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Georgia Indictments Make Others Look Like Parking Tickets  

Georgia Indictments Make Others Look Like Parking Tickets  

By every measure, the Georgia indictments are the most serious … the most far reaching … and the most controversial.  Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis has not just thrown the book at Trump et al, but the entire law library.

(By the way, you may have heard a number of media types noting that her name is pronounced “fa’ nee” not “fan ee”.  It reminds me of the running joke in the PBS British sitcom “Keeping up Appearances,” in which the lead lady character insists that her surname Bucket is pronounced Boo kay’.  But I digress.)

RICO

Perhaps the most controversial discretion Willis employed was to use the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) as the foundation for her indictments.  This enabled her to expand the indictments beyond a few individuals and go beyond the jurisdiction of Fulton County.  It also ties defendants to specific acts in which they did not directly participate.

This, in and of itself, is controversial for two reasons.  First, because the law itself is controversial and does not sit well with a number of civil libertarians and constitutional scholars.  Second, because it was the intent of Congress that the RICO law be applied only to organized crime of the Mafia and gang variety.

It was used for that purpose by Rudy Giuliani when he served as federal prosecutor in New York City.  Rico became even more controversial when it was used for seemingly political purposes – by left-wing prosecutors to go after conservative activists and organizations.  

In 1994, the National Organization of Women (NOW) used RICO to go after pro-life activist Joe Scheidler and others – accusing Scheidler of using extortion and criminal violence to block access to abortion clinics.  In NOW v. Scheidler, the then very liberal Supreme Court sided with Scheidler – determining that his protests outside the clinics were constitutionally protected free speech and assembly.

In applying RICO, Willis ensures that the case will be even more controversial – and likely will again require action by the Supreme Court.  Even some anti-Trump legal analysts fear Willis may have gone too far – giving credence to Trump’s claim of political persecution.

Free (or not)-for-all trial

Willis has said that she will try all the defendants in one trial.  That is so ridiculous that one can only assume she misspoke or lied for some reason.  Most bets are on multiple trials for different defendants.  If it were to go as one trial, it would be the most controversial and complex trial in the history of the nation.  Nineteen defendants in one courtroom with individual legal teams.  That could mean the defense side of the courtroom would need seating for 50 to 100 key players.  The judge could be forced to consider dozens of motions from dozens of attorneys at a time – over and over .

The only other case in American history to have 19 defendants in one trial was the 1985 to 1987 “Pizza Connection Trial,” which involved 19 defendants accused of being part of a Sicilian mafia network that smuggled heroin into the U.S. and distributed it through pizza parlors across the country.  It took two years from indictment to verdict – with the trial itself, taking up 17 months.  And that was a far less complicated or controversial case.   There were no issues of Executive or lawyer/client privilege in that case.  There were not a lot of constitutional issues unique to the presidency.  In the Georgia case, Trump was the client for several of the lawyers who are now defendants.  If Willis proceeds with a single trial for all

ndants, it could be the longest running one-ring circus in American judicial history – and likely will not be settled before the next President of the United States is elected and inaugurated.  If it is Trump, while he cannot pardon himself, any sentencing would have to be deferred until he leaves office.

Timing

Willis says that she will ask the judge to set a trial date within six months.  Yes, she wants to set down a parameter and put public pressure on the judge, but that one is beyond ridiculous.  Unless she misspoke in terms of the one-for-all trial, her response is irresponsible – and may give a hint of her willingness to go beyond the traditional considerations of prosecution.  Trying to keep the trial on the front burner during the campaign suggests political motivation.

Massive conspiracy versus individual crimes

Willis has put herself in the position of having to prove two things – that various individual committed crimes, some in cahoots with each other, and that there was an overarching criminal conspiracy among all the players – a conspiracy headed up by Trump.   The latter is a much steeper legal hill to climb.  If the RICO charge is too broad and too severe for the jury, Willis could lose the entire case.

