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Trump gets a fourth indictment.
Cue the intro music! We have a fourth indictment!
Nothing goes harder than this music video. I am telling my daughter Leonardo Da Vinci painted this:
With that out of the way, go get yourself a drink, come back, hit the play button again, and read the Jackal to the rhythm of Suavemente. Trump has been indicted in Georgia.
What makes this indictment different from the other three (and a half)?
It is wild, but Trump has now been indicted four times since he left office, which is officially more times than he has been married. Huge accomplishment.
I think when you read the indictment brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (my new band name), a few really important things start to stick out. We can go through them one by one, but I don’t want this to be too heady of a Jackal. Let’s keep it fun.
1. There is a lot of overlap between the Georgia case and Jack Smith’s Federal indictment.
Willis’s indictment lays out - in pretty stunning detail - a plan by Trump and his accomplices to overturn the election in Georgia. Their scheme there was ultimately similar to the one laid out by Smith, which involved having the Secretary of State or Governor of Georgia announce that there had been massive fraud, with the legislature then either invalidating or throwing out Joe Biden’s electors and replacing them with Trump’s.
It is really significant that this case was brought in Georgia, because Willis is making an important and illustrative point. The reason Trump and his team pushed hard in Georgia is because its leadership is all Republicans. Brian Kemp is a Republican. Brad Raffensperger is a Republican. The legislature is all Republicans. If Trump and his team could get them on board, then he could convince Mike Pence to start rejecting electors from other states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Trump didn’t bother with those states because both had Democratic governors. But he did try to push the Republican leadership of Arizona to also reject Biden’s electors, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a case come out of there too at some point.
Overall, Georgia was ground zero for Trump’s plan to overturn the election and Willis goes to extreme lengths to explain it in detail. The indictment is the longest one yet, but it is probably the best read if you want to get a handle on what Trump did.
2. This was a plan that was a long time in the making, even before the election.
This is really significant, and it is more detail than what was provided in Smith’s indictment. Here is Willis:
Did you catch that? Trump drafted a speech prior to the election and claimed that there was voter fraud. In other words, this was always going to be Trump’s play. To add to this fact: Earlier this week a video emerged of Trump associate Roger Stone detailing this exact plan. The problem? Stone was laying it out prior to the election.
These things all go to Trump’s mens rea, which we have discussed before. It is not the most important part of a case, but Willis and Smith will have plenty of evidence to prove that Trump knew he lost, didn’t care, and tried to overturn the election results anyway.
3. Trump is a bad person.
I guess we already knew this, given his decades-long history of wrongdoing (a reminder that Trump’s first run-in with the Justice Department was when he was trying to keep Black Americans out of his apartment buildings). But two additional details emerged from this indictment.
In addition to Trump, a hoard of other people from Trump’s Campaign were indicted, namely Rudy Giuliani. A story broke earlier this week that Giuliani has been begging Trump to cover some of his legal bills, which have been piling up as a result of him fighting off defamation law suits and trying to hold onto his law license. Despite Giuliani going to “bat” for him in the 2020 Election, Trump is keeping the money for himself.
Similarly, Jenna Ellis - who worked with Giuliani - is also facing charges in Georgia, and Trump will not fund her defense because she is supporting Ron DeSantis. I will say this: I do not think Ellis or Giuliani should get off or not be held accountable; they did bad things and should be punished (Giuliani in particular). But I am also not a believer in Karma, and I do not subscribe to the new “F*** around and find out” mantra that everyone is saying. While disclosing that I have a weird, Kevin Bacon-style connection to Ellis, I think they do deserve some sympathy. That’s just me. They can be punished, but what Trump is doing to them is cruel, and I think he deserves the most punishment out of anyone.
So, how bad are things for Trump now?
Things are certainly not good! This is now Trump’s FOURTH indictment (fifth, if you count his bonus indictment in Florida) and it is a serious threat to him. For one, if he wins the Presidency next year, he cannot pardon himself because these are STATE charges. Likewise, he cannot pardon any of the other people named in the indictment.
Moreover, he cannot appeal to Governor Brian Kemp to pardon him, because the Governor of Georgia does not have pardon power (it is a separate board that reviews cases five years after a person has been sentenced). However, there are a few things that do help Trump.
For one, Willis’s trial date for March 2024 is not realistic. There is almost zero chance this will get tried in Fulton County courts before 2025. The rapper Young Thug somewhat infamously has a RICO case going on there now (seriously), and they haven’t even selected a jury yet. The trial started in January. Willis not getting her court date.
However, things could improve for her and get slightly worse for Trump. You may recall that in Trump’s New York criminal case, he filed an appeal and asked that the case be tried in Federal court (lawyers call this having a case “removed to Federal court,” because they hate the English language and also you and your children). Trump was denied there, but he is likely to have that request granted in Georgia.
Why? Because using this maneuver basically allows you to argue that whatever illegal activity you engaged in was done in your capacity as a Federal official, so that is proper venue for your trial. But Trump will still prosecuted under Georgia law and Willis will still be the one bringing the case. The venue just changes.
That helps Willis in some ways, because it could speed things along. However, that means we will switch from State rules on court procedure to Federal rules, which means no cameras in the courtroom. Boring.
What happens next?
Trump will be arraigned on August 25th, and assuming all goes to plan, he will be fingerprinted and mugshotted (not a real word but YOLO). I do have to say this: The details of this case are just nuts. If you want a small, quick glimpse of the insanity, just go to the indictment and search for “Coffee.” You will see things like this:
That’s right. Trump and his team were trying to get a hold of ELECTION MACHINES to mess with. It’s almost like their accusations are really confessions. Everyone is assuming that Willis’s indictment is the last one we will see, but I’m not sure if that’s true, especially when you have them engaging in behavior like this.
All I have is this really funny piece on Ron DeSantis’s spiraling campaign.
That’s it from me. I will try to get you one more Jackal before the month is over, but otherwise you won’t hear from me until September. Have a great weekend.