There’s a very real chance that we will know as soon as this week exactly who Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis plans to charge with crimes connected to efforts meant to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the Peach State.
Among those facing charges: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) along with his one-time BFF, disgraced former president Donald Trump.
But if Trump is indeed indicted and put on trial, what crimes might he be accused of having committed?
Aaron Blake of the Washington Post has looked carefully at the case and some of the hints that have begun to leak out from Georgia and suggests that Trump is facing six charges.
Solicitation to commit election fraud
This involves inducing someone else to commit a crime involving an election. There are felony and misdemeanor versions.
Georgia law makes it a crime “when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a [felony/misdemeanor] under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.”
Conspiracy to commit election fraud
This is similar to solicitation, but it involves working with others to commit the fraud. That would include Graham, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, and former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Intentional interference with performance of election duties
This charge involves, according to Georgia law interfering, hindering, or delaying the results of an election.
Interference with primaries and elections/filing false documents
This would include the “fake electors” list floated by Trump and others connected to him.
(Some legal experts have suggested that the certificate the fake electors submitted to Congress wasitself illegal, because on it, they falsely claimed to be “duly elected.”)
In other words, lying, as the law states “a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation … in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of state government.”
This is the most serious of the potential charges and carries enhanced penalties.
Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (or RICO) Act is broader than its federal counterpart. It requires proving two predicate crimes and establishing a pattern of racketeering activity, but it doesn’t require those crimes to be indicted separately. And while such laws are most commonly linked to organized crime, it has been used against public officials.
All of the charges are serious, but the racketeering one is the most treacherous for Trump because it would allow the presentation of evidence that might not otherwise be included in the more narrowly-drawn charges.