Trump indictment: Here’s what’s next for the case in Georgia

Kevin Breuninger
Dan Mangan
Amanda Macias
Spencer Kimball

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis presented a Georgia grand jury Monday with the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his allies.

Former President Donald Trump was indicted Monday night by a grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia, on charges he and his supporters attempted to interfere with the state's 2020 presidential election.

Trump allies charged in the Georgia indictment include:

  • Rudy Giuliani, attorney, former U.S. attorney, ex-New York mayor
  • John Eastman, attorney
  • Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff
  • Jeffrey Clark, former Justice Department official
  • Sidney Powell, attorney
  • Jenna Ellis, attorney

The sweeping charges stem from 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 urged 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.

Trump and his co-defendants are due to surrender to Georgia authorities by Aug. 25. Warrants have been issued for their arrest, and Willis said she wants the case to go to trial within the next six months.

Follow our live coverage of Donald Trump's arrest in the Georgia election case.

Key posts:

Tue, Aug 15 2023 5:02 PM EDT

John Eastman calls Georgia indictment a 'legal cluster-bomb'

John Eastman, former lawyer to Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media after leaving the State Bar Court of California in Los Angeles, California, US, on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

John Eastman, the pro-Trump attorney and a co-defendant in the Georgia criminal case, argued that the indictment targets "activity that is political, but not criminal."

Eastman's attorney, Harvey Silverglate, released a statement saying the indictment "goes hand-in-glove with the recent effort to criminalize lawful political speech and legal advice" in violation of multiple constitutional rights.

"Lawyers everywhere should be sleepless over this latest stunt to criminalize their advocacy," the statement said. "This is a legal cluster-bomb that leaves unexploded ordinances for lawyers to navigate in perpetuity."

"Dr. Eastman will challenge this indictment in any and all forums available to him," the statement added.

Eastman faces nine counts in the indictment. A key player in Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, Eastman is perhaps best known for authoring a memo proposing the legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to reject electoral votes while presiding over Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 4:13 PM EDT

Early release of sample Trump docket was a 'mishap,' Georgia court says

A Fulton County court clerk mistakenly posted an early "test sample" of a docket sheet that appeared to show charges being filed against former President Donald Trump hours before a grand jury voted on an indictment, the clerk explained Tuesday.

The "mishap" on Monday caused confusion that was quickly seized upon by Trump and his allies, who claimed the error demonstrated wrongdoing by the prosecutor.

Reuters first reported Monday afternoon that a docket report had been posted on, and then deleted from, the Fulton County court's website. The Fulton County clerk responded by calling the document "fictitious," prompting questions about how it had ended up on the court's website at all.

In Tuesday's statement, the clerk's office said Reuters had obtained and shared a "sample working document" related to Trump.

The document briefly showed up publicly after Fulton County Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts Ché Alexander tried to "test the system and conduct a trial run" in hopes of avoiding issues that arise "with entering a potentially large indictment," the office said.

"Unfortunately, the sample working document led to the docketing of what appeared to be an indictment, but which was, in fact, only a fictitious docket sheet," the statement said.

Alexander immediately removed the document "upon learning of the mishap," her office said.

"The Office understands the confusion that this matter caused and the sensitivity of all court filings. We remain committed to operating with an extreme level of efficiency, accuracy, and transparency," the statement said.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 3:06 PM EDT

Trump faces 20 years for racketeering charge in Georgia

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks on as he speaks during a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 29, 2023. 

Donald Trump could face up to 20 years in prison for a racketeering charge connected with his attempt to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 victory in Georgia.

Trump is facing 13 charges altogether in the Georgia case, which include making false statements, forgery and soliciting a public offer to violate their oath.

