Last year, a former Trump official told the January 6 House select committee that, during an Oval Office meeting on 18 December 2020, White House officials had discussed plans to access voting machines in Coffee County, Georgia. Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis appears prepared to argue that this attempt to infiltrate sensitive voting machine software was a top-down effort instigated by Donald Trump himself.
Why is this important? Not so much for reasons that might instantly spring to mind. For one thing, they weren’t trying to subvert the election results in Coffee County. After all, Trump won Coffee County by a landslide, with 70% of the votes. No, it looks like they wanted the voting machine access to study the inner workings of the machines so they could see if there was any way they could manipulate the software. They apparently wanted to see if they could cause a Biden vote to become a Trump vote by manipulating the election via other similar machines.
But even if prosecutors cannot prove that to be the case in court, the December 18 Oval Office meeting has other significance. Tampering with voting software for any reason is illegal, and it’s clear that’s what they were trying to do. Therefore it opens the door to RICO charges.
Why are RICO charges more significant than ordinary conspiracy charges? Because they broaden the scope of the prosecution. The December 18 meeting is outside the jurisdiction of ordinary Georgia conspiracy charges. RICO brings that meeting very much inside.
As if that isn’t enough, an average conspiracy charge will draw up to five years in prison. With RICO you can get up to 20 years.
Remember, Trump is already facing serious charges at the federal level for his two big thefts: his top secret documents theft and his attempted election theft. And, of course, he’s also facing campaign finance charges in New York State in the Stormy Daniels case. Those are all heavyweight charges involving life-changing criminal penalties. These potential charges in Georgia are entirely separate from the federal charges and the charges in New York. To paraphrase Sidney Powell, Georgia is about to release a kraken of its own.
But it gets better. Trump cannot be pardoned on any level for any charges he’s found guilty of in Georgia. There exists no mechanism whereby the Georgia governor can issue a pardon. The actual Georgia pardon program, as it exists now, works this way. You must first serve 100% of your time. Then Georgia will consider an appeal to expunge your record after you’ve demonstrated a protracted period of good behavior and extraordinary citizenship. Not exactly ideal for a 77 year old grifter named Donald Trump.
On two state levels and across a rising multitude of federal charges, Donald Trump is facing serious prison time for his numerous and egregious crimes. All of which is to say, Donald Trump is in serious, serious shit. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.