Live updates: Georgia grand jury returns 10 indictments in 2020 election interference probe

13m ago / 3:29 AM UTC

Trump as mob boss

The indictment says Trump and his co-conspirators “constituted a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury.” 

The framing drives home how prosecutors are attempting to frame Trump’s behavior in Georgia not as careless transgression, but as part of an organized agenda advanced by a group of people with shared goals.

Aug. 7, 202313:26

17m ago / 3:25 AM UTC

These are the 13 new counts facing Donald Trump




Count 11 — CONSPIRACY To COMMIT FORGERY 1N THE FIRST DEGREE O.C.G.A §§ 16-4-8 & 16-9-1(b)


Count 15 — CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT FILING FALSE DOCUMENTS O.C.G.A §§ 16-4-8 & 16-10-20.1(b)(1)



Count 27 — FILING FALSE DOCUMENTS O.C.G.A §§ 16-10-20.1(b)(1)





18m ago / 3:24 AM UTC

Why this case matters so much

Trump was just indicted on charges that he conspired to illegally overturn results in the 2020 presidential election.

Yes, somewhat remarkably, we have been here before. Just weeks ago, special counsel Jack Smith indicted the former president over similar conduct

And while Willis’ state case shares many similarities with Smith’s federal case, the results in the two cases could be quite different. 

Presidents have the power to pardon those accused or convicted of federal crimes. This power is far-reaching and can stretch to include the ability to self-pardon. Even if Trump is convicted in federal court, he could attempt to pardon himself for any and all federal crimes if he wins the 2024 presidential election.

But even if he once again becomes president, Trump has no power to pardon himself for state crimes. States are, as we all learned in school, separate sovereigns.

All of this leads to the truism that if Willis and her team are able to convict Trump for seeking to undermine the 2020 election, Trump will not hold his own get-out-of-jail-free card.

22m ago / 3:20 AM UTC

Trump is already asking for money

25m ago / 3:16 AM UTC

Read the full Fulton County indictment

Fani Willis is expected to speak to the public shortly. Her indictment includes 41 counts, against Donald Trump and 18 other individuals.

Read the full indictment document here.

43m ago / 2:59 AM UTC

Trump is indicted and DA Fani Willis is reportedly getting ready to speak

We’ve got eyes on a podium and backdrop set up at Willis’ office, making it seem like she’s due to give remarks on tonight’s indictments.

46m ago / 2:56 AM UTC

Why this indictment will hurt Trump so badly in Georgia

NBC News reporter Garrett Haake raises a really interesting point on X (ugh). Trump already has lost in Georgia in 2020, despite his claims and efforts to the contrary. His now being indicted over trying to steal an election where he was beaten by several thousand votes isn’t likely to make up that difference in the 2024 election.

53m ago / 2:48 AM UTC

Lindsey Graham’s awkward Trump defense

Speaking on Fox News moments ago, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham clumsily, and preemptively, attempted to defend Trump against a likely imminent indictment: “The American people can decide whether they want him to be president or not. This should be decided at the ballot box, not a bunch of liberal jurisdictions trying to put the man in jail.” 

It’s awkward for Graham to declare that America’s Trump problem should be decided at the ballot box given that Trump is being investigated for trying to effectively stuff the ballot box and cheat his way to victory in Georgia in 2020. Simply put, Trump’s misconduct isn’t the kind of thing that can be dealt with purely through the political process — if he did violate the law, then he should be held accountable for it just the way any other citizen would be.   

1h ago / 2:25 AM UTC

A former — and potentially future — witness speaks

Here’s a new statement from George Chidi, the dogged reporter out of Atlanta who was subpoenaed twice to testify in the Fulton County election probe:

Chidi, whom I’ve deemed the “eyes and ears” of Atlanta for his expertise on the criminal justice beat, appears to have witnessed a meeting of “fake electors” coordinating on Dec. 14, 2020. In an article for The Intercept in July, he openly grappled with the ethical questions surrounding a journalist participating in a criminal inquiry, and he explained why he ultimately felt compelled to participate in the investigation. 

Chidi is a must-follow if you want to know how Willis’ office operates. And, in particular, he’s an expert on Willis’ use of Georgia’s racketeering laws, which may be of key importance very soon. 

