Trump indictment in Georgia: A step that had to happen, for the nation’s good

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks in Atlanta, Georgia regarding the grand jury indictment of former President Donald Trump and 18 others on charges of trying to overturn that state’s 2020 election results.

Joe Raedle/Getty

Forget any talk that it was a dark day for this country when a former U.S. president and 18 of his confederates — including two Chicagoans — were indicted by an Atlanta grand jury on charges that they tried to illegally overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

Indeed, it’s quite the opposite. The indictment on Georgia state racketeering charges is another positive sign that Donald Trump might well be closer to being finally flushed out of this nation’s political system.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged Trump and 18 others, including attorney Rudy Giuliani and the ex-president’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, with a total of 41 criminal counts, including telling Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the 11,780 votes needed to change the election results in the state.

The request, allegedly made by Trump in the now-infamous Jan. 2, 2021 phone call to Raffensperger, runs afoul of a Georgia law which prohibits soliciting a public official to violate their oath.

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Trump, of course, has spent much of the last three years falsely alleging — let’s be blunt, lying — that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him.

And it’s his right to so, no matter how outrageous and ineffective.

But what Trump and those allied with him cannot be allowed to do, without being called to account, is to try and manipulate the election’s results, as alleged in the Georgia indictment and the separate federal charges leveled against Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith earlier this month.

The Georgia indictment uses state RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) laws to charge Trump and the alleged co-conspirators worked together as a criminal enterprise to change the state’s election results.

Charges include a scheme to tamper with a rural Georgia county’s voting machines and steal data from a voting machine company — damning actions that would seem to go far beyond any supposed defense that Trump and his allies were just exercising their right to seek redress and dispute the election results.

“Trump and the other defendants charged in this indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” the 98-page indictment states.

Giuliani admitted before a Georgia legislature subcommittee that he had made false claims of voter fraud in a bid to get lawmakers to throw out the election results.

Time will tell if Willis’s office has the horsepower to successfully prosecute such a complex case.

But given the brazenness of the alleged acts, Willis had to step forward. For the sake of Georgia — and for our country’s democracy.

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