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Is the case against Trump in Georgia “ready to go?”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis listens during the jury selection process at the Jury Assembly Room at Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis listens during the jury selection process at the Jury Assembly Room at Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta.

Reuters

Speculation is rife that an indictment against former President Donald Trump in an ongoing Georgia investigation could be imminent after security barriers were recently erected outside Atlanta’s Fulton County Courthouse. Yesterday, a judge in Fulton County refused Trump’s demand that the courts throw out evidence and disqualify Fani T. Willis, the district attorney pursuing the investigation.


This development comes just days after a recent interview in which Willis said that “the work is accomplished ... we’re ready to go.”

Of all of Trump’s legal woes, the Georgia case – which is linked to allegations that the former president tried to pressure electoral officials to overturn the state’s 2020 election results – has been the most highly anticipated, largely due to the clarity of damning evidence.

The case was prompted after a leaked tape in Jan. 2021 revealed Trump calling on Georgia's top electoral official to “find” the votes – some 11,780 ballots – needed to get him over the finish line, though President Joe Biden ultimately won the state. Trump has since called it a “perfect phone call” but many legal scholars tend to disagree.

Indeed, the investigation also focuses on other high-profile GOP functionaries, including Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and 16 rank-and-file Republicans who falsified documents claiming Trump won the state. At least half of the 16 have since reached immunity deals with the DA’s teams (though precise details remain unknown) and could serve as witnesses.

Looking ahead: It’s unclear what the timing would be for a potential trial, but Trump’s schedule is certainly filling up. The former president is slated to go to trial in New York in March on charges linked to hush money payments made in the lead-up to the 2016 election. Then, in May, he faces federal charges related to his handling of classified documents. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is also looking into Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, a case that reportedly has some overlap with the one in Georgia.

Though much is still up in the air, a few things remain clear. First, authorities in Georgia are clearly worried about protests and potential violence should an indictment be handed down against Trump in a purple state that will help determine the outcome of the 2024 vote.

Second, whatever happens, this case is unlikely to have much (or any) impact on Trump’s swelling popularity as he continues to cultivate a massive lead over other GOP hopefuls. Consider that a new NYT-Siena College poll released Monday shows Teflon Don with a whopping 37-point lead over Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis.

What’s more, Trump would still reap 22% of the vote from those who believe he has committed federal crimes, which is five points more than DeSantis would receive from the entire Republican electorate.

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