The Georgia indictment charges a 19-member 'criminal enterprise.' Here's who they are
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Former president — and current 2024 Republican frontrunner — Donald Trump is one of 19 people charged in the Fulton County indictment, which alleges a coordinated group effort to pressure Georgia officials into changing the outcome of the 2020 election.
Some of the other defendants include:
- Onetime Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell;
- Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows;
- Former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark;
- Those who spoke at hearings designed to convince Georgia lawmakers to change the election results, such as attorney Ray Smith;
- Several so-called fake electors, who signed certificates saying Trump won Georgia and that they were official electors. This group includes former Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer.
- Three individuals accused of pressuring Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman to falsely admit to committing election fraud. Among them is Trevian Kutti, a Chicago-based publicist who has worked for R. Kelly and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
- It also suggests there are others involved, listing "unindicted co-conspirators Individual 1 through Individual 30, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury.
Another section of the indictment deals with the effort to unlawfully copy election data in rural Coffee County, where Trump allies gained access to a voting machine and hired an IT firm to search for widespread voter fraud, which did not exist.
Several individuals who allegedly participated in that plan are also facing charges, including former Coffee County Election Supervisor Misty Hampton and Cathy Latham, a former Republican Party official in Coffee County.
It's not clear how many of the defendants knew each other, or how well.
Under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, prosecutors simply need to prove that the defendants were associated "in fact" as opposed to involved in a formal enterprise, says Fred Smith Jr., a professor at Emory University School of Law.
"All the prosecutors need to show in order to bring a RICO charge is that these individuals were acting with a common purpose and that they engaged in a pattern of illegal activities in order to achieve that common illegal purpose," he tells Morning Edition.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she wants to try all 19 defendants together, which could pose significant logistical challenges to an already-complicated case.
Defendants could choose to petition the court to argue that they won't get a fair trial as a group and ask for their cases be separated from some or all of the others, according to NBC News.
They could also try to have the case moved from state to federal court, says Stephen Gillers, a professor emeritus at the New York University School of Law.
"The first thing that may happen in the next 30 days is an effort to remove the case to federal court," he tells Morning Edition.
Gillers says a change in venue would likely benefit the defendants, since a jury would be picked from a more conservative area than the one in Fulton County. Plus, he adds, it could delay the case for several months.
"Ultimately the federal court might send it back to state court, or federal court might keep it if the court concludes that the conduct alleged was under color of federal law," he adds, predicting "a real fight over that ... in the next two months."
Willis has given the defendants until noon ET on Aug. 25 — 10 days — to voluntarily surrender in Fulton County.
At that point they would be arraigned, a process that involves hearing the charges, entering a plea and taking fingerprints and mugshots (which would be a first for Trump, despite this being his fourth indictment). The defendants could be arraigned individually or together.
Willis said Monday that she will ask for a trial date within the next six months, adding, "We do want to move this case along."
Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler contributed reporting.
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