These are the maximum sentences Trump potentially faces for each count of his alleged crimes in Georgia:

  • 1 count of violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — 20 years
  • 3 counts for soliciting a public officer to violate their oath — 3 years
  • 1 count of conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer — 2.5 years
  • 2 counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree — 7.5 years
  • 2 counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings — 2.5 years
  • 1 count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents — 5 years
  • 1 count of filing false documents —10 years
  • 2 counts for false statements and writings — 5 years

Trump is also potentially facing serious time for charges in three other indictments. Among the most serious charges in federal 2020 election and classified documents cases, the former president faces a maximum of 20 years for obstructing an official proceeding and 20 years for each obstruction count. He faces a maximum of 4 years in the New York state case for each charge of falsifying business records.

All told, Trump now faces 91 felony charges across the four criminal cases.

-- Spencer Kimball

Tue, Aug 15 2023 2:21 PM EDT

Trump's legal troubles loom over his campaign schedule

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. August 12, 2023. 

With four active criminal cases now on his plate — not to mention multiple ongoing civil cases in New York — Donald Trump's legal troubles are set to dominate his schedule in the coming weeks.

In 10 days, Trump and his co-defendants are due to surrender to Georgia authorities on the latest indictment filed against him.

Warrants have been issued for their arrest, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said Monday night. She added that she wants the case to go to trial within the next six months.

Four days before his deadline to surrender in Georgia, Trump said he plans to lead a news conference at his golf club in New Jersey to unveil a "report" containing allegations of election fraud. He has repeatedly made false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Meanwhile, in special counsel Jack Smith's election interference case in Washington, D.C., federal court, Trump's lawyers and prosecutors are set to appear on Aug. 28 for a hearing about how classified information will be handled in the case. That's three days after the surrender deadline in Georgia.

The demands of his criminal cases could clash with his presidential campaign: Trump has yet to say whether or not he plans to attend the first Republican primary debate set for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. If he skips the event, as he has signaled he plans to do, Trump may counter-program it by holding a competing event, as he has done in past election cycles.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 1:37 PM EDT

Chesebro attorney says charges are unfounded

The attorney representing Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer who advised Donald Trump, said the charges against his client are "unfounded."

Chesebro is accused of helping Trump put together a slate of fake electors to overturn Joe Biden's victory in Georgia.

"Each of the alleged 'overt acts' that are attributed to Mr. Chesebro relate to his work as an attorney," said Chesebro's lawyer Scott Grubman.

"Mr. Chesebro did not once step foot in the State of Georgia on behalf of the campaign, and was not privy to the private communications of other individuals that are cited in the indictment," Grubman said. "Mr. Chesebro stands ready to defend himself against these unfounded charges."

Chesebro is charged with seven counts:

  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer
  • Two counts of conspiring to commit forgery in the first degree
  • Two counts of conspiring to commit false statements and writings
  • Conspiracy to commit filing false documents

-- Spencer Kimball

Tue, Aug 15 2023 12:50 PM EDT

Gov. Brian Kemp: 'The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen'

U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp as he arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., July 15, 2020.

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp took aim at former President Donald Trump's claim that there was election fraud in the Peach State in 2020.

After Trump wrote on social media that he was going to release a report proving there was fraud in Georgia, Kemp responded in his own post.

"The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen," Kemp wrote. "For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward - under oath - and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor."

The governor's response comes after Trump was indicted in Georgia for trying to overturn the state's 2020 election results. Kemp testified before the Fulton County grand jury last year, but only after initially trying to challenge a subpoena for his testimony.

- Brian Schwartz

Tue, Aug 15 2023 11:48 AM EDT

Raffensperger: You either have the rule of law — or you don't

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks at a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on November 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Georgia election official who refused to help Donald Trump said in response to the former president's indictment that the rule of law is the most basic principle of democracy.

"The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law. You either have it, or you don't," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement.

Trump pressured Raffensperger in a January 2021 phone call to "find" him enough votes to overturn President Joe Biden's victory in Georgia.

"I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have," Trump said during the now-infamous call.

Raffensperger, a Republican, resisted Trump's pressure and stood by his November certification of Biden's victory.

"Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong," Raffensperger said.

Spencer Kimball

Tue, Aug 15 2023 11:30 AM EDT

The Georgia indictment names Trump 100 times in 98 pages. Read the whole document.

John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani speak in a combination of file photographs taken in 2020 and 2021.

The indictment delivered by a grand jury in Atlanta against Donald Trump and 18 other defendants mentions the former president by name 100 times, more than once per page.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's former lawyer and New York City mayor, is mentioned 56 separate times in the 98 page document. John Eastman and Sidney Powell, both Trump-allied lawyers, are called out 31 times and 28 times, respectively.

Mark Meadows, Trump's White House chief of staff, is mentioned 14 times. This is notable because an federal indictment based on many of the same events and facts, but in which Meadows was not charged, barely mentions him at all.

Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark is named nine times, and Jenna Ellis, an attorney who worked with Giuliani, is mentioned 20 times.

Read the whole indictment below:

Download the indictment here.

Spencer Kimball

Tue, Aug 15 2023 11:07 AM EDT

Indicted Trump attorney Jenna Ellis slams Willis, invokes God

A November 19, 2020 photo shows attorney Jenna Ellis speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC.

Jenna Ellis, one of the 19 people named in the Georgia indictment, responded to her criminal charges by accusing Democrats and District Attorney Fani Willis of "criminalizing the practice of law."

"I am resolved to trust the Lord and I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him," Ellis tweeted Tuesday morning. "I deeply appreciate all of my friends who have reached out offering encouragement and support."

Ellis' tweet included a screenshot of cursive text, which read, "Even so it is well with my soul."

Ellis is an attorney who was part of a group with Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell who worked to challenge the election results. She described that group as an "elite strike force" in a bizarre news conference in November 2020 that was filled with false claims of election fraud.

She is charged in Willis' indictment with one count of violating Georgia's RICO act and one count of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer. She is accused of working to get pro-Trump electors appointed in key states including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 10:40 AM EDT

Overturning his Georgia loss would still not have delivered Trump the presidency

Former US President Donald Trump points at the crowd as he attends Round 3 of the LIV Golf-Bedminster 2023 at the Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey on August 13, 2023.

While Trump's latest charges come from Georgia, one thing the indictment makes clear is that the former president's plot to reverse his 2020 loss was not confined to the Peach State.

Trump was previously charged by Special Counsel Jack Smith with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by organizing fraudulent electors in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in addition to Georgia.

Biden won the presidency with a secure margin of 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232. Had Trump successfully overturned the results in Georgia, he still would have fallen 22 electoral votes shy of the 270 needed to take the White House.

Trump would have had to overturn the results in at least two other states in addition to Georgia to pull off his plot.

-- Spencer Kimball

Tue, Aug 15 2023 10:33 AM EDT

Trump asks for donations for his 2024 campaign and legal fees following Georgia indictment

Former U.S. President and Republican candidate Donald Trump makes a keynote speech at a Republican fundraising dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. August 5, 2023. 

Former President Donald Trump used his indictment in Georgia for trying to overturn the 2020 election as a jumping off point to raise money for his 2024 campaign.

In an overnight fundraising email, Trump blasted the indictment and bemoaned how "Our once free Republic where citizens were presumed innocent until proven guilty is gone."

The fundraising email includes a link to a donation page that says contributions will go to the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee. While 90% of a contribution goes to the Trump 2024 campaign for president, 10% will go to Save America, a Trump PAC helping the former president pay for his legal fees.

Save America spent over $20 million on legal fees in the first half of the year and came into July with just over $3 million in cash on hand.

It's unclear how Trump will fund his legal defense going forward.

- Brian Schwartz

Tue, Aug 15 2023 9:21 AM EDT

Trump to unveil a 'report' on Georgia election at news conference next week

Former US president and 2024 Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023. 