The scope of the case

To see the case in perspective, it is necessary to see who all those defendants are – and what the charges are.  Here is what Willis charges against Trump and the others.

  1. Racketeering.  Charging Trump with forming a criminal enterprise with the other defendants under RICO.  Using RICO, Trump is accused of being responsible for the potentially illegal actions of others – such as filing false documents or impersonating public officers. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
  2. Solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.  This is for the claim that Trump solicited the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes.”  This charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  3. Conspiracy.  This basically accuses the group of conspiring to commit the aforementioned actions. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
  4. Making false statements and writings. This charge collectively accuses Trump and his co-defendants of making false statement to public officials.   It carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
  5. Filing false documents.  This accused Trump and his co-defendants of actually filing false or fraudulent documents with public officials or agencies. This charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
  6. Impersonating a public officer.  Here Willis is accusing Trump and the others of pretending to be public officers or agents without authority or consent. This charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
  7. Influencing witnesses.  In this one, Trump and others are accused of attempting to influence, intimidate, or hinder witnesses. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  8. Perjury.  Trump and his co-defendants are accused of making false statements under oath or affirmation regarding the election results or the election process. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

And who are those other 18 co-defendants?  Among the big names are Rudy Giuliani (Trump lawyer), John Eastman (Trump lawyer), Mark Meadows (White House Chief-of-Staff), Sidney Powell (Trump Lawyer) and Jeffrey Clark (DOJ official).

The others include Jenna Ellis (campaign lawyer), Robert Cheeley (Georgia attorney, who filed lawsuits to challenge the Georgia results), Mike Roman (Georgia Trump campaign official who oversaw Election Day operations), David Shafer (Georgia GOP chairman and alternative elector), Shawn Still (fake elector), Stephen Lee (campaign worker charged with intimidation), Harrison Floyd (head  of Black Voices for Trump and charged with intimidation), Trevian Kutti (intimidation), Cathy Latham (fake elector), Scott Hall (breach of Coffee County election equipment), Misty  Hampton (allowed access to Coffee County machines), Ray Smith (campaign lawyer who filled challenges in other states),Kenneth Chesebro (file affidavit supporting Powell’s claim of vote fraud).

Potential defense arguments

On “Morning Joe”, co-host Mika Brzezinski cautioned that the public should be patient and wait for the decisions of the jury.  Of course, that was only for Republicans who she cannot understand their refusal to accept her and the left’s rush-to-judgment.  Democrats and those on the left should continue ther unrelenting prosecution of Trump et all in the court-of-public-opinion.  Regardless of the media propaganda, there are a lot of defense arguments – too many to detail here.  But here are a few.

  1. Several of the lawyers have asserted that they were acting lawyers for Trump and subject to client/attorney privilege.
  2. Various strategy options were presented as general conversation.
  3. Several of the examples of a criminal conspiracy alleged in the indictment refer to actions that were never taken or were even rejected by Trump.  Such as having the military seize voting machines.
  4. Meadows and others have alleged that their actions were part of official White House duties and immune from prosecution.
  5. Some electors claim that they only acted on the advice of lawyers or people who they trusted as authorities.
  6. Some of the challenges Willis charges as illegal are legally questionable.  Challenging elections results – or believing in fraud – is not illegal.
  7. Some argue that the indictment violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution – which gives federal law precedence over local prosecution.  There is a move by the defense team to have the case moved to the federal courts.
  8. Some argue that the indictment conflicts with presidential clemency power and the impeachment power of the Congress.  That may seem like a stretch, but it does give some hint how long these issues will be debated before and during the trial.
  9. Trump will claim that he was only asking for 11,780 votes from a larger pool of stolen votes.

