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RICO, Kanye’s Ex-Publicist, and Hacked Voting Machines | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

The former president has once again been indicted on criminal charges — this time by a Georgia Grand Jury that voted on Monday to charge Trump and 18 of his allies in relation to their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

It’s the fourth criminal indictment brought against the former president this year. This time, Trump faces 13 of the total 41 total counts enumerated in the indictment, including solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit filing false documents and filing false documents, and false statements and writings.

The investigation, which was launched in Feb. 2021 by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, covers an immense amount of ground — and even reached beyond Georgia’s borders into other states. While there’s plenty to unpack in the 98-page indictment, here are four notable takeaways from the case against Trump, and his 18 co-defendants.

It’s a RICO Case

You’ll be hearing the term “RICO” a lot in the coverage of this case — it’s a big deal. The indictment against Trump and 18 others falls under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act).

The charging document alleges that the defendants “conspired and endeavored to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere,” and “knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”

The RICO Act, signed into law in 1970, was originally used to prosecute the mafia and other forms of widespread organized crime. It was famously used by one of Trump’s co-defendants, Rudy Giuliani, during his time as a United States Attorney, in the 1985-86 Mafia Commission Trial.

During her tenure, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has made RICO cases her signature form of prosecution. Last year, Willis leveled a 65-count RICO indictment that included members of the music label Young Stoner Life (YSL), notably rapper Young Thug, alleging that the music group had affiliations with gang violence in the Atlanta area.

Kanye’s Former Publicist is Trump’s Co-Defendant 

Trevian Kutti, a former publicist for rappers Ye (Kanye West) and R-Kelly, is named as a co-defendant in the sprawling RICO case against Trump and his allies. Charged with three felony offenses, Kutti is accused of participating in the overarching criminal enterprise to subvert the election, as well as conspiring “to solicit, request, and importune Ruby Freeman, a Fulton County, Georgia, election worker, to engage in conduct constituting the felony offense.”

Freeman, a Georgia election worker, became the focal point of a baseless conspiracy alleging she and her daughter, Shay Moss, engaged in election fraud during the vote-counting process for the state. Moss testified on the horrific harassment leveled against herself, her mother, and their family before the Jan. 6 Congressional Committee.

The indictment alleges that Kutti “knowingly and unlawfully engaged in misleading conduct toward Ruby Freeman,” by traveling to Fulton County and “purporting to offer her help, with intent to influence her testimony” to Georgia prosecutors.

Kutti attempted to visit Freeman at her home on Jan. 4, 2021. Having received various threats as a result of the conspiracies about her, Freeman contacted the police. Kutti told Freeman that she was there at the direction of an unnamed “high-profile individual” and warned that if Freemen did not confess to having aided in committing voter fraud, she would be arrested in the coming days.

“You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up,” Kutti reportedly told Freeman.

Following reporting on the conversation, a spokesperson for West told Reuters that Kutti “was not associated with Kanye West or any of his enterprises” at the time the interaction took place.

Alongside Kutti, Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Lee, and Harrison Floyd have been charged in relation to their harassment or intimidation of Freeman.

It Goes Beyond Georgia: 

The Georgia indictment expands far beyond Georgia, alleging that the defendant’s conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election involved other states including Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

At the crux of the multi-state scheme was a plot to submit fake, pro-Trump electors to Mike Pence in order to subvert the electoral college vote on Jan. 6. The indictment lays out prosecutors’ theory as to how the ploy to create and submit the fraudulent slates of electors was recreated in other states.

In one instance, Kenneth Chesebro, a named defendant, allegedly wrote a memo that “detailed, state-specific instructions for how Trump presidential elector nominees in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would meet and cast electoral votes for [Trump] on December l4, 2020, despite the fact that [Trump] lost the November 3, 2020, presidential election in those states.”

Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Trump contacted Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr “for the purpose of making false statements concerning [election] fraud,” and “asked Carr not to discourage other state attorneys general from joining a federal lawsuit filed by the State of Texas contesting the administration of the [election] in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”

Tampering With Voting Machines 

The indictment alleges an “unlawful breach of election equipment in Georgia and elsewhere.” In layman’s terms — several of the defendants attempted to hack into voting equipment to prove their election conspiracy theories.

“In Georgia, members of the enterprise stole data, including ballot images, voting equipment software, and personal voter information. The stolen data was then distributed to other members of the enterprise, including members in other states,” the indictment reads.

A key figure in this scheme is former Trump attorney Sidney Powell. In Jan. 2021, Powell led a team to Coffee County, Georgia, where prosecutors allege she employed the firm SullivanStrickler LLC to copy voter data off of the county’s voting equipment. According to the indictment, three of the defendants, Cathleen Latham, Scott Hall, and Misty Hampton, “aided, abetted, and encouraged employees of SullivanStricklerLLC in willfully tampering with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines while inside the Coffee County Elections & Registration Office in Coffee County, Georgia.”

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