Former President Donald Trump will hold a news conference next week to unveil a "report" that he says will contain allegations of election fraud in Georgia.

The move appears to be an attempt to counter his criminal indictment — which accuses him of spreading false claims of widespread fraud in furtherance of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election — by doubling down on those false claims.

The former president said on Truth Social that a "Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT" on the subject is "almost complete."

He said he will present the results of the report Monday Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. ET from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

"Based on the results of this CONCLUSIVE Report, all charges should be dropped against me & others - There will be a complete EXONERATION!" Trump claimed.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 9:13 AM EDT

Rudy Giuliani claims Trump was framed, dismisses indictment as "book of lies"

Rudy Giuliani, former lawyer to Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media as he leaves federal court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, May 19, 2023.

Rudy Giuliani lashed after he and former President Donald Trump were indicted on racketeering and numerous other charges in Georgia over their attempt to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 victory in the state.

Giuliani claimed Trump was framed and decried the indictment as "an affront to American democracy" that "does permanent, irrevocable harm to our justice system."

The former New York City Mayor and lawyer to Trump dismissed the indictment as a "book of lies" and railed against an unnamed "they" who he accused of lying about "Russian collusion" and Hunter Biden's laptop.

 "The real criminals here are the people who have brought this case forward both directly and indirectly," Giuliani said in a statement to NBC News early Tuesday morning.

The indictment alleges that Trump, Giuliani and 17 other defendants constituted a criminal organization that engaged in a wide range of illegal activities.

Giuliani was charged with 13 crimes:

  • Violation of the Georgia Rico Act
  • Three counts of soliciting a public officer to violate their oath
  • Conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer
  • Three counts of false statements and writings
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings
  • Conspiracy to commit filing false documents
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree

-- Spencer Kimball

Tue, Aug 15 2023 9:00 AM EDT

Who's left out of the indictment?

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn exits a vehicle as he arrives for his sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2018.

With 41 counts against 19 people, Willis' 98-page indictment is expansive. But not every person involved in efforts to challenge Trump's 2020 loss is charged in the latest charging document.

This raises questions about whether the conspicuously absent characters agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, in exchange for not being charged themselves.

The indictment, for instance, does not mention Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor, who reportedly suggested that Trump could invoke martial law to seize voting machines.

Nor does the indictment reference Lin Wood, the pro-Trump former lawyer and conspiracy theorist who led a failed lawsuit to overturn Biden's win in Georgia.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was questioned in Willis' election probe, also is not named in the indictment.

Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who spoke on Trump's infamous Jan. 2, 2021, call urging Georgia officials to find votes for him, is also absent.

The indictment mentions 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 8:46 AM EDT

Georgia case will be first where Trump doesn't pay for his co-defendants' legal counsel

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a ‘Save America’ rally in support of Arizona GOP candidates on July 22, 2022 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

The criminal case in Georgia against former President Donald Trump will be different from his other cases in one significant way: It will be the first case in which Trump and his political groups won't be paying for the lawyers for his co-defendants.

Unlike the classified documents case in Florida, or a case against Trump's company in Manhattan, where Trump controlled entities are paying the lawyers bills, Trump's political action committee is in no position to fund the costly defenses of the 18 other people charged in the sprawling Georgia racketeering indictment.

Trump's PAC Save America burned through over $20 million in legal fees in the first half of this year alone, paying for lawyers to represent the former president and his co-defendants in three other cases. That left the PAC with just over $3 million on hand at the end of June.

The fact that Trump is paying the lawyers' bills for his co-defendants in the Florida case has raised questions about whether they are truly free to give testimony that would incriminate Trump, if it means losing their legal representation.

- Brian Schwartz

Tue, Aug 15 2023 8:20 AM EDT

Trump primary challenger Will Hurd urges GOP to drop ex-president's 'baggage'

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, speaks during a news conference on the use of the "queen-of-the-hill" rule for DACA legislation in the House on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican presidential candidate, urged his party to get rid of Trump and find itself a new leader.

