For the third time, Donald Trump is scheduled to appear in a courtroom as a criminal defendant.
Trump is due in court Thursday before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington for the charges he faces related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Trump faces four counts of conspiracy in the indictment released Tuesday, including “conspiracy to defraud” the United States.
The 45 page indictment released on Tuesday afternoon details months of alleged planning by Trump and unnamed, unindicted co-conspirators. Pennsylvania is mentioned by name 19 times in the 45 page indictment as a key piece to the alleged conspiracy to overturn the election.
“This is really serious stuff,” says former federal judge and Dickinson College President John Jones. “This hasn’t happened in the 236 years, you know, since the Constitution was enacted. This is an attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power.”
The report highlights a Pennsylvania legislative hearing in Gettysburg called by State Senator Doug Mastriano where President Trump called in with his attorney Rudy Giuliani on hand making statements many deemed to be false regarding the election results.
While the “Biden electors” which included Josh Shapiro, were meeting at the State Capitol to certify the election, a group of so-called “Trump electors” were meeting at the offices of former gubernatorial candidate Charlie Gerow. That group also included former Congressman Lou Barletta, however, he and Gerow said they would only consider themselves legitimate electors if the Biden electors were declared illegitimate.
“At the time that they did that, they knew or had reason to know that there was no evidence whatsoever ever of a fraud in the election,” said Jones.
Several Pennsylvania Republicans still insist Trump is being politically persecuted and that President Biden has weaponised his Justice Department.
“This isn’t a rigged game,” said Jones. “You know, this is a president of the United States scheming to overturn an election.”
Despite that, polls show a lot of Pennsylvanians want Trump back in the White House and nearly all of the state’s Republican congressmen, including Scott Perry, have endorsed him.
“We think he has the best chance of winning overall and doing the things that we need to have done in this country to save the republic,” said Perry. “And that’s my rationale.”
“You have leading lights in the Republican Party today, not only endorsing (Trump), but giving him air cover by saying that he’s being persecuted when they haven’t even started these trials or adduced any facts. I find that really troubling and frankly, inexcusable,” said Jones.
The indictment breaks down allegations made by the Department of Justice against Trump in Pennsylvania:
Page 5, Line 10b
The Defendant and co-conspirators organized fraudulent slates of electors in seven targeted states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), attempting to mimic the procedures that the legitimate electors were supposed to follow under the Constitution and other federal and state laws. This included causing the fraudulent electors to meet on the day appointed by federal law on which legitimate electors were to gather and cast their votes; cast fraudulent votes for the Defendant; and sign certificates falsely representing that they were legitimate electors. Some fraudulent electors were tricked into participatingPage 5, Line 10b
based on the understanding that their votes would be used only if the Defendant succeeded in outcome-determinative lawsuits within their state, which the Defendant never did. The Defendant and co-conspirators then caused these fraudulent electors to transmit their false certificates to the Vice President and other government officials to be counted at the certification proceeding on January 6.
Page 8, Line 12b
The Defendant asserted that there had been 205,000 more votes than voters in Pennsylvania. The Defendant’s Acting Attorney General and Acting Deputy Attorney General had explained to him that this was false.Page 8, Line 12b
Pages 19-20, Lines 42-46
Pages 19 through 20 of the indictment lay out a specific timeline of events in Pennsylvania that occurred over two months.
On November 11, 2020, the Defendant publicly maligned a Philadelphia City Commissioner for stating on the news that there was no evidence of widespread fraud in Philadelphia. As a result, the Philadelphia City Commissioner and his family received death threats.
On November 25, the day after Pennsylvania’s Governor signed a certificate of ascertainment and thus certified to the federal government that Biden’s electors were the legitimate electors for the state, Co-Conspirator 1 orchestrated an event at a hotel in Gettysburg attended by
state legislators. Co-Conspirator 1 falsely claimed that Pennsylvania had issued 1.8 million
absentee ballots and received 2.5 million in return. In the days there after, a Campaign staffer wrote internally that Co-Conspirator 1’s allegation was just wrong and “[there’s no way to defend it.” The Deputy Campaign Manager responded , We have been saying this for a while. It’s very frustrating.”
On December 4, after four Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania legislature issued a public statement that the General Assembly lacked the authority to overturn the popular vote and appoint its own slate of electors, and that doing so would violate the state Election Code and Constitution,the Defendant re-tweeted a post labeling the legislators cowards.
