Trump was indicted in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Here's what the 13 counts in his 4th criminal case mean.

Trump was indicted in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Here's what the 13 counts in his 4th criminal case mean.
Donald Trump speaks during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on November 08, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Trump was indicted in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
  • The Fulton County district attorney's office charged him with 13 felonies.

Former President Donald Trump was hit with his fourth criminal case — and fifth indictment — on Monday.

A Georgia grand jury voted to indict Trump on 13 counts including racketeering, solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, conspiracy, making false statements and writings, and filing false documents.

Eighteen others — including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, the GOP lawyers Sidney Powell and John Eastman, and more — were co-defendants.

The grand jury was convened by Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis while her office investigated whether the former president committed any crimes in connection to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state that Joe Biden won.

Trump has denied the charges.


Here's what the new charges against Trump — who is expected to plead not guilty — mean.


This is the most significant charge in Trump's latest indictment.

Federal and state RICO laws are generally used to prosecute organized crime, but Willis has a long history of applying Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute to a multitude of cases.

According to the law, it's a crime for any person to "through a pattern of racketeering activity or proceeds derived therefrom, to acquire or maintain, directly or indirectly, any interest in or control of any enterprise, real property, or personal property of any nature, including money."

State cases don't typically charge defendants with RICO violations, but the feds use it "all the time," Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, told Insider in an interview. Bringing RICO charges allows prosecutors to introduce witnesses, potential co-conspirators, and other evidence that they may not otherwise be able to do.


RICO charges relate to criminal enterprises and allege a pattern of racketeering activity, Rahmani added, so "as long as there's one RICO predicate act within Fulton County, [Willis] can identify all the other conduct in other counties and get that evidence in as part of the pattern."

Monday's indictment cast a wide net vis-a-vis RICO, saying that Trump, the 18 other co-defendants, 30 unindicted co-conspirators, and "others known and unknown" to the grand jury "constituted a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury."

Being convicted of RICO violations carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Making false statements and writings

Georgia law says that it's illegal for an individual to knowingly and willfully make a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to officials.

The Georgia indictment against Trump alleges that he made false statements and writings several times:

  • Saying in a September 2021 letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that "as stated to you previously, the number of false and/or irregular votes is far greater than needed to change the Georgia election result."
  • Telling Raffensperger, his deputy, and his general counsel that thousands of dead people voted in Georgia's 2020 election, that election workers illegally tampered with ballots, that 250,000-300,000 ballots were mysteriously dropped into Georgia's voter rolls and other baseless allegations of fraud.


Trump was charged with conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, and conspiracy to commit filing false documents.

Prosecutors allege that he engaged in a conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer when he and other co-defendants tried to get fake pro-Trump electors "to falsely hold themselves out as the duly elected and qualified presidential electors from the State of Georgia, public officers, with intent to mislead the President of the United States Senate, the Archivist of the United States, the Georgia Secretary of State, and the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia into believing that they actually were such officers."

Prosecutors accused Trump of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, conspiracy to commit forgery, and conspiracy to commit filing false documents in connection to his involvement in trying to create a bogus document purporting to be a "certificate" of votes cast by Georgia's 2020 electors, when it, in reality, would have represented the votes of the pro-Trump slate of electors.

The indictment also said Trump engaged in a conspiracy to commit false statements and writings and conspiracy to commit forgery when the other co-defendants created an email entitled, "RE: Notice of Filing of Electoral College Vacancy" that falsely claimed to have been from "duly elected and qualified presidential electors" from Georgia and was sent to the US archivist and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

Solicitation of a violation of oath by a public officer

"Solicitation," under Georgia's criminal code, means asking someone to commit a crime. In this case, Trump was accused of soliciting the violation of the oath of office by a public officer in several instances:

  • Asking David Ralston, then the incoming Speaker of Georgia's House of Representatives, to call a special session "for the purpose of unlawfully appointing presidential electors from Georgia, in willful and intentional violation" of Ralston's oath of office.
  • Asking Raffensperger, to "find" thousands of votes in order to nullify Biden's 2020 election victory. Trump made the request in a now-infamous phone call on January 2, 2021, saying that "the people of Georgia are angry" and that "there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you've recalculated."
  • Asking Raffensperger in September 2021 to decertify the 2020 election, "or whatever the correct legal remedy is, and announce the true winner."

In Georgia, being convicted of solicitation carries a sentence of one to three years in prison.

Filing false documents

According to Georgia law, an individual has committed this crime when they "knowingly" file, enter, or record a document in the public record while knowing the document "is false or contains a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation."

Prosecutors alleged in the indictment that Trump, along with the GOP lawyer John Eastman, "knowingly and unlawfully" filed a document titled "Verified Complaint for Emergency Injunctive and Declaratory Relief" and knew it contained at least one of six "materially false" statements.

Those statements included the claim that "as many as 2,506 felons," "at least 66,247 underage" people, "at least 2,423" people who weren't registered to vote, "at least 1,403 individuals" who had illegally registered to vote, and "as many as 10,315 or more" dead people had all voted in the 2020 election in Georgia.

The final statement said that "[d]eliberate misinformation was used to instruct Republican poll watchers and members of the press to leave the premises for the night at approximately 10:00 pm. on November 3, 2020" at State Farm Arena in Fulton County, Georgia.