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Former President Donald Trump was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury for a criminal conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.
The Aug. 14 indictment highlights falsehoods uttered by Trump and his allies after he lost to President Joe Biden — including that he won Georgia when he had lost. Trump has continued to make false statements about the 2020 election as he seeks to regain the presidency.
The indictment charged 19 people with violations of Georgia law. The 41 felony counts included violations of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, making false statements, soliciting violation of oath by a public officer and conspiracy to commit election fraud.
"Trump and the other defendants charged in this indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the election in favor of Trump," the indictment states.
Here is a look at eight Trump statements about the 2020 election in Georgia that we rated Pants on Fire, our rating reserved for ridiculous falsehoods.
"We won Georgia": In a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump said, "We won Georgia easily. We won it by hundreds of thousands of votes." The final result showed that Biden beat Trump in Georgia by 11,779 votes.
"Suitcases" of ballots: Also in the call with Raffensperger, Trump said after a "major water main break," Georgia election workers counted "18,000 ballots, all for Biden" that they pulled from suitcases and with no election observers present. State and county officials said the surveillance video Trump mentioned showed normal ballot processing. There’s no evidence that the ballots shown were fraudulent or "all for Biden." State Farm Arena reported that one room being used for ballot counting had a 6 a.m. water leak. There was a brief delay in tabulating absentee ballots during the two hours required to repair the leak, which resulted from an overflowing urinal. No ballots were damaged, the arena said.
Nobody found anything "wrong" with his phone call: In April remarks about his phone call with Raffensperger, Trump said, "Nobody found anything wrong with that perfect call until a book promotion tour many months later." "Nobody" was a ridiculous overstatement. Many politicians criticized Trump’s phone call in the days after the transcript and audio were published. Fani Willis, the Fulton County prosecutor, on Jan. 4, 2021, denounced the phone call as disturbing and said some government office would investigate. On Feb. 10, 2021, Willis told state officials that she was investigating.
"More votes than people who voted" in swing states. Trump tweeted this claim in November 2020. There was zero proof. If he meant there were more votes cast than registered voters, election data shows the opposite. In the six key states we examined, there were several hundred thousand to 2 million more registered voters than votes cast.|
No signature verification: In a November 2020 fundraising email, Trump said Georgia’s secretary of state wouldn’t let people recounting ballots check signatures on the ballots for fraud. This reflects a flawed understanding of how mail-in votes work. Before a mail ballot is counted, the voter’s signature has already been verified. In Georgia, it is verified twice. To protect the privacy of the vote, after verification, every state separates the ballot from the signed envelope it came in. By design, there is no way to reunite the two pieces of paper. A recount can be only of ballots.
Election wasn’t legitimate: Trump said in a statement in June 2021 that "facts have now come out to show conclusively" that the 2020 election was illegitimate. The election was legitimate, as affirmed by experts on elections, including Republicans; officials from Trump’s administration; and local and state bodies that certified the results. Multiple audits and court cases also have also concluded the election was legitimate.
"Fake" ballots: In a June interview with Fox News, Trump said in 2020 the ballots that were counted "were fake ballots." Trump nodded to right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary "2,000 Mules," which alleges drop box fraud in multiple states, including Georgia. That film was widely debunked, including by Trump’s former attorney general, Bill Barr.
Georgia didn’t update voter rolls: In a June 2021 statement, Trump said Georgia didn’t update its voter rolls before the 2020 presidential election; "This means we (you!) won the presidential election in Georgia." Trump was wrong on both counts. Federal law requires states to establish programs to keep voter rolls up to date. To comply with the law, Georgia and other states routinely handle such removals in nonfederal election years. In 2019, the state removed about 290,000 voters. It is a fact: Trump lost the 2020 election in Georgia and the U.S.
Trump also made a false statement that Georgia had 4,925 out-of-state voters. He appears to have gotten his number from a list created by a former Trump campaign staff member about "potentially" illegal voters. Statisticians and election experts criticized the list widely. The Georgia secretary of state’s office investigated the claim and found it baseless.
Trump wasn’t the only person spreading falsehoods about the Georgia election. We also debunked statements by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson about Fulton County, former Sen. David Perdue about Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., alleging that election equipment switched votes from Trump to Biden.
See links in fact-checks
Fulton County Superior Court, Indictment of 19 individuals including Donald Trump for an alleged conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia, Aug. 14, 2023