Former president Donald Trump was arraigned Thursday in an Atlanta jail on 13 charges pertaining to an indictment that alleges he “knowingly and willfully joined” a “conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome” of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump is one of 19 defendants in the case, which involves racketeering allegations and which could move much slower than Trump’s other three cases due to its sheer size. Unlike what happened in his other three arraignments, Trump received a mug shot. It was released to the public, as were the mug shots of the other 18 co-defendants.
Trump called it a “very sad day for America.”
“What has taken place here is a travesty of justice. We did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” Trump said.
Georgia certified Joe Biden the winner of the state’s electoral votes after a hand recount showed Biden beat Trump by about 12,000 votes.
Trump was charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO Act.
The indictment claims that Trump had planned on claiming voter fraud prior to Election Day 2020. Specifically, it alleges that four days prior to the presidential election, Trump discussed a draft speech with someone in the White House that “falsely declared victory and falsely claimed voter fraud.” That person is known as “unindicted coconspirator Individual l” in the indictment.
It claims that Trump was involved in “unlawfully soliciting, requesting, and importuning” the Georgia Speaker of the House to call a “special session of the Georgia General Assembly for the purpose of unlawfully appointing presidential electors from Georgia” for Trump. Such an action pressured the speaker to violate his oath of office, the indictment says.
It alleges that on Dec. 27, 2020, Trump solicited Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue to “make false statement by stating, ‘Just say that the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.’”
“Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3, 2020. One of the states he lost was Georgia,” the indictment says. “Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump. That conspiracy contained common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.”
Read the full indictment here.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Handout/Handout
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.