Law enforcement versus politics

How much of the Willis case is politically motivated will be a constant question.  The real question is not whether politics plays a role.  That should be obvious to anyone with an IQ higher than a hockey score.  We are talking about the indictment and possible imprisonment of a former President of the United States – and the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election.  Every prosecution and indictment of Trump has been carried out by Democrat prosecutors – some of whom are the employees of Trump’s probable chief rival, Joe Biden.  Attorney General Merrick Garland is a political appointee who serves at the will of the President.  Willis is an elected prosecutor who is using her prosecution of Trump for political capital and fundraising.  

Arguably, it is that obvious realization that keeps Trump up in the polls.  Even if he is guilty of keeping records he should not have — or violated some campaign finance filing requirement — or even was overly aggressive in trying to find vote fraud in the 2020 election … does he deserve a potential lifetime incarceration for which the Democrat mobs are clamoring, and the Democrat prosecutors are pursuing?   

How the public answers that question may be the most important factor in the 2024 presidential election.  Throw the Georgia case into the mix of indictments and lawsuits swirling around Trump, and you can know that this may be the bumpiest presidential campaign season since the 1860 presidential election that launched the Civil War – even more than 1968, when left-wing rioters fought police outside the Democrat National Convention in Chicago as Senator Hubert Humphrey was giving his acceptance speech.  

With the trials likely to be off for more than a year, the American public will be exposed to unrelenting and relatively meaningless mendacious political narratives, partisan spin, propaganda, political posturing, and baseless speculation day after day … after day … afterday … after day.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

9 Comments

  1. Dan tyree

    All because of being afraid of Trump.

  2. frank stetson

    With all due respect, I think a guy with that mug like Yoda and a name that sounds like an equine hooker, probably should not make fun of what people call themselves. Why Republicans think they own the names convention taking personal offense when people like to be called what they want to be called, you know, freedom of name, is beyond me. But I digress….

    Horist states: “By every measure, the Georgia indictments are the most serious … the most far reaching … and the most controversial.” I respectfully disagree on the serious and far reaching based on the charges, penalties with the caveat that certain judges may be friendly to Trump’s plight, specifically Florida.

    On the charges, the Florida case has the most significant jail time by a factor of two. Did Horist even check?
    BUSTED

    While the DC judge has been handing out stiffer penalties for 1.6 defendants above those requested by prosecutors, Georgia may be a circus and may truly help or harm him mightily in the court of public opinion. If I was Trump, I would focus on Florida with perhaps equal priority for DC and Georgia. According to the facts of potential jail time.

    Perhaps Horist investigated the average time served for guilty defendants on each of the charges to reach his conclusions because he could not have referenced the maximum times per crime to divine his totally inaccurate conclusion. Here are the facts:

    1. Federal 2020 Election Fraud Case (DC) (Federal) (Democratic Judge)
    Has a potential for 55 years and will define voting going forward in our Democracy.
    2. Georgia Election Fraud Case (GA) (State) (Republican Judge)
    Has a potential for 55.5 years and could not be pardoned by a President and will only define Georgia voting going forward
    3. Documents Case (Florida) (Federal) (Trump Judge)
    Has a potential for 120 years and not sure what this one will define except insanity
    4. Hooker Hush Money Case (New York) (State) (Democrat Judge)
    Has a potential for 4 years with daily visits by Michael Cohen and continued bedroom separation from Melania.

    However, none of these stop Trump from becoming President and then the self-pardoning issue regarding the Federal crimes becomes the issue. Congress needs to fix that; I am betting it’s a bipartisan fix (or not fixed). He cannot pardon himself in the States, NY is lost to that cause and probably Georgia too, at least until they get a new governor. Of course, Trump will never get the maximum; no one does. The DC judge is the toughest judge yet on 1.6.2021 criminals. The Florida judge, appointed by Trump and basically a judicial virgin, has already tried to stretch the law already in Trump’s favor. Not to mention the jury pool in Florida which may be packed with one or more hard-core Trumpers.

    But clearly, FL is the biggest risk, by a factor of 2, then followed equally by Georgia and DC with Georgia having the extra risk (or reward?) of being live for the public. He’s been sweating a lot lately, that’s never good on TV. Ask Nixon…..

