Several top members of the Republican Party now face criminal charges for their alleged involvement in the attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis obtained a sprawling, 41-count RICO indictment on Monday which covers some of the top political leaders in the GOP.
Most notably and obviously, that’s former President and current 2024 GOP presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump. But the charges extend far beyond Trump.
Willis also charged Mark Meadows, the former president’s ex chief of staff who currently plays a leading role at an influential D.C. conservative advocacy group. David Shafer, a former Georgia state senator who recently left his position as head of the state’s GOP, was also indicted. Shawn Still, currently a GOP state senator in Georgia, was also charged. Other conservative notables, including Claremont Institute-affiliated legal mind John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, once a much-discussed GOP presidential candidate, are also included in the list of those charged.
It’s a reality which is both stunning and yet not wholly surprising, coming after years of reporting and investigations which revealed how Trump coopted GOP officials into his effort to hold onto power after the 2020 election.
Part of this is due to the nature of the scheme: Trump tried to cling to power using the people available to him, the most loyal of which held positions in the political party which remains beholden to him.
Willis charged all 19 defendants with one RICO count, saying that they each joined a conspiracy to illegally flip the election result to Trump. Trump faces 13 counts in the indictment, tied only with his attorney Giuliani for the number of charges.
Willis alleged in detail that Trump convened calls with GOP lawmakers and officials in states across the country, trying to enlist them in his effort to reverse his loss. This allegedly included calls to GOP lawmakers in key swing states, including the leaders of the Michigan and Pennsylvania state senates.
Trump allegedly engaged in this national effort at persuasion with the help of Mark Meadows, his then-chief of staff, who allegedly asked Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) to provide contact information for top Pennsylvania state lawmakers.
It’s his involvement in Trump’s infamous January 2021 call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) which Willis cited in charging Meadows, using it as the basis for one count of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.
Willis also said that Meadows tried to watch an election audit in Cobb County, Georgia in December 2020, before being turned away by state officials.
Meadows has gone on since leaving the White House to become a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute, a nonprofit which regularly conducts trainings for Congressional Republican staffers.
Trump also sought to stay in power via the fake electors scheme. Willis brought charges against three of the fake electors.
One of them is David Shafer, a former state senator who recently stepped down as chair of the state GOP. Shafer faces eight counts stemming from his alleged involvement in the scheme.
Per the indictment, Trump attorney and alleged fake elector coordinator Ken Chesebro contacted Shafer and another unnamed person in December 2020, saying that he had been asked to help coordinate the electors. Chesebro then allegedly sent Shafer documents that the fake electors would use to participate in the scheme.
Shafer allegedly went on to cast electoral ballots as if Trump had won the state, along with several others.
For that, Shafer faces charges of criminal attempt to commit filing false documents, impersonating a public officer, forgery, and false statements.
Shawn Still is another fake elector who also faces charges of impersonation, forgery, false statements, and criminal attempt to commit filing false documents. Still was elected to the Georgia state senate last year, and is currently serving his term.
Per the indictment, Still agreed to act as a fake elector as part of the broader scheme to keep Trump in office. Willis wrote in the indictment that other co-conspirators also agreed to act as fake electors in Georgia, but were not charged.
Willis’ indictment comes after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel last month brought charges against fake electors in the state, which included Michigan GOP leader Meshawn Maddock.