Key Element For Trump Indictment Filed; Complainant Provides Additional Evidence in Georgia Criminal Investigation
The Indictment Of Former President Trump
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 28, 2021) - The law professor who filed the criminal complaint which triggered the ongoing grand jury investigation of former president Donald Trump in Georgia has just filed additional information with Fani Willis, District Attorney of Fulton County, which he says provides the crucial evidence that Trump was well aware - and even acknowledged - that there was no voter fraud and no election problems, and that he lost the 2020 election.
This, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf - and former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner in a lengthy legal analysis - shows that Trump had the requisite "criminal intent" needed to satisfy the anticipated grand jury indictment of the former president.
A copy of Banzhaf's most recent supplemental criminal filing can be found at BANZHAF FILINGS LED TO CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF TRUMP
According to Willis, her investigation "includes, but is not limited to, potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration."
Banzhaf recently reported several developments suggesting that Willis' investigation is making progress, and is likely to produce an indictment.
For example, it has been reported that two different grand juries have been convened to investigate Trump's alleged and apparently criminal role in trying to influence the presidential election in Georgia, and that they are to be asked to subpoena not only documents but also recordings "in the very near future." There are also other signs of progress, and concerns by others, about her investigation.
In what a person within Willis' office termed "lawyering up," Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appointed a special counsel to represent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger when Attorney General Chris Carr, who would typically represent the state in this criminal investigation of former president Donald Trump, refused to do so.
This move follows reports of conflicts - more specifically, problems in obtaining documents and other cooperation - between the DA and the Secretary of State, says Banzhaf, who notes that one doesn't ordinarily hire a special counsel simply to facilitate the transfer of documents from a cooperating party.
It also follows another unusual appointment by Willis, who has hired a special counsel.
The special counsel, Jack Sharman, who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, has served as a special counsel to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee during the Whitewater investigation involving President Bill Clinton. He also served as a special counsel in the Alabama House during the impeachment probe of then-Gov. Robert Bentley.
As previously reported, the criminal investigation of Trump - and also against U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham - is heating up, with Willis issuing an open records demand for all audio recordings and other communications between Trump and the office of Brad Raffensperger.
This comes as her criminal investigators have reportedly grown frustrated with the alleged lack of full cooperation by Raffensperger's office; a refusal to cooperate which might even rise to the level of a criminal obstruction of justice sufficient to require the issuance of subpoenas to force some of the Secretary's staff members to provide testimony under oath and to share other important information, says Banzhaf.
Willis' decision to investigate whether the former president might be guilty of a criminal conspiracy came as a surprise to many, but not to those familiar with her litigation record.
State Racketeering Cases
Indeed, she recently hired one of the country's leading experts on state racketeering cases to help conduct the investigation; a further signal that the DA in hoping to bring a RICO case against him, says Banzhaf.
Although Willis is already very familiar with Georgia's far reaching RICO statute as a result of winning an unusual RICO case against some teachers who had cheated, she has nevertheless engaged the lawyer who literally wrote the book on state RICO prosecutions - “RICO State by State: A Guide to Litigation Under the State Racketeering Statutes” - to help her carry out a wide ranging investigation which she had earlier said would include possible racketeering activity.
Prof. Banzhaf, who is familiar with the federal RICO statute since he produced the memo which led to the federal government's successful RICO prosecution against the major tobacco companies, points out that the Georgia RICO statute is even more powerful and far reaching than the federal one.
Among other things, it defines racketeering more broadly than the federal law does, takes less to prove a pattern of racketeering activity, and does not always require the existence of an enterprise - especially an illegal or criminal enterprise - to constitute racketeering. For example, the "enterprise" she successfully used in her RICO teacher-cheating case was a school.
Also, notes Banzhaf, although RICO requires at least two independent illegal racketeering activities - "predicate acts" - to prove a pattern of corruption by Trump and his alleged co-conspirators, making false statements such as Trump and some of his allies are alleged to have made would satisfy Georgia's RICO law.
Racketeering, which is a felony in Georgia, can carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison, a hefty fine, and disgorgements of ill-gotten gains. Most felons in Georgia convicted of racketeering offenses do serve time in prison, Banzhaf notes.
This RICO probe is probably the most serious legal threat Trump faces now that he no longer enjoys any protection as president, notes Banzhaf.
It is a very far ranging statute which permits wide disclosure and has a very heavy penalty.
It is also in the hands of a prosecutor who is a Democrat in a heavily Democratic county. Therefore, most members of a grand jury, and of any criminal trial juries in this county, are likely to be very unfriendly to Trump, especially now that he has lost a lot of his clout, and his ability to reach out easily on social media with most of his followers, Banzhaf suggests.