1h ago / 2:24 AM UTC

Trump Team spends 350+ words yelling about indictments we haven’t seen yet

It’s been over an hour since the grand jury handed up a set of 10 indictments — and we still haven’t gotten any new details about them. That hasn’t stopped the Trump campaign from putting out a truly unhinged statement that basically boils down to a greatest hits of their bosses’ favorite grievances.

Among the highlights: the statement argues that Trump should have been charged immediately after he left office; it repeats the lie that special counsel Jack Smith has been coordinating with Fanni Willis and Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg; and it pushes the ridiculous claim that Trump asking for a Georgia official to “find” votes is just him exercising his free speech. 

Read the whole thing for yourself, if you can.

1h ago / 2:13 AM UTC

Open court is great. So why am I worried?

For the already thankless work of being volunteer poll workers in 2020, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss were falsely accused by those in Trump’s orbit of throwing Georgia’s election results to Joe Biden. For Trump followers who always understood that Make America Great Again was always about reaffirming the primacy of white people, Freeman and Moss were perfect foils: Of course Black women, the Democrats’ most reliable voters, would throw the election to Biden.

The memory of how Trump partisans made life hell for that mother and daughter is why I found myself worrying while watching the footage of the 10 indictments being walked to and from Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney’s courtroom this evening. There were multiple Black men and Black women involved in that process, and it’s not hard to imagine Trump supporters finding out their names and their addresses and unleashing racist harassment upon them.

As a former reporter who covered courts and as a journalist who generally values transparency, I think it’s great that Georgia is so transparent about what happens inside its courthouses and courtrooms. Still, I can’t shake the nagging feeling that those who were merely doing their jobs this evening are going to be subjected to harassment because they did.

July 27, 202311:21

2h ago / 2:09 AM UTC

Hillary Clinton: ‘I don’t feel any satisfaction’

Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, speaking to MSNBCs Rachel Maddow moments ago:

Well, it’s hard to believe. I don’t feel any satisfaction. I feel just great, profound sadness that we have a former president who has been indicted for many charges that went right to the heart of whether or not our democracy would survive. 

We don’t know yet what the charges coming out of Georgia are. But if you stop and think about what the public evidence is — and you’ve been talking about some of that for the last hour — he set out to defraud the United States of America and the citizens of our nation. He used tactics of harassment, intimidation. He made threats; he and his allies went after state officials, local officials responsible for conducting elections. Now we know they even went into voting machines in order to determine whether or not those voting machines had somehow been breached when they were the ones actually doing the breaching. So there is a great deal already in the public record. …

The only satisfaction may be that the system is working, that all of the efforts by Donald Trump, his allies, his enablers, to try to silence the truth, to try to undermine democracy have been brought into the light, and justice is being pursued.

2h ago / 2:01 AM UTC

Why Georgia’s RICO statue in particular is such a powerful tool

Could the conduct of certain people in the Trump campaign organization — those who sought to substitute fake electors for real electors, for instance — make them part of a criminal enterprise for purposes of the Georgia RICO statute? Yes.

In fact, one important way in which the Georgia RICO statute is broader than its federal counterpart is that it includes, as predicate acts, the crimes of forgery and false statements. To the extent that “fake” electors created and signed false documents, that conduct could bring them within the scope of the Georgia RICO Act, assuming the other requirements of the statute are met.

Read Chuck’s full analysis here:

2h ago / 1:54 AM UTC

Never forget Trump’s stunningly incriminating call

As we await more details on the indictments handed down tonight, let’s pay our respects to an oldie but a goodie in the timeline of Trump’s electoral chicanery: Trump’s infamous call urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him “find” (read: conjure) enough votes for the outgoing president to declare himself the true winner in Georgia.

Looking back, this incriminating sequence feels incredibly emblematic of who Trump is as a person. This is a ham-handed, hubristic and incredibly presumptuous man, who is convinced for some reason that others will always be willing to fall on their swords for him. Trump even suggested that Raffensperger could be charged with a “criminal offense” if he didn’t go along with the MAGA movement’s electoral scheme. Oh, how wrong he was. 

