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Pa.’s connection to Georgia’s indictment of Trump

  • Robby Brod

 Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

On Monday, former president Donald Trump and 18 others were indicted on charges including the violation of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as “RICO.”

The charges resulted from a two-and-a-half year long grand jury investigation into how Trump and his allies tried to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state.

RICO, originally designed to target organized crime, allows prosecutors to charge people engaged in a series of racketeering acts tied to an enterprise. Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia said the actions Trump and his allies took demonstrate a coordinated effort across state lines to challenge the election results and promote false claims of election fraud.

Actions by Trump allies in Pennsylvania, including connections to midstate congressman Scott Perry and Pennsylvania Republican state legislators, were included in the indictment as “acts of racketeering activity and overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

Among the indicted is Jeff Clark, a former assistant U.S. attorney general sympathetic to Trump’s debunked election fraud claims. Clark first came to Trump’s attention after Perry recommended him to former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Perry has acknowledged making the introduction and said he had “worked with Assistant Attorney General Clark on various legislative matters.”

“When President Trump asked if I would make an introduction, I obliged,” Perry said.

Meadows faces charges under the RICO law, partially due to a text he sent to Perry, requesting the contact information for former Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler.

One of the events mentioned in the indictment is a Gettysburg meeting orchestrated by Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano. Former Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis attended – as did Trump via telephone. The trio raised unfounded allegations of irregularities and fraud during the event, and the claims were widely debunked.

Prosecutors allege that the group pushed for Pa. legislators to support their false electors, despite no proof of election fraud. That meeting factors into charges under the RICO law against Trump, Giuliani, and Ellis.

Mastriano was not charged in the indictment.

The indictment appears to refer to one of two letters.

On Dec. 4, 2020, 56 GOP state House members sent a letter asking Congress not to certify election results. Two days before the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, 21 GOP state senators signed a separate letter asking to delay certification – incorrectly claiming a Supreme Court hearing would be resolved in the coming days.

Trump drew attention to the letter during a conversation when he asked former Vice President Mike Pence to intervene in the election certification process.

Prosecutors claim the letter and Trump’s conversation with Pence further demonstrate the coordinated effort to pressure officials to take actions that would benefit Trump’s cause.

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