Fulton County DA Fani Willis sorted Trump’s attempt to reverse his 2020 election loss into several distinct categories, or schemes, in her indictment of the former President and eighteen others.
The allegations come under the umbrella of a RICO charge, with one doled out to all of the 19 defendants.
But from there, Willis organized the conspiracy to keep Trump in power into several distinct, allegedly criminal plots, telling the story of how the former President recruited allies into a plan to overturn the election result in 161 distinct overt criminal acts.
The acts together make up the racketeering conspiracy which, Willis said, encompasses Trump’s sprawling attempt to cling to power. That includes the creation of fake elector slates, Trump’s decision to harangue federal and state officials to take steps that would keep him in power, a harassment campaign against Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman, and efforts to seize Georgia voting machines.
Below is a look at each of the groupings which Willis is using to charge the election interference attempt.
Creating fake electors across the country
Willis described the fake electors scheme as a plot to create and distribute forged Electoral College documents, and as a conspiracy to impersonate a public official.
In that section of the indictment, attorneys Ken Chesebro and John Eastman face charges, as well as as three of the Georgia fake electors.
Willis said in the indictment that Chesebro and Eastman worked with Giuliani to create slates of electors across the country, with Chesebro handling outreach to state lawmakers in several swing states that the Trump campaign was seeking to wrench back into its column.
The scope of the scheme that Willis offered isn’t only confined to Georgia; Chesebro’s alleged outreach to officials in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada — all of which resulted in fake electors being sent to Washington — is described in the indictment.
Willis also included the participation of Mike Roman, a longtime GOP operative and voter fraud hype man who allegedly worked with Chesebro to organize the the fake electors, and who allegedly helped deliver the fake electoral votes to Congress.
Here, Willis is careful to delineate who is participating in the conspiracy to create the fake electors, and who actually posed as a member of the Electoral College.
The three Georgia fake electors who are charged accordingly receive a count each of “impersonating a public officer.” Chesebro, Eastman, Roman, Trump, Giuliani, and others are charged with conspiracy to do the same — they’re the ones who organized and asked others to do the impersonating.
Asking lawmakers to commit a crime
For the fake electors scheme to work, Trump and his associates believed that state lawmakers would need to decertify Biden’s electoral votes. As Willis phrased it, the aim for this part of the scheme was for Trump supporters to spread lies to lawmakers in Georgia and other states, creating confusion and leading lawmakers to the point that they would illegally “appoint their own presidential electors” who would then vote for Trump.
That included, Georgia prosecutors said, nearly one dozen calls to Pennsylvania legislators from Trump himself and his attorneys as part of the effort to make the fake electors scheme happen via the state legislature.
For charging this aspect of the alleged scheme, Willis focused on the conduct of Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, and Ray Smith III, who were involved in various ways with hearings that the Georgia state Senate convened on the 2020 election. Willis charged them all with solicitation of violation of an oath by a public official for their alleged roles in the plan.
At a Dec.d 3 hearing mentioned in the indictment, for example, the group tried to persuade Georgia senators that the 2020 election had been so fraudulent that they needed to re-appoint Trump electors. Giuliani caught a separate false statements charge for making a series of outlandish claims about fraud in the election at the hearing.
None of the legislatures heeded the call from Trump’s attorneys to, as Willis put it, violate their oath of office and illegally appoint the fake electors as the real ones.
Asking Georgia election officials to commit a crime
The efforts didn’t stop with lawmakers, Willis said.
She also charged Trump and several of his top deputies — including Mark Meadows — with alleged crimes relating to his attempt to have Georgia’s governor and state election officials change the result in the state outright. This would have allowed the state’s fake electors to claim that they had been lawfully certified; Willis charged it, once again, as solicitation of violation of oath by a public official.
In particular, the infamous Jan. 2, 2021 call that Trump placed to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) features heavily in the charges for this area of the indictment. That was when Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” exactly one more vote than the margin of his loss.
Again, Willis said, this was effectively asking Raffensperger to clear the way for the Georgia fake electors to take the place of the real, Biden ones. Trump was charged separately for the lies that he told to Raffensperger about the election while on the call.
Willis also brought in a September 2021 letter which Trump sent to Raffensperger in which he asked him to decertify the election, “or whatever the correct legal remedy is,” and declare him the winner.
None of that worked.
Asking federal officials to commit a crime
But Trump also tried the same tactic with federal officials, Willis said.
The charges here differ: Jeff Clark, Trump’s attempted DOJ lackey, received two charges: one umbrella RICO count, and one count of a criminal attempt to commit false statements for his efforts to have senior DOJ officials send a letter to Georgia claiming that the election had gone awry.
And when all of the above failed, Willis wrote, the pressure campaign turned to Vice President Mike Pence.
Willis described in detail as part of the RICO charge how Chesebro and Eastman formulated bogus legal theories which would have seen Pence reject electoral votes outright. That includes an uncharged claim that Eastman lied about fraud in the election to persuade Pence to delay the January 6 joint session.
Sidney Powell’s voting machine caper
As all of this was going on, and even after January 6, Willis alleged, Kraken lawyer Sidney Powell was running a plan to steal voting machines from Coffee County and break into them for data.
It was part of a broader, feverish, and unhinged sense that data machinations at Dominion Voting Systems had somehow caused Biden’s loss.
Willis charged Powell and three others with conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, and conspiracy to commit computer breach as part of this plan.
As Willis said in the indictment, the plot never went anywhere: Powell continued to try to obtain and examine voter data from the machines after January 6, but with no result.
Harassing Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman
And finally, one of the core, repeated claims that Giuliani and Trump made throughout their attempt to undo Biden’s win in Georgia was based on a video of election worker Ruby Freeman, which they falsely stated showed Freeman tampering with ballots.
Freeman wouldn’t bend to the intimidation. So, Willis said, members of the Trump racketeering conspiracy met with Freeman and offered her “help” in a bid to trick her into a false confession that she committed fraud.
That involved a byzantine scheme in which Trevian Kutti, a PR person for Ye — then known as Kanye West — allegedly tried to entrap Freeman into lying that she had participated in an election theft scheme.
There was a broader goal here: whatever false admission Freeman made could be used at Georgia Senate hearings as part of the bigger harebrained attempt to flip the state’s electoral votes to Trump.
Alas, it, too, did not succeed. Those involved face charges from Willis of influencing witnesses and conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements.