If an FBI search of his home and public inquiries into the attack on the Capitol have intensified pressure on Donald Trump, the investigation in the US state of Georgia could bring about his downfall, experts say.
But the 76-year-old Republican asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to change the ballot’s outcome with a phone call to “find” 12,000 votes in his favor. In a memo released in October 2021, lawyers for the Brookings Institution think tank believed the billionaire in this key state was at “significant prosecution risk.” Fannie Willis, the prosecutor for Fulton County, Georgia, which includes Atlanta, instructed a grand jury in May to decide whether there is enough evidence to indict Donald Trump.
At the end of the lengthy investigation, legal experts said the former president could be charged with electoral fraud and interference. Mr. Denies any wrongdoing. Trump could be prosecuted under a law routinely used to bring down members of the Mafia.
Fannie Willis has already been able to gather testimony from people in the former real estate magnate’s inner circle, particularly his former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who is the subject of a criminal investigation. The judge also required Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, who was slammed by Donald Trump for certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, to testify after the November 2022 legislative elections.
Brad Raffensberger and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who has been under pressure from the former president, have already been heard by a grand jury. Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is in the crosshairs of justice, as is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the ex-president, accused of suggesting that mail-in votes in Georgia should not be counted. He refuses.
“Soliciting testimony from people close to Donald Trump, including Fannie Willis and Mark Meadows, shows the seriousness of this investigation and how concerned Trump should be about the risk of prosecution,” the committee’s chairman, Noah Bookbinder, tweeted. Corrupt Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
A list of key witnesses doesn’t guarantee the prosecution will have a solid foundation, however, New York attorney and former federal prosecutor Kevin O’Brien points out.
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State prosecutors typically have less expertise than the judiciary and may opt for a “wait-and-see approach,” O’Brien said. “So far, Donald Trump has managed to avoid all responsibility for his actions, whether in Georgia or elsewhere,” he added.
But for some experts, the trial in Georgia is separate from the Justice Department’s investigation and has a better chance of leading to an indictment. For David French, a conservative political analyst, Georgia is the main risk of legal action for the former president.
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