"Another day, another indictment, and another example of how the former president's baggage will hand Joe Biden reelection if Trump is the Republican nominee," Hurd said in a statement from his campaign.

"This is further evidence that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and was ready to do anything it took to cling to power. He will use this latest indictment as another opportunity to manipulate Americans into paying his legal bills," Hurd said of the GOP frontrunner.

"It's time we move beyond dealing with the former president's baggage," Hurd said, arguing that the Republican Party "needs a leader who isn't afraid of bullies like Trump."

"These complicated times demand common sense leadership — and America deserves a leader who knows we are better together rather than someone who is interested in tearing us apart," he said.

Hurd, a longshot candidate for the GOP nomination, told NBC News on Monday that he has still not met the donor requirement for participating in the first primary debate next week, though he said he is "really close."

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 8:03 AM EDT

Trump now faces a total of 91 criminal counts

Former US President Donald Trump looks on during Round 3 at the LIV Golf-Bedminster 2023 at the Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey on August 13, 2023.

It's a record unlikely to be broken anytime soon.

The latest indictment against Trump charges him with 13 criminal counts, including a violation of Georgia's RICO Act, which carries a penalty of between five and 20 years in prison.

These are on top of the 78 criminal counts Trump already faces in the three other active criminal cases, bringing his grand, grim total to 91 counts.

When it comes to racking up criminal counts, Trump is a pioneer in his field: No other U.S. president has ever been charged with crimes, let alone more than seven dozen of them at once. And no former president has run for another term in office while fending off potentially hundreds of years of prison time.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 7:10 AM EDT

Trump responds to latest charges: 'The Witch Hunt continues!'

Former US president and 2024 Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023. 

Trump's first social media reaction to his latest batch of criminal charges struck a familiar chord, using some of the same language he has deployed for years against his investigators.

"So, the Witch Hunt continues!" he said in a Truth Social post at 1:28 a.m. ET.

Facing 13 felony counts, Trump railed against Fani Willis, the Atlanta prosecutor who led the state probe, as "an out of control and very corrupt District Attorney who campaigned and raised money on, 'I will get Trump.'"

He also seized on a moment of confusion from the court Monday — where a docket report showing charges against Trump was filed online, then quickly deleted — as he asserted that the case "sounds Rigged to me!"

And he once again claimed without evidence that the criminal charges against him are part of a conspiracy to undermine his presidential campaign.

"Witch Hunt!" he exclaimed.

Kevin Breuninger

Tue, Aug 15 2023 2:58 AM EDT

GOP candidates Hutchinson and Ramaswamy respond to indictment

Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson delivers remarks at the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference at the Washington Hilton on June 23, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson reiterated his previous comments saying Trump has "disqualified himself from ever holding our nation's highest office again."

"Those words are more true today than ever before," he said in a statement. The former federal prosecutor said he would make further comments after reviewing the details of the indictment.

Hutchinson is among the many candidates competing alongside Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy delivers remarks at the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference at the Washington Hilton on June 23, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Fellow candidate Vivek Ramaswamy criticized the indictment shortly after its release, but noted he had not yet had a chance to read the documents. On News Nation, the businessman said that these charges along with the previous three indictments amount to "politicized persecutions through prosecution."

Christine Wang

Tue, Aug 15 2023 1:00 AM EDT

Trump lawyers criticize indictment

Trump's lawyers condemned the indictment, calling Monday's events "shocking and absurd." In a statement to NBC News, Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg criticized a disputed report on a charging document that circulated ahead of the indictment.

"We look forward to a detailed review of this indictment which is undoubtedly just as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been," Trump's lawyers said in the statement.

Ahead of the indictment, Reuters had published a number of headlines that Georgia had filed charges against Trump. But soon after a spokeswoman for Fulton County courts told CNBC that the reporting was "inaccurate" without clarifying how or why.

— Christine Wang

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