Trump Georgia probe: Court clerk calls charging document 'fictitious'

Key Points
  • Reuters reported on numerous charges against Trump in Georgia that included conspiracy, false statements, forgery and racketeering.
  • The news agency cited a two-page docket report that appears to have been posted, and then deleted.
  • Soon after the story was published, a spokeswoman for Fulton County courts told CNBC that Reuters' headlines were "inaccurate," but would not explain how or why.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, right, and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney speak in the Fulton county courthouse, Tuesday, July 11, 2023, in Atlanta.
Brynn Anderson | AP

A disputed report Monday about new criminal charges against Donald Trump added another layer of confusion to the former president's knotty legal entanglements.

Headlines from Reuters declared that Georgia had filed numerous charges against Trump, including conspiracy, false statements, forgery and racketeering.

But soon after those headlines were published, a spokeswoman for Fulton County, Georgia, told CNBC that Reuters' reporting was "inaccurate." The spokeswoman did not immediately respond to CNBC's questions about what, exactly, was inaccurate about the the story.

In a story published minutes later, Reuters reported that Georgia "appears set" to charge Trump — a marked distinction from the initial headlines, which implied the charges had been filed. The news outlet cited a two-page docket report that it said had been posted, and then deleted from, the Fulton County court's website.

In a statement later Monday afternoon from the Fulton County Clerk said the court had "learned of a fictitious document that has been circulated online," an apparent reference to the Reuters docket report.

Reuters posted a copy of that docket report.

A document briefly posted on and then taken down from the official Fulton County, Georgia court website shows a list of potential felony charges against former President Donald Trump, after being downloaded by Reuters shortly before the court took the document back down without explanation, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 14, 2023. 
Julio Cesar Chavez | Reuters

CNBC could not independently verify that the docket report represented the pending charges against Trump.'

Still, the list aligns with the focus of a long-running criminal investigation into the efforts made by Trump and his allies to overturn President Joe Biden's victory in Georgia's 2020 presidential election.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the probe in February 2021, just weeks after it was revealed that Trump had asked Georgia's secretary of state to "find" enough votes to reverse his loss in the Peach State.

Willis noted from the outset that she was investigating potential violations of state laws barring election fraud and lying to government entities, as well as conspiracy, racketeering and "any involvement in violence or threats" related to the administration of the 2020 election.

Security at the Fulton County courthouse has been hardened significantly over the past two weeks, with roads closed around the building and K-9 units surveilling the area Monday.

Update 4:33PM: This story has been updated to include statements from Fulton County Court officers made after publication.

Follow our live coverage of Trump's indictment on RICO charges in the Georgia election probe.