirators were spinning yarns about the stolen election.
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It is no surprise that Trump himself is the undisputed misrepresentations champion, charged with six counts of false statements and false filings, with two additional counts involving forgery. It should also come as no surprise that Trump actually inflated some of the misrepresentations of his co-conspirators/co-defendants.
In Act 113 of the indictment, Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in the infamous phone call trolling for 11,780 more votes, that 250,000 to 300,000 “ballots were dropped mysteriously into the rolls” in the November 2020 election. Trump also claimed that “hundreds of thousands of ballots” were “dumped” into Fulton from an adjacent county. He said “thousands of voters were turned away from the polls after being told “a ballot had already been cast in their name.” Without showing his calculations, Trump claimed he won Georgia by 400,000 votes.
There was no source for any of this information in the indictment, even in the prior claims of Trump’s confederates.
Trump attributed 18,000 fraudulent votes for Biden at the State Farm Arena to Ruby Freeman, who Giuliani only accused of passing around “USB ports” like “vials of heroin.”
In apparent compensation, Trump reduced the claims for identifiable groups of people. Giuliani told the Georgia legislature 10,315 dead people voted. The Georgia lawsuit filed by Trump and John Eastman on the last day of 2020 claimed “as many as 10,315 or more” dead people voted in Georgia in 2020, but Trump told Raffensperger it was close to 5000. Raffensperger said the actual number was two dead people for whom votes were recorded.
According to the indictment, Trump told Raffensperger that 904 voters illegally registered at a post office box, down from “at least 1043“ listed in the lawsuit. Trump told Raffensperger there were 4502 unregistered voters, up from 2423 listed in the lawsuit.
In the infamous call, Trump appears to have omitted the claims in the lawsuit that over 66,000 underage Georgians voted, and over 2500 felons.
As Byline Times predicted, the verification of these knowingly false numbers formed the basis of one of the most glaring RICO felony misrepresentation counts. Because the verification of a lawsuit is made under oath, it could satisfy even the stricter requirements for perjury and federal false statements felonies.
As predicted, Trump’s Tweets played a role, with 13 being listed as overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy. Though some are ambiguous, some of them include clear and verifiable knowing misrepresentations of matters under state jurisdiction.
Act 114, for example:
On or about the 3rd day of January 2021, DONALD JOHN TRUMP caused to be tweeted the Twitter account @RealDonaldTrump, “I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such the ‘ballots under the table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue.”
The indictment is conservatively charged, however, and did not include such tweets as felony counts, though they fit the broad Georgia statute. There is nothing in the language of O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20 that requires the state to prove that a defendant made the defendant’s false statement directly to a department or agency of either a particular city or a county. Rather, the state need only show that the statement was made in a matter within the jurisdiction of one or more of those governments.
From my year-long experience consulting with Fani Willis about the scope of the conspiracy, she is staying well inside her legal limits to avoid creating an appeal issue that could drag out a Trump conviction for years. There could be a question whether some of the misrepresentations in the tweets—about Mike Pence’s power to reject Georgia’s electoral votes, for example, are matters under Georgia state jurisdiction, as required by the false statements statute. Nonetheless, the truth-challenged tweets definitely form an important part of the smoke and mirror atmospherics of the alleged RICO conspiracy.