Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Last Call For The Unindicted Co-Conspirators

To complete our post trifecta here on Indictment Day,we take a look at one of the unindicted co-conspirators in Fani Willis's case against Trump: current Georgia GOP Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who is now facing a special prosecutor to determine if he should be among the charged.
A state agency is moving ahead with plans that will determine whether Lt. Gov. Burt Jones faces criminal charges as part of a scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Jones is one of 30 people who prosecutors said participated in a conspiracy to overturn the election but were not charged in a Fulton County indictment released late Monday. But Jones may yet face charges, and his fate will rest with a special prosecutor who will determine whether further investigation is needed.

Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia, said he has reviewed the Fulton County indictment and hopes to appoint a special prosecutor to consider Jones’ actions soon.

In a social media post Tuesday afternoon, Jones did not directly address a possible investigation of his actions. He said Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had spent millions of taxpayer dollars and 2 1/2 years “orchestrating a constant media and PR campaign for the sole purpose of furthering her own political career.”

“While the Fulton County district attorney continues to pursue the political vendettas of the past — I have and will continue to look forward, solving the most pressing issues facing our city and our state,” Jones added.

The steps toward a possible investigation of Jones follow Monday’s indictment of 19 people — including former President Donald Trump — on allegations that they conspired to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia in 2020.

Jones, a state senator at the time, played a prominent role as Republicans in the General Assembly considered rejecting Georgia’s official presidential electors and appointing a slate of Trump electors instead.

Jones and a handful of other senators pressed for a special legislative session to consider appointing the Trump electors, supported lawsuits that sought to void the results and pressed Vice President Mike Pence to reject the official results when Congress met to certify Biden’s victory.

Monday’s Fulton County indictment did not name Jones, but it referenced his efforts to rally support for overturning Biden’s victory. It noted that on Dec. 7, 2020, a tweet by “unindicted co-conspirator Individual 8″ urged Georgians to “call your state Senate & House Reps & ask them to sign the petition for a special session. We must have free & fair elections in GA & this is our only path to ensuring every legal vote is counted.”

The tweet matches one that Jones shared on the same date.

The indictment mostly notes Jones’ role as one of the fake Republican electors. In that capacity, the indictment says Individual 8 participated in a conspiracy that involved impersonating a public officer by falsely saying they were the state’s duly elected presidential electors, forging fake Electoral College paperwork, making false statements and writings, and filing false documents.

The indictment includes charges against some Republican electors — such as state Sen. Shawn Still — but not others. It’s unclear whether Willis intended to charge Jones, but she never got the chance.

Last year, Jones objected to being investigated by Willis after she hosted a fundraiser for the eventual Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Charlie Bailey. Jones argued Willis’ political support for his opponent constituted a conflict of interest.

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney disqualified Willis and her office from questioning Jones as part of their investigation. The judge asked the prosecuting attorneys council — a state agency that assists district attorneys — to appoint an outside prosecutor to investigate Jones
Skandalakis was waiting for Willis to complete her investigation. Now that the grand jury has acted, he said he has reached out to Willis to obtain a copy of a special grand jury report on her investigation and to get a briefing on the investigation to date.

With that information in hand, Skandalakis said he will find a special prosecutor to make the final decision on whether more investigation or criminal charges against Jones are warranted.
We'll see where this all goes, but expect more of the fake electors to be charged in an effort to defraud the state of Georgia.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

“Stalin would be proud” of the Fulton County indictment, claimed right-wing radio host Mark Levine during a Monday night appearance on Fox News. (Not mentioned during the broadcast: emails from the January 6 committee show Levin chatting with John Eastman, a Trump attorney who was also charged in the Georgia racketeering case.)

Other commentators suggested that prosecutors were setting off a potentially catastrophic backlash against the left.

“Civil war,” tweeted media personality Tim Pool (who, in fairness, has authored similar posts for years).

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also took to Fox News to warn that “we are drifting towards the greatest constitutional crisis since the 1850s,” Media Matters reported. Gingrich also opined that the latest criminal charges against Trump represent “a desperate last ditch effort by a corrupt machine to destroy their most dangerous opponent.”

Some conservative voices claimed the indictment of some of Trump’s attorneys on election interference crimes foretold a crackdown on lawyers writ large.

“How are all the lawyers in America feeling today?” tweeted Dilbert creator-turned-wingnut Scott Adams. “Safe?”

Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer indicted in Fulton County for alleged racketeering offenses, tweeted that “the Democrats and the Fulton County DA are criminalizing the practice of law. I am resolved to trust the Lord and I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him.”

Other Trump fans claim the indictment imperils even more Americans for innocuous activities.

“Apparently illegal in America now,” tweeted former One America News Network personality Liz Wheeler, listing out activities mentioned in the indictment like “Telling people to watch TV,” “Asking for phone numbers,” “Renting rooms at the Capitol,” “Advocating for signature verification,” and “Tweets.”

“It’s not just Trump they’re coming after,” Wheeler wrote. “They’re coming next for our free speech if we dare dissent.”

The indictment does not claim that tweeting is illegal. It claims that Trump and allies used Twitter during an extensive effort to overturn a presidential election. Nevertheless, Wheeler and other figures on the right have repeated the refrain that the indictment might criminalize watching television.