    • Tony L Bell

      Except all the charges are conjured and have no merit. More political theatre and acts of desperation by deluded democrats.

  3. larry Horist

    Frank Stetson … I have long said that the documents case is the strongest in terms of conviction, but not likely to result in jail time. It is RiCO — and the fact he could not pardon that one away — that makes the Georgia case the most dangerous politically and legally. Analyzing a legal case takes more than listing charges and maximum penalties. You have to consider probably outcomes. You counterpoint is not a meaningful analysis and unworthy even of a high school term paper.

    • frank stetson

      Thanks for repeating what I said I thought you said/meant. Consistency is good. So, it is as I surmised, you pulled this out of your keister guessing that jail times are never meted out in full and some crimes go way under the bar for actual incarceration times. But you have presented no facts confirming what average times might be, just the fact that the max is not often handed out.

      Then again, you thought Trump would debate too…..

      You seem to be guessing without any actual support beyond the thought that the max is never met. In actuality, many folks have gotten time for similar crimes from 18 months to over a decade for the past dozen or so convicted. More important, there are guidelines; the judge better be sure they can support their decision against guidelines which include variables like “organizer or leader” (uh oh), extensive (how many helpers, how big in scope, uh oh – can you say national), abuse of public trust (uh oh again), acceptance of responsibility (oh damn), and so on and so on. Here’s the article: *https://www.justsecurity.org/86901/how-much-prison-time-does-former-president-trump-face-applying-the-u-s-sentencing-guidelines/* You can do the math, make an estimate, but given the number of charges, ouch.

      I think the problem that Trump will have is that he did not and does not believe he has to give up the documents and that he never has done at anything wrong.

      Georgia has mandatory jail upon conviction, we both said that, although I think they too can be reduced to a minimum by the judge, and I think even house arrest may be arranged in special cases, albeit this one has not come up before. The President can not pardon a State crime, and in Georgia a governor can’t either — it’s a 5 person panel. And they are tough. Yikes. But there are a couple of ways to immediately pardon, one might even include house arrest. I am guessing Georgia does not want to lock up Trump; the optics and logistics are staggering. I mean how do you get all those big black SUVs into the prison yard for Trump to get around? And the fact this has never been done, well, they have done things before, they just never had a President do this — so, new ground, could be new pardon-type-with-house-arrest. Perhaps a minimum of a five year risk with potential for house arrest. Also, it’s a Republican Judge of The Heritage Foundation variety. I think he will be tough but fair, but perhaps a little more fair than just. Just a bit. Which is fine by me: convict him, give him house arrest, and let’s move on.

      But Larry, Florida by far has the highest risk of incarceration interval, not many ways around the guidelines, a lot of charges, even if the judge is a whack-job Trump appointee, which may be a wild card for leniency. But if you are starting at 120 years, that’s a hard row to hoe.

      IMO, once we see the documents, you and I will probably agree as to which is riskier. If there are nuclear plans, plans to attack Iran, and worse — this is not going to end well. And I think we will hear about some pretty bad ju ju in the document detail

  4. THOMAS

    Willis needs her ass kicked over and over again … she is a fat fucking cunt and a worthless lying piece of shit !
    She needs to be disbarred, arrested, tried for anything like chewing gum or above then put away behind bars with the key thrown away after the cell is locked !

  5. frank stetson

    TLB: by this time next year, we will probably know WHO is delusional. Given close to 100 individual Trump charges, my bets on you! The man’s current convictions and settlements pretty much point in that direction. Now we have Roger Stone detailing the fake elector plan, as implemented by Team Trump, months BEFORE the election actually occurred. Good pardon eh? Really turned his life around….

