Ross Williams, Georgia Recorder
At the end of a historic week at the Fulton County jailhouse, the criminal case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 allies also accused of subverting Georgia’s 2020 presidential election is just beginning.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged Trump and the rest of the group – which includes lawyers, former federal officials, people accused of trying to secure fake electoral votes for Trump and people alleged to have broken into election equipment – with racketeering charges.
Trump denied the charges as politically motivated and described his experience in an interview on Newsmax.
“Terrible experience,” he said. “I came in, I was treated very nicely, but it is what it is. I took a mugshot, which, I never heard the words mugshot, they didn’t teach me that at the Wharton School of Finance, I had to go through a process, it was election interference.”
Trump spent less than half an hour in jail, and nearly all of the alleged co-conspirators had similarly short stays, save one, Harrison Floyd, who was booked on Thursday but not yet released, according to jail records.
According to the indictment, Floyd, as director of Black Voices for Trump, assisted in getting Trevian Kutti in touch with Fulton County poll worker Ruby Freeman, who had become the center of false conspiracy theories surrounding the vote count in Fulton County.
The indictment lists a series of phone calls between Floyd and Kutti on Jan. 3, 2021, before Kutti traveled from Chicago to Atlanta the next day. Kutti then allegedly traveled to Freeman’s home and told a neighbor she was a crisis worker looking to help Freeman.
According to the document, Kutti later set up a meeting with Freeman, which Floyd attended by phone, and the two allegedly attempted to convince her to make false statements about her role in the vote count, which Willis says amounts to witness tampering.
Willis’ office has not released a statement explaining Floyd’s continued stay in the jail. Floyd was also charged with allegedly attacking an FBI officer who knocked on this door earlier this year to serve him a subpoena in relation to the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, Floyd, a former U.S. Marine and MMA fighter, chased after two officers who served him the subpoena in his Rockville, Maryland home. According to the filing, Floyd charged into one of the agents on a stair landing “striking him chest to chest” and knocking him backward and shouted profanities at them.
Floyd later placed a 911 call alleging that the agents had accosted him and was recorded saying “They were lucky I didn’t have my gun on me, because I would have shot his f–-–ing a–,” according to the filing.
On Monday, Mark Meadows, Trump’s former top White House aide, is scheduled for a hearing in Atlanta’s U.S. District Court on his request to have his case moved from Fulton County’s jurisdiction to federal court. Meadows’ attorneys are arguing for the change in court jurisdiction because they say Meadows was acting on the president’s behalf as a federal officer at the time of the alleged offenses.
Three fake GOP electors, including now-state Sen. Shawn Still, charged in the Fulton County election interference probe are also trying to have their case moved to federal court.
The 41-count, 98-page indictment contends that the alternate elector meeting, which was held as Georgia’s legitimate electors met to cast the state’s official electoral ballots, was a key part of a multistate criminal plot to overturn the 2020 election results. The GOP electors signed and mailed a certificate falsely stating Trump won Georgia, which he narrowly lost by about 12,000 votes.
Then-state GOP party chairman David Shafer and ex-Coffee County chairwoman Cathy Latham were booked and released Wednesday, each under $75,000 bond agreements. Still surrendered early Friday morning and posted a $10,000 bond.
The three argue they were serving in a federal role – calling themselves “contingent” presidential electors – and were advised by counsel, including an attorney representing the president at the time, to cast electoral ballots to preserve Trump’s election challenge.
Notably, not all 16 “alternate” GOP electors were swept up in the sweeping indictment. At least eight of them have accepted plea deals, agreeing to cooperate with Fulton County prosecutors, according to court filings.
This week a judge denied Meadows request to delay his arrest beyond Friday’s deadline set by prosecutors. Instead Meadows would turn himself into Fulton authorities on Thursday.
Another defendant, Jeffrey Clark, who served as Trump’s top environmental lawyer, also turned himself in after a judge denied his motion to halt the county proceedings. Clark is also seeking for his case to be taken up in federal court.
The indictment alleges that Clark solicited a U.S. attorney general and deputy attorney general to make false statements about significant concerns about the election’s outcome in December 2020. That was after Georgia election officials certified the presidential victory for President Joe Biden.
Willis shot down those requests on Wednesday in a fiery response, and a judge declined to extend the Friday deadline.
Willis had said she intended to try all 19 defendants at once. She initially put forward a timeline that included arraignments during the week of Sept. 25 with the trial to commence March 4, 2024, which Trump’s camp complained was too soon.
But the trial could come even sooner for at least some of the defendants. On Wednesday, one of the defendants, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, filed a demand for a speedy trial, and on Friday, fellow attorney Sidney Powell did the same.
Willis has so far responded by offering an Oct. 23, 2023 trial date for Chesebro, and Judge Scott McAfee has approved his request. It will be up to McAfee to set the timetable for the other defendants.
Trump’s attorneys have filed a request to have the former president’s case severed from Chesebro or anyone else who requests a speedy trial.
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