“Everyone should read the Georgia indictment to discover how nonsensical it is,” tweeted conservative columnist Gary Abernathy. “This is actually one of the counts—apparently, sending a tweet encouraging people to watch TV is a crime.”

That is not true, as the indictment (or even the screenshot Abernathy posted) reveals. The indictment describes Trump’s promotion of an election-denying OANN segment. Trump’s hyping of the segment is not described as a crime, but as an overt act in furtherance of a conspiracy, much as renting a car is not illegal, but might be relevant to a criminal case if the rental car is used in a series of bank robberies.

Some talking heads suggested radical action to block a Trump conviction. “I think this is so dangerous to the very survival of the republic that it has to be stopped,” Gingrich said on Fox.

Another Monday night Fox guest, Mike Davis, pointed to the difficulty of securing a pardon in Georgia. If convicted on the state’s RICO statute, Trump could neither be pardoned by a president nor Georgia's governor.

“Under the Georgia law, there is a statute that limits the Republican governor’s ability to pardon, and I think that the legislature in Georgia needs to amend that statute and give Governor Kemp the ability to pardon in this situation because this is clear election interference,” Davis said.

“It is clear Democrat lawfareby Democrat prosecutors where they are trying to have Democrat prosecutors, Democrat judges and Democrat juries and Democrat hellholes decide the next presidential election instead of the American people.”
I'd say as a layman that the RICO laws make it pretty clear that doing things like "tweeting to watch TV is a crime" when it's used to further a criminal conspiracy like when "criminalizing sending mail" is illegal when it's mail fraud but these are, ostensibly, actual lawyers making these idiotic comparisons. 

Mr. RICO just got RICO-ed.

In the 1980s Rudy Giuliani all but reinvented an underused 1970 law against racketeering. He made it his mission in a two-year stint as the No. 3 official at the Justice Department to hire prosecutors across the country who would ferret out and prosecute criminal enterprises of all shapes and sizes. Then, as Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, he wielded the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act with huge success against Mafia dons, corrupt politicians and 1980s Masters-of-the-Universe financiers like Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken.

Now Giuliani, 79, is on the other side of the law that was the essential scaffolding of his own career. He was accused alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others in an indictment late Monday of operating a criminal enterprise that sought to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Georgia, in violation of Georgia’s RICO Act, which is modeled on the federal law he once championed. He was also charged with other counts, including soliciting public officials to violate their oaths, making false statements and conspiracy.

“I’m the same Rudy Giuliani that went after the Mafia,” Giuliani said Tuesday afternoon on the Greg Kelly Show on WABC radio. “The same quest for justice. Gosh almighty, if Donald Trump committed a crime, love him though I do, I’d put him in jail.”

The indictment punctuates a remarkable fall from grace for Giuliani, who parlayed his success taking on the mob and Wall Street miscreants into two high-profile terms as New York City’s first Republican mayor in decades. His dramatic efforts in reducing crime were widely copied elsewhere, and his resolute response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks earned him the nickname “America’s mayor.”
How far these clowns have fallen, indeed.

Fani Flagged The Whole Gang In Georgia

Apparently today's planned testimony was either moved up to yesterday or it was a rope-a-dope worthy of Ali in his prime, because Fulton County, Georgia DA Fani Willis got a true bill of indictment for not just Trump, but his whole Georgia gang late last night.

Former President Donald Trump and 18 allies were charged on Monday with conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

In a sweeping 98-page indictment handed up by a Fulton County grand jury, Trump was charged with racketeering and a dozen other felonies, such as solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree and false statements and writings. The indictment contained 41 criminal counts.

It marks the fourth time that Trump has been criminally charged ― and the second time this August the former president has been indicted for his attempts to cling to power.

The Georgia case is unique because in addition to Trump, it also charges a cast of supporting players— from former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer.

The long-anticipated indictment, which came after the grand jurors heard roughly 10 hours of testimony on Monday, will place Atlanta at the center of an historic legal battle that could be bitterly waged in court as Trump campaigns to return to the White House. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing in Georgia after the 2020 election.

Also indicted Tuesday were Trump co-defendants: state Sen. Shawn Still; attorneys John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Bob Cheeley, Ray Smith III and Kenneth Chesebro; former assistant U.S. attorney general Jeffrey Clark; GOP strategist Michael Roman; former Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton; former Coffee County GOP chairwoman Cathy Latham; Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall; publicist Trevian Kutti; Illinois pastor Stephen Cliffguard Lee; and Harrison Floyd, who briefly ran for a suburban Atlanta U.S. House seat before serving as director of Black Voices for Trump.

The charges are the culmination of a 2 1/2-year criminal investigation launched by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis shortly after Trump’s leaked Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Brad Raffensperger, during which he asked the Georgia secretary of state to “find” him 11,780 votes.

Fani Willis didn't just throw the book at Trump and his co-conspirators, she put the entire Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System in a railgun and set the dial to 41.

PS: Georgia's RICO statue alone is five to twenty in the state pen, and Trump is facing the rest of his life in prison if convicted. And turns out GOP Gov. Brian Kemp can't actually pardon Trump, either. The state is one of the few that has an independent pardon and parole commission, as some of you have pointed out. Trump would have to serve at least five years before even being eligible.

And on top of all that, Georgia state courts regularly broadcast proceedings.

It'll be must-see TV.

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