On December 31 and January 3, the Defendant repeatedly raised with the Acting Attorney General and Acting Deputy Attorney General the allegation that in Pennsylvania, there had been 205,000 more votes than voters. Each time, the Justice Department officials informed the Defendant that his claim was false.
On January 6, 2021, the Defendant publicly repeated his knowingly false claim that there had been 205,000 more votes than voters in Pennsylvania.Pages 19-20, Lines 42-46
Page 21, Line 53
The Defendant’s Use of Dishonesty Fraud, and Deceit to Organize Fraudulent Slates of Electors
and Cause Them to Transmit False Certificates to Congress
As the Defendant’s attempts to obstruct the electoral vote through deceit of state officials met with repeated failure, beginning in early December 2020, he and co-conspirators developed a new plan: to marshal individuals who would have served as the Defendant’s electors, had he won the popular vote, in seven targeted states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and cause those individuals to make and send to the Vice President and Congress false certifications that they were legitimate electors.Page 21, Line 53
Page 22, Line 54b
The December 6 Memorandum ( Fraudulent Elector Memo) marked a sharp departure from Co- Conspirator 5’s Wisconsin Memo, advocating that the alternate electors originally conceived of to preserve rights in Wisconsin instead be used in number of states as fraudulent electors to prevent Biden from receiving the 270 electoral votes necessary to secure the presidency on January 6. The Fraudulent Elector Memo suggested that the Defendant’s electors in six purportedly contested states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) should meet and mimic as best as possible the actions of the legitimate Biden electors, and that on January 6, the Vice President should open and count the fraudulent votes, setting up a fake controversy that would derail the proper certification of Biden as president-elect.Page 22, Line 54b
Page 22, Line 54c
The December 9 Memorandum (Fraudulent Elector Instructions) consisted of Co-Conspirator 5’s instructions on how fraudulent electors could mimic legitimate electors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Co-Conspirator 5 noted that in some states, it would be virtually impossible for the fraudulent electors to successfully take the same steps as the legitimate electors because state law required formal participation in the process by state officials, or access to official resources.Page 22, Line 54c
Page 23, Lines 57-58
On December 7, Co-Conspirator 1 received the Wisconsin Memo and the Fraudulent Elector Memo. Co-Conspirator 1 spoke with Co-Conspirator 6 regarding attorneys who could assist in the fraudulent elector effort in the targeted states, and he received from Co-Conspirator 6 an email identifying attorneys in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
The next day, on December 8, Co-Conspirator 5 called the Arizona attorney on Co-Conspirator 6’s list. In an email after the call, the Arizona attorney recounted his conversation with Co-Conspirator 5 as follows:
I just talked to the gentleman who did that memo, (Co Conspirator 5). His idea is basically that all of us (GA,WI,AZ,PA,etc.) have our electors send in their votes (even though the votes aren’t legal under federal law because they’re not signed by the Governor) ; so that members of Congress can fight about whether they should be counted on January 6th. (They could potentially argue that they’re not bound by federal law because they’re Congress and make the law, etc.) Kind of wild/creative I’m happy to discuss. My comment to him was that I guess there’s no harm in it, (legally at least) i.e. we would just be sending in “fake” electoral votes to Pence so that someone in congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the “fake” votes should be counted.Page 23, Lines 57-58
Page 24, Line 61
To manage the plan in Pennsylvania, on December 12, Co-Conspirator 1, Co-Conspirator 5, and Co-Conspirator 6 participated in a conference call organized by the Defendant’s Campaign with the Defendant’s electors in that state. When the Defendant’s electors expressed concern about signing certificates representing themselves as legitimate electors, Co-Conspirator 1 falsely assured them that their certificates would be used only if the Defendant succeeded inPage 24, Line 61
litigation. Subsequently, Co-Conspirator 6 circulated proposed conditional language to that effect for potential inclusion in the fraudulent elector certificates. A Campaign official cautioned not to offer the conditional language to other states because “[t]he other States are signing what he prepared if it gets out we changed the language for PA it could snowball. In some cases, the
Defendant’s electors refused to participate in the plan.”
Page 38, Line 104b
After the Defendant falsely stated that the Pennsylvania legislature wanted “to recertify their votes. They want to recertify. But the only way that can happen is if Mike Pence agrees to send it back” the crowd began to chant, “Send it back.”Page 38, Line 104b
Donald Trump’s attorney John Lauro called the latest indictment of the former president “an attack on free speech and political advocacy.”