DA Threatens Felony Prosecution Of Trump Over Call; GA Prosecutor to Conduct Criminal Investigation – As Law Prof Requested
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Georgia DA Threatens Felony Prosecution Of Trump
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 4, 2021) - Fani Willis, the newly elected district attorney of Georgia’s Fulton County, said that she stands ready to prosecute Donald Trump over the telephone call he made Saturday to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Strongly suggesting the type of crime she says her office will be investigating, she proclaimed that "anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable.”
Her statement comes after a formal complaint alleging Trump's apparent violation of three different criminal election laws was filed with the State Election Board of Georgia by public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
He suggested that, during a telephone conversation Saturday, Trump may have violated one or more of the following Georgia criminal statutes:
1. GA Code § 21-2-603 - Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud
2. GA Code § 21-2-604 - Criminal Solicitation to Commit Election Fraud
3. GA Code § 21-2-597 - Intentional Interference With Performance of Election Duties
Banzhaf requested either that the Board investigate to see if any felonies had been committed, or that the Board refer it for investigation to another Georgia entity.
It appears that the Board declined to conduct its own investigation because of a possible conflict of interest in light of Raffensperger's involvement.
More specifically, Raffensperger, a Republican, said that he likely won’t launch an investigation, citing potential conflicts of interest.
Moreover, Willis office would be the “appropriate venue” for an investigation, he determined.
So, the criminal investigation will be conducted by Willis' office, notes Banzhaf.
Banzhaf played a major role in obtaining a special prosecutor to investigate President Richard M. Nixon, and successfully sued former vice president Spiro T. Agnew.
He has also filed complaints against other public figures including former congressman Barney Frank, former congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, and Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby.
Banzhaf notes that violations of state criminal laws could be crucial in Trump's case, since he cannot pardon himself for actions which constitute crimes under state laws, nor could he be pardoned by Mike Pence should Trump resign before his term ends and Pence become president.
Indeed, Banzhaf notes that Trump's telephone call may also constitute a crime under federal law; for example 52 USC 20511: VOTING AND ELECTIONS, Criminal penalties.