Check out the full tape here, if you wish: 

2h ago / 1:42 AM UTC

True bill vs. no bill

2h ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Hillary Clinton is having a great night

In a wild twist of fate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was booked to appear on MSNBC tonight before we knew for sure that Trump would (probably) be indicted, yet again. (She’s technically there to talk about an article she wrote for The Atlantic on “The Weaponization of Loneliness.”) And while Clinton said that it is a “sad day” and a “terrible moment for our country” to have a former president who has been charged with such serious crimes, she certainly looked like someone who is doing her level best to suppress some serious schadenfreude.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated at Hofstra University in September 2016.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated at Hofstra University in September 2016.David Goldman / AP

2h ago / 1:39 AM UTC

Cameras could make things different this time

One unusual factor in what a Georgia trial could look like: It’s likely all going to be caught on camera.

As NBC News has reported, “Georgia law requires that cameras be allowed into judicial proceedings with a judge’s approval.” The presiding judge has final say on whether cameras are in the courtroom, but requests are typically granted.

If Trump is indeed named in the indictments and his trial is captured on camera, that could transform the nature of how this trial is received by the public. Among other things, it would provide a lot more opportunity for visual storytelling and the documentation of subtle human moments.  

Aug. 3, 202307:57

2h ago / 1:30 AM UTC

Watch this space

2h ago / 1:25 AM UTC

Fani Willis moved faster than expected today

Based on what we knew ahead of tonight’s grand jury vote, it wasn’t clear how long it would take Willis to get through all of the evidence she had gathered over the course of her 18-month investigation. All we knew was that she was going to begin her presentation today, and that the grand jury in question typically only meets on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Given how much she’d pulled together since February 2021, including a full special grand jury investigation, our best guess was it would take Willis and her team two days to present everything. Clearly, she moved quickly. But also it appears she ended up not needing to call all of the witnesses originally lined up to testify. As a result, we’re now sitting here, at 9:30 p.m. ET, waiting to read the indictments as soon as they are distributed to the public.

Fani Willis
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis at her office in Atlanta in 2021.John Bazemore / AP file

3h ago / 1:06 AM UTC

Grand jury returns 10 indictments, but details are still unclear

The grand jury in Fulton County has returned 10 indictments to Judge Robert McBurney on Monday evening, NBC News reported. Those indictments were passed to the judge, who read them silently, signed off on them, and handed them off to be delivered to the clerk. It is still unclear precisely who has been charged or what the charges inside are. Your guess is as good as ours as far as how long it will be until we know any of the details inside.

3h ago / 1:03 AM UTC

If Trump is convicted, incarceration may not be the end result

Aug. 11, 202310:01

If Trump is tried and convicted in any of the criminal cases he’s facing, it’s quite possible he won’t be ordered to serve any prison time. 

That’s because his Secret Service detail could pose significant logistical challenges to imprisonment, as MSNBC legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Chuck Rosenberg told The Washington Post recently.

“Any federal district judge ought to understand it raises enormous and unprecedented logistical issues,” Rosenberg said of the prospect Trump could be incarcerated. “Probation, fines, community service and home confinement are all alternatives.”

3h ago / 1:02 AM UTC

Here’s what to know about RICO

The bulk of Willis’ investigation likely overlaps with Jack Smith’s own federal investigation into attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. But there is one significant way in which the Fulton County DA’s case could differ: RICO law.

That statute would give Willis broad discretion in how she constructs her case against the former president — discretion that no other prosecutor currently bringing a case against Trump has. 

RICO typically refers to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law that the Department of Justice has long used to prosecute organized crime. But many states have adopted their own versions of the federal RICO statute.

Read more about RICO below:

3h ago / 1:01 AM UTC

No, double jeopardy wouldn’t be a problem in this case

Trump being charged for election interference both federally and in Georgia wouldn’t pose a problem legally. Jordan Rubin explained why for Deadline: Legal Blog last month:

Strange as it may sound, people can be charged for the same conduct on both the state and federal levels. I was reminded of this odd legal fact upon the news of state charges against the “false electors” in Michigan for alleged 2020 election crimes.

In this case or any case, bringing state charges wouldn’t preclude federal charges, or vice versa. The Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy clause protects against being put in legal jeopardy twice for the “same offence.” But that doesn’t stop prosecutions from proceeding in what are technically separate state and federal forums.

Read more below:

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