Of all the legal threats Trump is facing, is this the one that could take him down? | Donald Trump

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Donald Trump’s lawyers make a living.

In recent months, the former president’s lawyers have rushed to put out fire after fire as they defend Trump against investigations into smuggling classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, his part in the storming of the Capitol during his Last Days in Office, and twin investigations into his New York business dealings.

But the biggest legal threat to Trump may come from the silent operation of a grand jury in Georgia hearing evidence of his illegal efforts to reverse the result of the 2020 presidential election and prevent Joe Biden from coming to power.

“It’s a greater legal threat to the president and some of his followers than any other investigation going on right now,” said Ronald Carlson, a leading Georgia trial attorney and law professor at the University of Georgia.
“Some of the possible charges carry very severe penalties.”

Carlson said that even if Trump were to be prosecuted for removing classified papers from the White House, other officials who mishandled classified material would only receive felony convictions and probation, such as former CIA director David Petraeus.

He said New York’s investigations into financial fraud allegations are more focused on Trump’s companies than the former president. It remains unclear what criminal charges could come from Congress’ investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on Congress.

But Carlson said strong evidence of Trump’s extensive effort to reverse his small loss to Biden in Georgia by pressuring state officials to commit fraud puts the former president at the center of an investigation into alleged crimes carrying harsher penalties. could face in the other probes.

An analysis by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, concluded that Trump is “at significant risk of potential state charges based on multiple crimes” after what it described as his “ongoing attack” on the Georgia electoral process.

Prosecutors appear to be considering charges, among other things, under anti-conspiracy laws designed to fight organized crime, which could carry long prison terms.

In Atlanta, Fulton’s district attorney Fani Willis has assembled a “special purpose grand jury” to focus for up to a year on Trump’s multifaceted attempt to determine Georgia’s election results.

Willis appears to be accumulating a significant amount of testimony from some of Trump’s closest allies who witnessed the defeated president’s actions and, in some cases, intervened himself, including his attorney and adviser, Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor. Two days before testifying last month, Giuliani was told he is also a target of the criminal investigation.

The grand jury is also seeking testimony from Senator Lindsey Graham, an ardent convert to Trump who contacted Georgia officials who wanted to change the vote, and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Lawyers said that given that any charges against Trump would further fuel America’s already raucous politics, Willis wants to make sure she has a watertight case to avoid allegations of political prosecution. But that also means any decision to sue could come around the time the next presidential campaign gets off the ground, with Trump hinting that he will run again.

Evidence presented to the grand jury is classified, but any case against Trump will likely be built around a tape recording of his appeal to Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to demand that he “find” enough votes to secure Biden’s victory in to undo the state.

When Raffensperger turned down the demand, Trump made vague threats to charge him with a crime for failing to investigate allegations that the Democrats had rigged the vote.

“You know what they’ve done and you don’t report it. You know, that’s a criminal offence. And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk for you,” he told Raffensperger.

The then-president spoke to other high-ranking Georgian Republicans, including the governor, Brian Kemp, and attorney general, Chris Carr, urging them to challenge the state’s vote count. They too withstood the pressure.

Raffensperger and Carr have already testified before the grand jury. Kemp resists a subpoena.

Trump also tried to get federal prosecutors to intervene. His lawyers filed a series of lawsuits in which they made extraordinary claims about foreign interference and other conspiracy theories. They were all fired.

When all that failed, Giuliani and others made a false claim that the law allowed the Georgian legislature to replace its electoral college members with a slate that would vote for the defeated president. Lawmakers refused to play along, and the Trump campaign instead sent 16 “fake voters” with false election certificates — another failed attempt to undo the election, repeated in six other states lost by Trump.

Willis has told some of those involved in the fake voter plot that they are the target of criminal investigation by the grand jury, including Georgian Republican party chairman, David Shafer, and a senator, Brandon Beach.

Carlson said the combination of Trump’s actions may amount to a significant amount of evidence of broad misdeeds.

“The focus for this grand jury is on recruiting voter fraud. Presumably most of the evidence they receive will focus on that. Then false statements will be made to (government) authorities. Creating a slate of voters who took the stance that Trump had won the election will fall under that kind of umbrella. Then we will probably have the grand jury looking into criminal conspiracy and breach of oath of office,” he said.

A combination of all or some of these charges could also open the way for Trump to be prosecuted for a pattern of criminal acts under the Georgia statute for racketeering and corrupt organizations (Rico). Although Rico is more commonly associated with organized crime prosecutions, Willis used it seven years ago to convict 11 Atlanta teachers for determining test scores for their students.

The prosecutor has called in a specialist from Rico for the investigation into Trump.
The special grand jury could sit until May next year, giving them plenty of time to gather evidence. But unlike regular grand juries, which only meet for two months and file charges, it can only file a report recommending prosecution. Willis must then decide whether to follow that recommendation and appoint a regular grand jury to press charges against Trump or someone else.

Carlson predicted that if the special grand jury recommends prosecution, the prosecutor will proceed.

“She is a very powerful and bold advocate. I believe she will continue,” he said.

The Brookings Institution said that if Trump is charged with a felony, he will likely argue that he cannot be held criminally liable for his actions as president. But it said the defense is likely to fail because the immunity from liability extends only to actions taken by the president that fell within the scope of his lawful duties.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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