Trump’s Fourth Indictment Raises 2024 Election Questions

Paul Ellertson, contributor

Mugshot of Former President Donald Trump, sourced from Wikimedia Commons on Sept. 12, 2023

Former President Donald Trump has picked up a fourth indictment in Georgia this past week, and trial hearings are underway. According to NBC, Trump and 18 others are being charged for racketeering in their efforts to overturn their electoral defeat in the 2020 Presidential election. This latest indictment has 41 charges, 13 against Trump, which adds to a total of 91 charges in four criminal cases for the former president. According to CNN, these charges are mostly for “False Statements, Harassment, and Intimidation.” Trump and his allies are charged with violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which can carry up to 20 years of prison time. 

Trump and his legal team are considering moving the Georgia Case to Federal Court. This would allow Trump to be able to make an immunity claim with the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which in turn wouldn’t allow Georgia to continue to investigate the former president and leave the investigations to the U.S. Government. According to CNN, this change might even benefit Trump, due to having more allies on the Federal level. 

CNN says Trump continues to claim the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen from him and continues to encourage misinformation and conspiracy theories, making claims such as, “Dominion voting machines were rigged from the start to turn Trump votes into Biden votes.” During and after the vote counting, officials were able to prove that there was nothing wrong with Dominion voting machines. 

In a quote to CBS News, Deen Freelon, associate professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism said, “Dominion Systems have been in use for years in both swing states and pro-Trump states.” He added “Those who were casting doubts about the voting machines were only doing it for the Presidential election and not the Senate and House races, even though the outcomes of those elections were decided with the same voting machines.” Several Trump supporters have been charged with sending death threats to poll workers. According to PBS, going to such extremes that a man in Texas has been sentenced to 3 1⁄2 years for suggesting a mass shooting of poll workers and election officials.      

According to the Star Tribune, there is now a nationwide debate over whether Trump is even allowed to be on the ballot in 2024. Michael Stokes Paulsen, St. Thomas School of Law professor, along with William Baude, University of Chicago professor, have drafted a 126 page article, outlining how under the 14th amendment, the former president cannot be allowed for re-election. Baude said in a quote to the New York Times, “Donald Trump cannot be president — cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office — unless two-thirds of Congress decides to grant him amnesty for his conduct on Jan. 6.” The Supreme Court currently holds a conservative super majority of 6-3, and due to the unpopular decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, many are nervous to see how the federal case against Trump could play out.