Live updates: Georgia grand jury hands up 10 indictments in 2020 election case

The case is part of Trump's legal woes, as he faces criminal cases in New York for allegedly falsifying business records and in federal court in Florida for allegedly mishandling classified records.

A Georgia grand jury investigating Donald Trump and his allies for potential election fraud in 2020 handed up 10 indictments Monday, but it was not clear immediately whether the former president was charged.

Fulton County Superior Judge Robert McBurney handed the indictments to a court clerk, but the charges have not been publicly released.

The investigation was based on Trump’s strategy to overturn the results of a state he lost to President Joe Biden, part of a broader federal indictment to which he pleaded not guilty earlier this month. His strategy included the recruitment of fake presidential electors for Congress to count and an extraordinary phone call urging state election officials to “find” him more votes, according to a House investigation.

Trump has described the call as “perfect” and denied wrongdoing with alternate electors.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched her investigation of Trump in February 2021. The indictment had been expected since a special grand jury recommended unspecified charges in February 2023.

Besides the Georgia case, Trump faces New York charges of falsifying business records to make hush payments to women who claimed to have had sex with him before the 2016 election. And Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith charged him with conspiracy to obstruct justice and retaining classified documents after leaving the White House and concealing the records from authorities.

Pro-Trump Republicans attack local prosecutors; other GOP members put blame on Trump 

As the political world waited for the unsealing of Atlanta indictments, Republicans paired off into two groups. Trump allies said they would attack the prosecution, while others said the party should consider another standard-bearer.

"Are we going to let county prosecutors start prosecuting the President of the United States?" said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Fox News. "The former President of the United States. To my Democratic friends, be careful what you wish for."

Others said the issue is Trump himself.

Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican congressman from New York state who faces a tough re-election battle, told CNN that "I think Donald Trump's conduct post-election was wrong ... I want the party to move in a different direction."

Lawler also said that, if Trump is convicted, "he should not be running for public office."

− David Jackson

Trump campaign blasts Georgia prosecutor as ‘rabid partisan’

Trump’s presidential campaign issued a statement Monday evening blasting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as a “rabid partisan” and accusing her of interfering with the 2024 presidential campaign.

The campaign predicted Willis’ investigation would fail along with the charges filed against Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, federal charges filed by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith and a civil lawsuit against his company by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“These activities by Democrat leaders constitute a grave threat to American democracy and are direct attempts to deprive the American people of their rightful choice to cast their vote for President,” the statement said. “It is un-American and wrong.”

Bart Jansen

Indictments follow chaotic day

The indictments came at the end of a chaotic day at the Fulton County courthouse.

Reuters reported Monday that a court document listed charges against him appeared briefly on the court’s website before disappearing. But the Fulton County District Attorney’s office said no indictment had yet been returned.

Witnesses such as former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan were seen entering and exiting the courthouse, despite the custom of keeping grand jury deliberations secret.

Reporters waited anxiously in the courtroom until the indictments were handed to the judge in early evening.

− Bart Jansen

Donald Trump Jr. protests the still-sealed indictment

Donald Trump's allies aren't waiting for indictments to be unsealed. They're already on the attack.

“Prosecutorial misconduct like this is what a RIGGED SYSTEM looks like,” said Donald Trump, Jr., on the social media website X, formerly known as Twitter.

In the angry missive re-posted by a number of supporters, the younger Trump added: “How is the AG of Georgia not stepping in to stop this travesty of justice, after the Fulton County DA violated my father's Constitutional Rights and tainted the Grand Jury? Going full Banana Republic!!!”

− David Jackson

What is an indictment? 

An indictment is a formal document that contains allegations that someone committed a crime. It includes the charges laid out against a person and is filed before a case can move forward in court, David Weinstein, a former federal and state prosecutor, previously told USA TODAY

Weinstein said that an indictment means a grand jury decided that there’s “more likely than not” enough evidence – based on testimony – to move forward with charging a person. At least twelve jurors must be in agreement that a defendant allegedly committed a crime to issue an indictment. 

After a person is indicted, they must go to trial where a jury will reach an unanimous decision on whether to pursue conviction. 

− USA TODAY staff

Republican witness in Georgia: Party needs to 'pivot' from Trump

One of last grand jury witnesses, former Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, did not provide reporters a legal analysis of the case after his testimony, but did offer political reaction: His party needs to turn away from Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump was the worst candidate ever in the history of the party, even worse than Herschel Walker, and now we’re going to have to pivot from there," Duncan told reporters after his testimony and before the indictment was announced; Walker is the Republican candidate who lost last year's Senate race in Georgia.

Duncan added: "We want to win an election in 2024, it’s going to have to be somebody other than Donald Trump if we do it. As long as we make this about the three-ring circus called Donald Trump, we’re going to lose every time. And you don’t have to go any further than Georgia to see that play out.”

Other Republicans said Duncan is kidding himself, and that Trump owns a big part of the GOP that will simply rally around him, just as they did after the first three indicted cases.

− David Jackson