Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is reportedly preparing to charge former President Donald Trump with solicitation to commit election fraud and conspiracy to commit election fraud in relation to the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, according to sources of The Guardian. The charges are part of a broader investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
The charges under consideration include criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit election fraud, solicitation of a public or political officer to neglect their duties, and solicitation to destroy, deface, or remove ballots.
Additionally, it is reported that the district attorney is looking to bring charges of computer trespass against some of Trump’s associates who allegedly accessed voting machines and copied sensitive election data in Coffee County, Georgia, in January 2021.
Willis’s identification of these potential charges signifies a crucial development in the criminal investigation, indicating that prosecutors could be seeking indictments from a grand jury as soon as next month. The grand jury, responsible for deciding whether to indict Trump or others, was assembled in mid-July. The selection process was overseen by Willis, Deputy District Attorney Will Wooten, and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade.
For a criminal solicitation charge, prosecutors would need to demonstrate that Trump persistently requested another person to engage in certain illegal conduct that is “likely and imminent” as a result of the solicitation. This includes Trump’s alleged phone calls to Chief Investigator Frances Watson and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, as well as his reported “pressure” on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes.”
Reports emerged last week that Willis was preparing evidence to potentially indict Trump on the charges. According to the sources familiar with the matter, The Guardian reported that Willis had compiled evidence that could support a racketeering indictment, which would be based on statutes pertaining to “computer trespass and influencing witnesses.”
It is anticipated that prosecutors will also seek a criminal conspiracy charge. In Georgia, the conspiracy statute is broadly interpreted, requiring the district attorney’s office to demonstrate only that two or more individuals tacitly agreed to commit a crime.
The district attorney’s office has dedicated over two years to investigating potential charges against Trump in connection with the 2020 election. A special grand jury in Atlanta, after hearing evidence for approximately seven months, recommended charges against more than a dozen individuals, including Trump himself.
The 2020 election investigation in Georgia has been marked by controversy, with numerous reported issues such as double voting by residents in the state’s primary, reporting discrepancies in Fulton County, and probes into the county’s absentee voting system.
The final decision, as well as the approach, remains uncertain. The charges could be pursued individually, incorporated into a broader racketeering case, or a combination of both.
While charges stemming from this investigation were anticipated to be announced between the end of July and the first two weeks of August, the situation has remained fluid.
As Trump’s legal team has geared up for yet another indictment, they received a development from federal Judge Aileen Cannon, who announced a May 2024 trial date for the former president’s classified documents case. Prosecutor Jack Smith’s team had hoped to get the trial moved up substantially, while Trump’s side wanted to push the start date back until after the 2024 election. Cannon ended up splitting the difference in her decision.