    To many of us living around NYC, working there, seeing Rudy hoisted on his own RICO petard is a kind of justice in itself. Rudy made his bones with RICO doing then almost what he is doing today to secure elections or bitch about being cheated by blacks, illegal aliens, you know the rap. Rudy may have used RICO to get the mob, but he also championed RICO and how to use it, he is the King of RICO, he is the one who paved the way to today’s broader use —- the exact thing Georgia is doing to Rudy as a criminal enterprise. And now 30 states, thanks to Ghouliani, have RICO statutes, Georgia’s is quite interesting.

    Remember that when the Horist’s of the world say this law was envisioned to target organized crime. What Georgia is charging IS against organized crime. He favors the spin to Georgia version as being “used for seemingly political purposes – by left-wing prosecutors to go after conservative activists and organizations.” It’s organized crime, Mr. Horist, of the mafiosa garden variety complete with the Don, the family, consiglieres, and foot soldiers. The only politicizing going on here is one guy tried to rig the election, cancel out the voter, and replace them with his own hand-picked electors. And that was just one part of his overall plan.

    It was Rudy’s use and success with RICO that made it so popular across Federal jurisdictions even having 30 States adopt their own RICO statutes. Georgia is one of the States that Rudy created. Rudy knows exactly where this is going, he invented it. Many question, based on his expertise, how he ever could be caught by a RICO statute?

    But there it is.

    For THOMAS: right back atcha: Trump needs their ass kicked over and over again … he is a fat fucking prick and a worthless lying piece of shit ! He needs to be impeached, arrested, tried for anything like chewing gum or above then put away behind bars with the key thrown away after the cell is locked ! Yup, THOMAS’ brilliance shines a light both ways :>)

  6. JP

    So is the current president. Just another dog and pony by an Affirmative Action hired prosecutor with dreams of grandure. Can’t wait for her to fall on her fat face.

  7. frank stetson

    JP: affirmative actin hire —- got proof or talking out your ass again? She was elected, not hired, and she won by a landslide. Good luck proving your shit don’t stink and that she was hired……

    Willis may be your worst nightmare. Mature, experienced, effective, and has made a career about using RICO to get bad guys who ain’t mafioso but act like it. AKA Trump. Buckle up, butter cup, you are going for the ride of your life. It will be raw, public, and you bet your bottom dollar, she is trying for a bigger, better, job. So far, she has been successful and NOT a product of AA that anyone beyond that type of person would see. Unless JP has actual proof.

    Here’s one for you: Willis’s father was a Black Panther and a lawyer, perhaps fucking with tighty-righty, uptight whitey’s is in her DNA.

    She was born in California, must be crazy, huh. But wait, move to DC in first grade, oh my, you are so fucked, up the ass too,

    Poly Sci at Howard, a premier HBCU school, largest of it’s kind and she was cum laude so the action was indeed affirmative. My BIL graduated from a Howard school, he did well in life and certainly was not AA. Then, Emory for her JD — what you got — GED?

    Did 16 years in the GA DA where she did 12 at once in a RICO trial for the school system cheating — she nailed em all, AA or not. They were educators, you know, left wing liberals of the Union variety. She follows the law, not partisan politics. Experience, success, and has handled large RICO trials. Puckered up yet, buttercup? She then went for the money, went private, most certainly a lazy shiftless AA type. What’s in your wallet — Amazon delivery guy maybe?

    While private, within a year she won a judgeship in Fulton. In 2020 she won the DA slot where she specialized in using RICO to nail non-mobsters. RICO was made famous, where now 30 states have statutes, by Ghouliani, an irony all to itself.

    You are right, she is a bit chubby, and actually is mature, motivated, and looking to make her bones by bagging Trump. Like a young NY prosecutor destined to be America’s mayor before becoming America’s mugshot, went after organized crime. Fat wise, Trump crushes her and he sweats like a pig too. You know what they say: the fattest pig is the first to be slaughtered.

    Can’t wait to see your AA proof, but I expect crickets or crap.

  1. Mr. Horist. No, I am a terrible proofer and editor. Thus, no journalism. "Unremarkable and uninteresting biographical stories," that's your…