Legal experts said former President Donald Trump’s fourth indictment — this time for alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia — is designed to secure a quick prosecution that may not hold up on appeal.
Nineteen individuals were indicted by a grand jury Monday night in Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis’ 2020 election probe, including Trump, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Mark Meadows. Charges against the former president include violating Georgia’s “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” (RICO) Act, Solicitation of Violation of Oath by Public Officer and a number of conspiracy charges.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Sean Hannity on Fox Monday night that the precedent set by the charges creates “the most dangerous threat to democracy” and is an abuse of the Constitution “for partisan political purposes.”
“The whole strategy of all these four cases is to get a conviction before the election, even if they’re going to lose on appeal,” Dershowitz said. “I used to teach my students – many of them future prosecutors – if you bring a RICO case, that increases your chances of winning a trial and losing on appeal. The same thing is true with conspiracy and other cases involving mental states. And so all four of these cases are designed to get quick, quick convictions in jurisdictions that are heavily loaded against Donald Trump.” (RELATED: ‘The Most Dangerous Threat To Democracy’: Alan Dershowitz Rips Georgia’s Trump Indictment)
How many indictments can one man get? https://t.co/TkZ4pY6Do5
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Mike Davis, founder and president of the Article III Project, said the indictment is “brazenly timed to interfere in the 2024 presidential election.”
“Like her press conference, Fani Willis’ indictment of Trump is loud, long, and lawless,” Mike Davis, founder and president of the Article III Project, said in a statement Monday night. “It is part of the Democrats’ law-fare campaign against Trump–by Alvin Bragg, Jack Smith, Tish James, and now Fani Willis–because Democrats fear they cannot beat Trump on November 5, 2024.”
Georgia State College of Law Professor Clark D. Cunningham told The New York Times Tuesday the indictment “shows the incredible power brought to bear against Trump by using Georgia’s racketeering law.”
One Atlanta trial lawyer and former prosecutor with experience with RICO cases, Christopher Timmons, told the NYT the timetable was “ambitious,” noting trials usually “take a year to put together.”
“Six months to start a RICO trial is lightning fast,” he told the NYT.
Fox News legal analyst and former defense attorney Gregg Jarrett pointed out that it’s “not a crime to complain, which was what the Trump telephone call with the Secretary of State in Georgia was all about.”
“He was complaining about valid irregularities, violations of elections laws, the failure of the court to address his petition,” Jarrett said Monday night. “It’s not defrauding the government if you believe you’re acting lawfully. This idea of bringing a racketeering charge seems far-fetched.”
“This is an all out effort to use our legal system to purge President Trump and his staff out of the political system entirely,” America First Legal Founder and former Trump Senior Advisor Stephen Miller said on Fox News Monday night. “At what point are elected Republicans going to realize the gravity and the severity of this threat? The radical left just keeps pushing and pushing and pushing, and all they find is soft jelly!”
“Note the plethora of conspiracy charges, with some RICO tossed in,” Dhillon Law Group Founder Harmeet Kaur Dhillon tweeted after an indictment document was leaked earlier Monday. “Real lawyers know that just about nothing is a provable RICO in front of a fair court. Woke prosecutors are increasingly criminalizing speech in America, and this threatens all of us.”
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley noted Willis “appears to have elected to charge everything and everyone and let God sort them out.”
“The scope of the alleged conspiracy is massive,” he wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “‘The call’ is one of those steps but the famous line that has occupied hours of coverage (and led to the investigation) is not the central allegation. Indeed, every call, speech, and tweet appears a criminal step in the conspiracy.”
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