In a strongly worded statement issued on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump criticized Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, labeling her as “corrupt.” Trump also made a commitment to release what he termed an “irrefutable report” countering the extensive indictment related to alleged interference in Georgia’s election.
Trump’s condemnation of the Atlanta prosecutor followed mere minutes after Willis unveiled the indictment.
He characterized her as being “out of control and very corrupt.”
In a subsequent announcement, Trump pledged to hold a press conference on the upcoming Monday, during which he intends to provide a comprehensive response to the indictment that not only targets him but also involves 18 co-defendants facing broad racketeering charges.
In a social media post, Trump asserted, “All charges should be dropped against me & others,” emphasizing his anticipation of a “complete EXONERATION!”
The timeline for Trump and his co-defendants to surrender to authorities in Atlanta has been set for Friday, August 25.
The indictment accuses the former president of orchestrating an extensive scheme to manipulate the 2020 election results in his favor, starting with an audacious campaign to reverse his loss in the key state of Georgia.
Trump now faces a total of four criminal indictments, encompassing 91 counts across two states and two separate federal charges.
Notably, despite these legal challenges, Trump maintains a commanding position as the leading contender in the Republican presidential race, as demonstrated by most polls indicating approximately 50% support for his candidacy.
Details about whether Trump will face a distinct arraignment or appear alongside his 18 co-defendants, who have also been indicted for various aspects of the alleged plot, remain uncertain.
The list of co-defendants includes prominent Trump associates such as Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and right-wing law professor John Eastman.
The assignment of the case to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, chosen through a random selection process, took place earlier this year upon the appointment of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
The charges leveled under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years upon conviction for all defendants.
Significantly, neither the U.S. president nor the Georgia governor holds the power to pardon individuals convicted of state crimes, thereby heightening the potential consequences for Trump and his co-defendants.
Legal analysts speculate that this situation could lead to Trump’s associates cooperating with prosecutors in exchange for leniency, ultimately raising the stakes for the entire group.
While there is an overlap between the Georgia case and Trump’s recent indictment in Washington, D.C., the legal approach taken by Willis contrasts significantly with that of special counsel Jack Smith, who oversees the federal investigation.
The indictment document describes the former president, his former chief of staff, his legal team, and the ex-mayor of New York as members of a “criminal organization” and “enterprise,” evoking imagery reminiscent of organized crime syndicates and gang leaders. The allegations extend beyond Georgia and involve other states as well.
Among the 161 specific acts detailed in the indictment, prosecutors emphasize the January 2, 2021 phone call in which Trump reportedly pressured Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the required votes to overturn his election loss, a move deemed to have violated Georgia law against soliciting officials to breach their oaths.
This phone call instigated a nearly two-year investigation by a Georgia grand jury, culminating in a report issued last January that recommended these sweeping charges.
Surprisingly, a separate grand jury acted sooner than expected, indicting Trump and the co-defendants a day before widely anticipated.
Trump criticized the prosecution for an inadvertent posting of the charging document on a Fulton County court website, attributing the situation to what he described as an apparent clerical error.