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Trump faces 'substantial' legal risk in Georgia case, think tank report says

Greg Bluestein and Tamar Hallerman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Political News

ATLANTA — Ahead of former President Donald Trump’s return to Georgia, legal experts with the Brookings Institution think tank published a detailed analysis Friday of the potential criminal investigation he faces in Fulton County linked to his outspoken efforts to overturn the state’s election results.

The 107-page report, written by seven legal analysts, concludes that Trump’s post-election conduct leaves him at “substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.” It was published a day before Trump is set to hold a rally in Perry to promote a slate of state Republican candidates.

Much of the report centers on the Jan. 2 phone call between Trump and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger first reported by The Washington Post and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. During that call, Trump badgered the GOP elections official to “find” enough votes to reverse his narrow defeat.

But it also outlines a host of other potential criminal infractions surrounding Trump's push to invalidate the election, including direct calls to Gov. Brian Kemp and state Attorney General Chris Carr, and efforts by his attorney Rudy Giuliani to lobby state legislators to take extraordinary action.

Overall, the report said, the charges could include criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, intentional interference with performance of election duties, conspiracy to commit election fraud, racketeering and violations of more than a dozen other state statutes.

“Stated simply, soliciting and then threatening senior state officials to alter the outcome of a presidential election does not fall within any reasoned conception of the scope of presidential power,” the group wrote.

 

Among the report’s authors are Norman Eisen, President Barack Obama’s ethics czar who later became a special counsel to House Democrats during Trump’s first impeachment trial; and Gwen Keyes Fleming, a former DeKalb County district attorney.

The report comes as the Fulton County district attorney’s office continues its 7-month-old criminal probe of Trump’s conduct related to Georgia’s elections.

Prosecutors have appeared before a grand jury seeking subpoenas for documents and witnesses; interviewed at least four of Raffensperger’s closest aides; hired the state’s leading authority on racketeering and conspiracy laws; and begun coordinating with members of Congress investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the Journal-Constitution previously reported.

A spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said Thursday that the investigation is “active and ongoing” but declined to disclose additional details.

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