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Donald Trump’s biggest threat is in Georgia; Indictment likely – AG Garland may have to step down for legal, political and cosmetic reasons
Donald Trump’s most serious threat
WASHINGTON DC (January 3, 2023) – A growing group of experts have concluded that the most serious legal threat posed by former President Donald Trump does not come from newly appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith.
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But by the Fulton County, Georgia Attorney; in part because Attorney General Merrick Garland could dismiss one or more proposed federal indictments on legal, political and troubling “optical” grounds, says public interest professor John Banzhaf.
On Sunday, civil rights attorney David Henderson said on MSNBC, “I think it’s the Georgia prosecutors he has to worry about the most because Fani Willis isn’t going to back down and we’re going to have a lot of arguments about prosecuting the ex. President, they will.” Can’t convince.”
Also, just last week, Willis wrote “target” letters to 10 other Republican voters, warning them that they too could be indicted — a very clear sign that she’s making progress. It’s hard to imagine how voters could be prosecuted in a plan to influence the election without also involving the person behind it and moving the whole plan forward, argues Banzhaf.
Laurence Tribe, professor emeritus of constitutional law at Harvard University, wrote: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Georgia were the first jurisdiction to charge a former president with a crime. And I think the charges will stand.”
Previously, THE HILL reported that legal experts say that “an Atlanta-area prosecutor’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to reverse his defeat in the 2020 Georgia election poses the greatest legal threat to the former president,” notes Banzhaf, whose formal and detailed complaint has sparked ongoing Georgia criminal investigations into Donald Trump, including the issuance of subpoenas by a special grand jury against many of those close to him.
“The steps her office has taken, including appointing a special grand jury and subpoenaing high-profile witnesses, are most likely not steps she would have taken had she not felt there was at least a significant possibility that she charges. ‘ said one expert.
He added that “the stakes in holding Trump accountable for an attack on our democratic system of government could not be higher and the evidence is extremely compelling.”
“The most serious prospect of prosecution” is facing Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, the New York Times reported in an op-ed by two experienced prosecutors (a Democrat and a Republican); a conclusion that supports an earlier 100-page analysis by seven legal experts who concluded that the former president faces “a significant risk of potential state charges for multiple crimes”.
As the two former prosecutors concluded, “Willis’ work may present the most serious prospect of prosecution facing Mr. Trump and his enablers… She has a proven record of courage and conviction. a politically powerful group, the Atlanta teachers, as the prime prosecutor in the city’s teacher fraud scandal.
And she’s playing with a strong hand in this investigation. The corroborating record of Mr. Trump’s post-election efforts in Georgia is compelling.”
Georgian criminal law
As the New York Times further stated, “Furthermore, Georgia’s criminal law is among the most favorable in the country to uncover Mr Trump’s alleged wrongdoing. Trump apparently did it under Ms Willis’ jurisdiction: solicitation of voter fraud.
Under this statute [ GA Code § 21-2-604]A person commits criminal solicitation of voter fraud when he or she willfully “encourages, solicits, orders, intrusively, or otherwise attempts to induce another person” to participate in voter fraud.
There are many other indications that Willis could be the first prosecutor to indict Trump, suggests Banzhaf, whose criminal complaint sparked her investigation and who also played a role in recruiting special prosecutors for former President Richard Nixon and eventually hiring the former Vice President Spiro Agnew played for justice.
Professor Banzhaf has long hinted that the probe will indict Willis before a federal prosecutor indicts him for his role in allegedly instigating a Jan. 6 riot. Here are four reasons why. Some of the reasons also apply to a possible federal prosecution for crimes related to the federal documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
FIRST, he says, the evidence in Georgia is clear and straightforward, unlike the words of Trump’s January speech, which many see as ambiguous — words of incitement similar to those of other public figures — and where prosecutors may need to draw conclusions.
In the Georgia case, the language of Trump’s phone call with Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is very precise in his demands, the tone in the audio indicates Trump was not joking or speaking generally, others who heard the phone call no doubt took notes and some of they went to Trump, and there is ample additional evidence of Trump’s criminal intent to influence the election results.
The fact that Trump, who was able to run the Justice Department, specifically mentioned possible criminal penalties if his wishes were not met, and had similar calls made by others in his camp, is overwhelming evidence of his criminal intentions, Banzhaf concludes. noting that many other criminal law experts, including several people well acquainted with Georgian law, have publicly stated that they came to the same conclusion.
SECOND, an indictment and trial in Georgia would raise no suspicion – and create very poor “optics” – of a new president seeking political revenge and protection from competition in the 2024 presidential election by attempting to imprison, or at least harm, his opposition Federal lawsuits and the proceedings themselves inflict.
Incoming presidents imprisoning their predecessors is what we and others around the world associate with tin-horn dictators in third-world countries with corrupt governments, not the US, argues Banzhaf.
It’s worse here, as polls suggest that already-declared candidate Trump would be the strongest opponent of Joe Biden or any other Democrat in the 2024 presidential race. Charging him with federal crimes, let alone putting him behind bars during this election, would be considered by many politically motivated charges.
Also, it seems unfair to many to use the entire resources of the United States government against one person, even a rich and powerful person like Trump.
An indictment by a district attorney’s office would avoid all of these problems and perceptions, Banzhaf notes, potentially giving it an even greater chance of success and avoiding a jury annulment at a trial.
THIRD, there is no free speech issue as there would be prosecution for Trump’s speech at the January 6 rally.
According to the judgment of the Brandenburg Federal Court of Justice, the government may only prosecute a political speech if it is “aimed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is probably to incite or provoke such acts” – in other words, it must create a clear and present danger. [emphasis added]
But given the time that elapsed between Trump’s speech and the lawless actions of his supporters — enough time, for example, for authorities to take preemptive steps if they seemed warranted at the time — it’s not clear that the lawless actions were “imminent.” forthcoming”. forthcoming”. forthcoming”. forthcoming”. ‘, similar to a hypothetical crowd being told to ‘hang them now’.
And more importantly, can it be said or even proven that the comments “probably” led to illegal activity?
For example, at the time of the speeches, why didn’t various officials and law enforcement officials issue clear warnings of possible lawlessness when his words so clearly “likely to incite or provoke violence”?
If that wasn’t the case, which appears to be the case, it suggests that even experts may not have believed that wrongdoing was “probable” – not just possible or conceivable. In this respect, hindsight can be questionable, suspect and not very convincing, argues Banzhaf.
FINALLY, Willis plans to apply Georgia’s RICO — its Thug-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — to any prosecution of Trump.
Banzhaf, who has been familiar with the federal RICO statute since writing the memo that led to the federal government’s successful RICO indictment of the big tobacco companies, points out that Georgia’s RICO statute is even more powerful and far-reaching than that federal.
Among other things, it defines racketeering more broadly than federal statutes, takes less to prove a pattern of racketeering activity, and doesn’t always require the existence of an “enterprise” — particularly an illegal or criminal enterprise — to constitute racketeering. In fact, Willis successfully used RICO to prosecute a case of teacher fraud.
Banzhaf also notes that RICO requires at least two independent illegal extortion activities – “predicate offenses” – to prove a corruption pattern by Trump and his alleged co-conspirators by making false claims that Trump and some of his allies were accused of making Georgia’s RICO have law more than adequate.
Extortion, which is a crime in Georgia, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a hefty fine, and surrender of ill-gotten gains. Most criminals convicted of extortion offenses in Georgia are in prison.
Because many people very close and associated with Trump have been subpoenaed, anyone who believes Trump needs to be prosecuted should keep a very close eye on Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, the law professor advises.